Sweet dreams: Twitter users try to ‘wake up’ Philae lander snoozing on comet 67P

A colour image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Credits: ESA / Rosetta / MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / SSO / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA)
Twitter users want spring to come early so they can wake up the Rosetta spacecraft lander Philae, which is currently “hibernating” on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as it rushes through space on its way towards the Sun.

Although the Rosetta mission lander successfully reached comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November, communications were then lost as it fell into deep space hibernation to recharge its batteries with solar energy.

“In this mode, all instruments and most systems on board are shut down,” the European Space Agency (ESA) said in November. “The lander remains unanchored to the surface at an as-yet-undetermined location.”

Philae, which is some 500 million kilometers away from the Earth, is due to continue its exploration of the comet this March.

“The Philae saga is going to continue,” Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the French space agency, told AFP. “We hope that from March, the sunlight will help the robot to recharge its batteries and resume its scientific work.”

However, Twitter users were so inspired with the Tuesday “wake” of the Rosetta spacecraft from its sleep mode that they have begun trying to wake the probe, Philae, with cheerful calls and “desperate” pleas.

READ MORE: Rosetta’s comet 67P now in color… kind of (PHOTO)

The Rosetta mission is the first successful landing on a comet’s surface. It began its space voyage ten years ago, with three flybys of Earth and one of Mars. It has been orbiting the comet, which turned out to be smelly, since last September.

READ MORE: Rosetta's comet drill results may not get to Earth – ESA

Comet 67P, looks a bit like a rubber duck, and belongs to the Jupiter family. It is a periodic comet with an orbit of 6.5 years, and it will approach the sun at its closest in August. Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko was named after the Soviet scientists who discovered it in 1969.