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Comet lander Philae may have moved

Published 20/07/2015

Philae landed on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last year (European Space Agency/PA Wire)
Philae landed on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last year (European Space Agency/PA Wire)

The Philae spacecraft which landed on a comet last year may have shifted position, making it harder to communicate with the probe, scientists said.

The European Space Agency said it has not received data from the lander since July 9.

Philae's project manager Stephan Ulamec said the pattern of sunlight on the lander's solar panels appears to have changed, possibly due to a slight shift in position triggered by gas coming out of the comet.

One of Philae's two transmission units also appears to be faulty.

Scientists plan to send further commands to the lander and hope it responds again, as has happened before.

The mission will now focus on the spacecraft Rosetta, which is following comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that Philae is on as it goes around the sun.

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