"With only a month left of the Rosetta mission, we are so happy to have finally imaged Philae, and to see it in such amazing detail," said Cecilia Tubiana of the OSIRIS camera team. These new images were downlinked on Sept. 4 and Tubiana was the first to see them.
"After months of work, with the focus and the evidence pointing more and more to this lander candidate, I'm very excited and thrilled that we finally have this all-important picture of Philae sitting in Abydos," added Laurence O'Rourke, Philae search coordinator, in an ESA statement.
A smooth region on the smaller lobe of Comet 67P was chosen as the landing site for Philae. It was named Agilkia. Though Philae did touch down there, its final landing spot had largely remained a mystery. By collecting telemetry data and carrying out a detailed search using high-resolution imagery from the orbiting Rosetta satellite, the mission was able to narrow Philae's final resting place to an area called Abydos, further around the comet's smaller lobe. But this is the first photo of the lander and finally we have closure on the fate of Philae.
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"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!" said Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor.
On Sept. 30, Rosetta will be commanded to approach the comet, eventually crashing down onto the comet's landscape. It will then join Philae as permanent human made features of the cometary landscape, monuments to an amazing mission.
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