Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Flight engineers work in the main control room of the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, in this file picture taken January 20, 2014. The Philae lander space probe thought lost has woken up some seven months after officials thought it marooned in the shadows of a comet, the European Space Agency said on June 14, 2015.

RALPH ORLOWSKI/Reuters

Philae (FEE-lay) is named after an island in the Nile River where archaeologists found an inscription confirming their understanding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs based on the Rosetta Stone.

Launch date: March 2, 2004

Launch mass (lander only): 100 kilograms (including 26.7 kg of scientific payload)

Story continues below advertisement

Lander Dimensions: 1 cubic metre

Distance travelled to comet (aboard the much larger Rosetta spacecraft): 6,550 million kilometres

Total cost of mission including lander and orbiter: €1.4-billion ($1.9-billion)

Touchdown on comet: Nov. 12, 2014

Last contact prior to loss of power: Nov. 15, 2014, 1:15 CET

Signal reacquired: June 13, 2015, 22:28 CET

Some of the the scientific instruments that may be used if the mission resumes:

Story continues below advertisement

CIVA: a system of seven cameras that can take panoramic pictures of Philae's landing site. The cameras could show physical changes to the landing site that may have occurred since last November and help engineers understand the lander's position and attitude on the surface

MUPUS: a suite of sensors that can measure the density and thermal and mechanical properties of the comet's surface

ROMAP: a device for studying the comet's magnetic field and interaction with charged particles from the sun

SD2: a drilling system designed to deliver a surface sample to other experiments that can analyze the comet's chemical composition. A single attempt to extract a sample failed last November. It will require battery power to operate the drill again.

APXS: a device that uses a radioactive source to measure the elemental composition of the comet's surface material. It was unable to make contact with the surface before the lander went silent last September.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies