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Comet Lander awakes from long hibernation


The Philae lander will be dropped onto the comet in November. Photo: CNES / ill. D. Ducros

PARIS (AFP): European space experts said they had successfully reawakened a fridge-sized robot designed to make the first-ever spacecraft landing on a comet.

The 100-kilogramme (220-pound) Philae Lander was revived after more than three years of deep space hibernation, in a key phase of a billion-dollar mission launched over a decade ago.

France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), in Paris, said that the spacecraft had re-established contact with Earth, and that an "initial signal was received at 3.00 pm (1400 GMT) on Friday at mission control in Cologne, Germany".

A Twitter account set up for the robotic Lander said: "My controllers say that I am in quite good condition after 39 months of hibernation.

"My new software has uploaded perfectly. I'll be taking a little rest now! Talk to you soon."

The Lander is travelling aboard an unmanned probe called Rosetta which will make an historic rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, currently 650 million kilometres (400 million miles) from Earth, this summer.

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Comet  Spacecraft  CNES  Rosetta  

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