Next listening opportunities for Philae

Based on the latest report published by the German Aerospace Centre.

Despite Rosetta’s new trajectory scheme, the orbiter is still able to listen out for its lander Philae, in case it has woken up from hibernation. Thus a new listening window opens on Sunday, 12 April.

“The communication unit on the orbiter will be turned on around the clock,” says Dr Stephan Ulamec, lander manager at DLR. “Most likely, Philae will wake up in May or June, but we don’t want to miss the moment if it should have enough energy and a sufficiently high operating temperature to wake up earlier.”

To wake up and listen for signals from Rosetta, Philae must have at least 5.5 watts and an operating temperature above –45 degrees Celsius. With a bit more energy, around 19 watts, Philae would be able to return the ‘call’.

“As we did already last month, we will send blind commands to the lander that will help it make optimum use of its energy for heating and communication,” says Stephan.

Thus, if Philae is already awake, it may be able to receive and run the commands sent, even if it does not yet have enough power to acknowledge having done so.

The team remains excited about the prospect of Philae waking up and being able to send data back to Earth via Rosetta again.

“This first dataset will tell us more about the health of the lander, its temperature, and the amount of energy it is receiving on its solar panels," says Stephan.

The team hopes there will eventually be enough solar power available to continue with science observations on the surface.

“The closer the comet gets to the Sun, the greater the chances that Philae wakes up,” adds Stephan.

Read the previous reports about the Philae wake-up campaign:
20 March: Waiting patiently for Philae
10 March: Waiting for a signal from Philae





  • amieres says:

    Crossing my fingers that we hear back from Philae.

  • Laurence says:

    This is probably almost a moot question, but are there any guesses by the team as to the percentage of possible success of contacting Philae between now and perihelion? For instance, is it just basically a 'wait and hope' situation, or is there some 'number' out there for example, such as a 50/50 percentage? Or maybe leaning twoard a better possibility of contact, such as a 70/30 percentage or some other number based on what is known? I'm just rambling here - and hoping that maybe the team has some kind of possibility in mind for actual contact with Philae.

    In essence, I am just constantly and totally blown away by the images and science that have been given to us so far.

    Also, I have just loved reading the various theories, descriptions, and conclusion sets discussed by both lay persons and scientists. This is so much fun that I feel like a kid on an exploring mission.

    A special thanks to Emily - you've been superb in giving us all the information that you have been given, and passing it on to us in a thoughtful and accurate manner, with beautiful and informative writing style. Your ability to communicate within this blog has added immeasurably to my interest, and I'm sure in others' interests, to this spectacular mission.

    That's all - just felt like expressing my emotions about this wonderful mission to ESA in general.

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