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Philae probe probably 'covered in dust and too cold to operate'

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Philae probe probably 'covered in dust and too cold to operate'


European scientists have given up hope of restoring contact with space probe Philae, which successfully landed on a comet in a pinpoint operation only to lose power because its solar-driven batteries were in the shade.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) said on Friday it suspects Philae is now covered in dust and too cold to operate.

“Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Centre is almost zero, and we will no longer be sending any commands,” Stephan Ulamec, Philae Project Manager of the DLR, said in a statement.

Philae came to rest on a comet in November 2014 in what was considered a remarkable feat of precision space travel. But it closed down soon after because it was in the shade and could not be recharged.

The probe woke up in June as the comet approached the sun, giving scientists hope that the lander could complete some experiments that it had not done before its solar-powered batteries ran out.

But the lander has not made contact with its Rosetta orbiter since July 9, and a last-ditch attempt to re-establish contact with the robotic lab has failed.


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