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Philae probe finds 'organic molecules' on comet

Scientists working on data collected the Philae probe have said that during a drill for a soil sample the Philae probe was able to "sniff" organic molecules.

Earlier, incredible images showed the moment the Philae probe dropped from its satellite and first landed on Comet 67P five days ago.

The high-resolution shots, taken by the Rosetta satellite's narrow-angle camera, capture the 30 minutes since the probe touched down on the comet's surface.

At the moment scientists have lost contact with the probe after its batteries died. It will only wake up if enough sunlight recharges its solar panels.

But the mission is still deemed a success as it is the first spacecraft to ever land on a comet.

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Scientists 'confident' Philae will wake up

Philae on its descent onto the comet. Credit: European Space Agency

The team behind the comet probe Philae say they are "confident" it will wake up again at some point.

Lander manager Stephan Ulamec said he hoped to achieve contact again after the spacecraft's batteries died on Friday.

But that might not happen until next spring, when Philae and the comet it is riding on - 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - get closer to the sun, warming up a secondary battery on board.

A few days of sunshine on the solar panels should be enough to charge the battery sufficiently to conduct science runs, Mr Ulamec said.

His team are still waiting to find out whether Philae managed to drill into the comet and extract a sample for analysis.

Material beneath the surface of the comet has remained almost unchanged for 4.5 billion years, so the samples would be a cosmic time capsule that scientists are eager to study.

One of the things they are most excited about is the possibility that the mission could confirm that comets brought the building blocks of life - including water - to Earth.

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