Although this weekend seemed the demise of the Rosetta spacecraft's Philae Lander as it ran out of power, there's still hope that the lander will wake up again come spring.

The Philae Lander was the first spacecraft to ever land on a comet's surface last Wednesday. However, as sometimes happens, everything did not go according to plan.

When Philae first landed on the comet's hard surface, it bounced, not once, but twice, away from its intended landing location, which was carefully picked out by Rosetta's science team. Not only that, but its final landing spot was within the shadow of a cliff, meaning that Philae's solar panels wouldn't get enough light to power the craft.

At the time, Philae had enough battery life for just a few days. As the weekend approached, the Rosetta team decided to activate as many science missions as possible on the lander and get as much scientific data back as possible before the craft died.

And that's exactly what Philae did: early Saturday morning, the lander sent back data on several scientific experiments and even verified that its drill fully deployed and that it collected samples of the comet, which was one of the key components of the lander's mission. Once the data was collected, the lander finally started losing power and tweeted what many thought was its goodbye.

However, before that happened, the Rosetta team successfully turned the top part of Philae's body so that its biggest solar panel was facing sunlight. And now, the team believes that this might result in the lander waking up again in spring, when the comet gets closer to the sun.

"We are very confident at some stage it will wake up again and we can achieve contact," says Stephan Ulamec, the Rosetta team's lander manager.

However, even if that doesn't happen, scientists are still poring over the data Philae collected over the weekend. And the Rosetta spacecraft is still orbiting the comet and collecting its own valuable data.

Scientists hope that this data confirms a theory that comets may have seeded life on Earth, so they're looking for organic compounds, amino acids and water within Comet 67P.

[Photo Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA]

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.