After 7 long months, Philae has awoken from hibernation. Its first signs of life reached Earth on Saturday evening (June, 13th) then again the following night. The hope to see Philae awake again and communicating has just come true.
The flight model of the SIMBIO-SYS instrument of the ESA BEPI-COLOMBO mission has arrived at IAS last week! IAS, who has already provided the main electronics of SIMBIO-SYS, is also in charge of the calibration of the integrated instrument that will take place during this month. The mission will be launched in 2017, for an arrival at Mercury in 2024.
On the 3rd of December, the Japanese space agency has launched the Hayabusa 2 probe towards a primitive asteroid, named 1999JU3, that it will reach in 2018. This mission aims at analyzing this object in three complementary ways: in remote-sensing, with cameras and spectrometers; in-situ, with instruments on landers; and by laboratory analysis of samples that will be collected on the asteroid and returned to Earth in 2021.
After a fascinating sequence, with a descent phase perfectly as planned and an impact at a few tens of metres from the selected site followed by two rebounds, Philae finally stopped in a hollow surrounded by cliffs, in an acrobatic position. It is the first panorama taken by the CIVA cameras developed under IAS responsibility which has demonstrated this, confirming the first major success of the mission: Philae has landed and has operated on the nucleus of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko!
On October the 7th, one of the CIVA cameras took a new striking image of Rosetta with comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the background, at only 16 km. The CIVA instrument on the Philae lander (now still attached to the Rosetta orbiter) is a suite of cameras which were developed under IAS responsibility.