Even outer space is compromised by Time when battery life runs out. But not before a plucky probe, made in Stevenage, UK, managed to make history’s first-ever soft landing on a briskly moving comet.
The Philae lander’s big bounce off the speeding surface was photo’d by its orbiting mothership, Rosetta. Anchoring harpoons hadn’t fired as planned, so its sturdily engineered body actually bounced twice before settling in a bit awkwardly. Philae promptly commenced sending priceless data to earth, as instructed.
A few days later its luck ran out. Silence. So is this, the latest spawn of scientists, now the loneliest artefact in the universe?
Or might it yet revive, one day, to astonish the world of earthlings so far away but so questing?