The final resting place of Europe’s comet landing craft Philae has been found.
The small craft can be picked out in new images taken from the Rosetta probe in orbit at a height of 2.7 kilometres around the comet where Philae landed.
euronews space correspondent Jeremy Wilks chats with Rosetta team members Pablo Muñoz and Armelle Hubaultand at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, on the finding of groundbreaking space probe Philae
When was it lost?
Philae was dropped onto the comet – full name 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – by Rosetta in November 2014.
67P is informally known as the “Space duck” because of its unusual shape.
The landing was considered a feat of precision space travel. The metre-high, 100 kilo probe bounced several times before getting stuck against a cliff wall.
The module’s battery ran flat 60 hours later and it fell silent.
So what happened to Philae?
Scientists assumed the lander had fallen into a deep crevice on touchdown.
The images received show it wedged under a large over-hang known as “Abydos”.
Can the scientists get it back?
They say there is no hope.
Its equipment will have been irreparably damaged in the extreme cold of deep space.
However, the experts think knowing where Philae ended up will help them make sense of the data it sent back.
“This wonderful news means that we now have the missing ‘ground’ information needed to put Philae’s three days of science into proper context, now that we know where that ground is,” said ESA Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor.
The discovery also comes a few weeks before the Rosetta probe itself will be deliberately crash-landed on the comet to end its mission.
The story of Philae – in tweets
#Videoupdate: the quest to re-establish contact with
Philae2014</a> continues... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lifeonacomet?src=hash">#lifeonacomet</a> <a href="https://t.co/0fp7Jrl8g2">pic.twitter.com/0fp7Jrl8g2</a></p>— DLR - English (DLR_en) December 9, 2015
Still listening for
Philae2014</a>. Control team will send command to spin up flywheel. <a href="https://t.co/B4EythD4oo">https://t.co/B4EythD4oo</a> (PC) <a href="https://t.co/oMe6kKbE0f">pic.twitter.com/oMe6kKbE0f</a></p>— DLR - English (DLR_en) January 8, 2016
It’s cold & dark on #67P & chances of communicating with
ESA_Rosetta</a> are decreasing, but I won’t give up just yet. <a href="https://t.co/HAJIbi59KO">https://t.co/HAJIbi59KO</a></p>— Philae Lander (Philae2014) February 12, 2016
It’s time for me to say goodbye. Tomorrow, the unit on
ESA_Rosetta</a> for communication with me will be switched off forever...</p>— Philae Lander (Philae2014) July 26, 2016
DLR – English (@DLR_en) July 27, 2016
Read the full story of Philae from the ESA here