11.13.14: Space agency: Comet lander ends up in cliff shadow
BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency says its comet lander appears to have come to rest in the shadow of a cliff, posing a potential problem for its solar panels.
Mission scientist Jean-Pierre Bibring says ground controllers will see whether it’s possible to adjust the lander to make sure its solar panels can catch the sun and charge the batteries.
Bibring said Thursday that the lander, called Philae, also appears to be standing on just two of its three feet.
He stressed that — apart from the unplanned alignment — the lander’s scientific instruments are operating normally.
The landing Wednesday was the first time a spacecraft has ever landed on a comet.
The European Space Agency has published the first image taken from the surface of a comet.
The space agency says its Philae lander is still “stable” despite its failure to latch on properly to the comet’s rocky terrain.
The photos sent back to Earth show the rocky surface, with one of the lander’s three feet in the corner of the frame.
As the lander touched down yesterday, it bounced twice on the comet’s surface, and scientists are still analyzing if any damage was done.