The past couple of years have been a rollercoaster of emotions for fans of the European Space Agency’s comet-chasing Rosetta mission, and Wednesday brings a final blow to those still desperately holding hope that comet lander Philae might be revived: ESA is turning off the system on the Rosetta orbiter that allows it to communicate with Philae.
By Victoria Turk | MOTHERBOARD
Chances were already very slim, but this means there will be no way for Philae to regain contact with Rosetta.
After getting unprecedentedly close to a comet in August 2014, the Rosetta orbiter launched the smaller Philae spacecraft onto its surface. The landing didn’t go entirely smoothly, and while Philae was able to communicate a bunch of science data at first, it went silent a few days later, making contact only briefly in July 2015 for the last time.