Lost Philae robot found wedged into crack on Comet

Philae lander, lost since 2014, was found wedged into a crack on Comet 67P. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team

The lost comet lander Philae has been found wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

The robot has been spotted in new images of the comet taken by Rosetta’s high-resolution camera.

The pictures were taken on September 2nd by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera as the orbiter came within 2.7 km of the comet's surface and clearly show the main body of the lander, along with two of its three legs.

This remarkable discovery comes at the end of a long, painstaking search. We were beginning to think that Philae would remain lost forever. It is incredible we have captured this at the final hour.

Patrick Martin, ESA’s Rosetta Mission Manager
The Philae lander's body can be seen in images taken by a high-resolution camera. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team

Philae was dropped on to the comet in 2014 but it bounced and then flew for another two hours before ending up at a location where its battery went flat due to a lack of sunshine.

It did occasionally wake up and sent some data to earth in June and July 2015 but its exact location was never discovered until now.

In the new images Philae is shown wedged against a large over-hang.

The characteristic features of the lander's 1m-wide body and its legs are clearly visible.

Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist, said: "This wonderful news means that we now have the missing 'ground-truth' information needed to put Philae’s three days of science into proper context, now that we know where that ground actually is!."