You’ve heard of first-world problems? Well this is an off-world problem: accidentally scraping the rim of a crater with one’s landing gear during a landing on a comet, a mishap that can send you into a tumbling slow-motion spin.
Given this scenario, the entirety of which is still being worked out by mission scientists (as is the final location of the lander), it’s really a marvel that Philae managed to end up in a right-side-up orientation on the comet at all — not to mention manage to acquire and transmit data for all of its primary scientific objectives before its batteries drained.
“It was really an exciting and almost unbelievable excursion,” said Hans-Ulrich.
Although Philae is currently in a low-power hibernation mode it is very possible that it will end up receiving enough sunlight to recharge its batteries and awaken as comet 67P approaches the sun during the first half of 2015. In fact, its partially-shadowed position could even help it avoid overheating during perihelion, ultimately prolonging Philae’s operating life.
Just more proof that there are such things as happy accidents.