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Chances of reaching the Philae lander are now 'close to zero'

Chances of reaching the Philae lander are now 'close to zero'

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It may be time to say goodbye to the Philae lander. Philae, which made a bumpy landing on a comet in November 2014, has not phoned home to the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission since July 9th, while engineers and scientists working on the mission today announced that the lander will soon face conditions "from which it is unlikely to recover."

The team has stopped sending commands

"The chances for Philae to contact our team at our lander control center are unfortunately getting close to zero," Stephan Ulamec, Philae project manager at the German Aerospace Center, DLR, said in a statement. He added that the team has stopped sending commands to the lander.

Philae was plagued by a troubled landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, when the lander bounced across the surface of the comet before settling in a spot without enough sunlight to power itself. Although the team was able to complete many of the lander's planned scientific activities, it went into hibernation soon after.

Attempts to reach the lander have been returned with occasional replies, but temperatures on the comet will soon turn too low for Philae to operate, the mission team reported. The team says it will continue to keep channels open, but Philae will likely not be heard from again.