Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

January 23, 2015 5:31 PM

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Rosetta hunt for Philae weighed against science sacrifice

The Rosetta comet probe mission may not have gone entirely to plan, but the science is still pouring out - not to mention water from the comet itself - as the ESA considers hunting down the stalled lander. Triumph at getting the Philae lander to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014 turned to frustration when a less-than-perfect touchdown left the probe short on sunlight and prematurely powered-down. Now, the European Space Agency is considering using the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft to go on a Philae hunt, but there's a price to be paid in potential future research.

The team running Rosetta is considering pushing the spacecraft closer to the comet, Nature reports, so that the high-resolution cameras onboard could hopefully snatch a shot of where Philae came to rest.

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