It is true that the Philae made a soft landing on the comet 67P on Wednesday, and it has just sent its first scientific data of information about the comet in a radio down link back to Earth, but its exact location is presently unknown and this is a factor in its ability to recharge its dying batteries for more work.

Although scientists believe the Philae robot must have landed behind a cliff that is preventing direct sunlight from hitting its solar battery panels, they are also glad that the probe has sent in about 80% of the data information it is required to down link about its new home.

There are palpable fears that the robot may have sent its last data and may go silent for ever due to low batteries, scientists are trying all possible best to maneuver for direct sunlight. They also hope to establish some minimal link with the Philae by 1100 GMT on Saturday when the orbiting Rosetta satellite is expected to come around over the horizon.

The engineers are also trying to reorientate the lander by sending a command that raised the Philae by 4 cm and rotated its main housing by 35% – all in an effort to ensure that its solar battery panels catch enough sunlight.

As part of the down link information sent back to Earth, the Philae sent data about a drilling assignment that had once been attempted; and it brought up samples that would be analyzed in its onboard laboratory. The probe also took pictures of the comet’s surface with its downward-looking Rolis camera; and it used its Consert instrument in an attempt to send radio waves about the comet’s internal structure. This perhaps might be helpful in triangulating its exact position on the comet for exposure to sunlight.

It is a well known fact that the comet experiences change of seasons as happens on Earth as it moves through space to orbit the sun, and engineers are hoping this orbit would alter the Philae’s present position and angle, and expose it to more sunlight to enable it function much longer. However, whatever happens to the Philae on comet, the Rosetta is assured to continue its orbit and observation of the comet 67P.

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  1. Rosetta’s Philae lander races against time as battery life dwindles (+video) – Christian Science Monitor |

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