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Philae comet lander may wake up as early as this week


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After a few months of slumber due to a lack of sunlight, the Philae comet lander might be close to waking up. It's receiving enough sun now that the Rosetta probe will attempt to resume contact between March 12th and 20th. If communication is successful, the next step will be to decide what research Philae can handle -- it'll conduct long-term studies if it has enough power to run during the comet's night cycle, but it might be limited to a handful of tests if it can only stay active in the daytime. There's no guarantee that the lander will answer (it's only in sunlight for an estimated 1.3 hours every comet day), but scientists vow to give it another try if they only get silence.

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