The Philae lander has fallen into “idle mode” after its batteries were depleted and not enough sunlight was available for recharging, scientists say.

The European Space Agency says all systems on board the craft have shut down and Philae has entered a “possibly long silence”.

“Prior to falling silent, the lander was able to transmit all science data gathered during the First Science Sequence,” said Stephan Ulamec from the European Space Operations Centre.

“This machine performed magnificently under tough conditions, and we can be fully proud of the incredible scientific success Philae has delivered.”

Contact with the craft was lost at 12.26am UK time.

The ESA says no further contact will be possible “unless sufficient sunlight falls on the solar panels to generate enough power to wake it up”.

Despite the loss of contact with the lander, the Rosetta mission will continue with the spacecraft tracking Comet 67P/C-G as it travels towards the sun.

Earlier, the ESA released images captured from Rosetta, which suggest Philae touched down on the comet’s surface almost exactly where scientists intended.

Scientists said the images provide “strong evidence” the lander struck the surface in the projected landing zone….see more

source: skynews