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UPDATE: The fight to save the comet spacecraft lander

UPDATE: The fight to save the comet spacecraft lander
ESA/ROSETTA/NAVCAM (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

UPDATE 11/17/2014:

The Rosetta's landing craft, Philae, has shown us incredible photos, actually transmitted from the surface of a comet for the first time in history.

Unfortunately, after landing on a near-perfect spot on the comet, the little Philae bounced back above the comet before finally coming to rest in the shadow of a nearby cliff.  Now out of reach of sunlight, it is unable to charge its batteries.

And so, after a hasty transmission of gathered data, Philae drifted to sleep as it powered down. But just before it went to sleep, Philae's controllers moved the little lander so that if sunlight does reach it, it can catch the most sunlight possible to recharge and power back up.

The tricky thing is that Philae only gets about an hour and a half of sunlight every day on the comet. The fact that it's backed up against a cliff face and in deep shadow isn't helping with the battery situation.

The good news is that scientists are hopeful that if it does manage to charge up enough, Philae will continue to photograph and scan its new home. It is also very possible that Philae will charge up enough to phone home and send even more data back through sister ship Rosetta.

Rosetta is scheduled to maintain course and speed to study the comet through 2015. For now, though, there's no hope of a rescue. Philae is on her own.

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"Space: The final frontier." These are the famous words accompanying the "Star Trek" original series opening credits, but they're more than just an intro to a sci-fi show.

Space is fascinating, and people have been working for centuries to unravel its secrets. Now just today, another leap forward was made in science and innovation as the 10-year-old Rosetta spacecraft successfully launched and landed a probe on a comet.

Seriously, this is a huge achievement. This project was launched 10 years ago, and has been chasing the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, nicknamed 67P, ever since.

In fact, the Rosetta spacecraft has used the gravity of Earth and Mars to slingshot itself through inner space to gather enough speed to even catch up to 67P. It has shot around Earth three times and Mars once since its launch in 2004.

And speaking of "Star Trek," who says that celebrities and science don't mix? William Shatner, also known as Captain Kirk from the "Star Trek" original series, has been keeping track of the Rosetta mission since the beginning, and sent a special message to the Rosetta Team.

Next page: Click here to see what Shatner had to say.
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