#AceBreakingNews – June.14: The European Space Agency (Esa) says its comet lander, Philae, has woken up and contacted Earth.
Philae, the first spacecraft to land on a comet, was dropped on to the surface of Comet 67P by its mothership, Rosetta, last November.
It worked for 60 hours before its solar-powered battery ran flat.
The comet has since moved nearer to the Sun and Philae has enough power to work again, says the BBC’s science correspondent Jonathan Amos.
An account linked to the probe tweeted the message, “Hello Earth! Can you hear me?”
On its blog, Esa said Philae had contacted Earth, via Rosetta, for 85 seconds on Saturday in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.
“Philae is doing very well. It has an operating temperature of -35C and has 24 watts available,” said Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec.
Scientists say they now waiting for the next contact.
ESA scientist Mark McCaughrean told the BBC: “It’s been a long seven months, and to be quite honest we weren’t sure it would happen – there are a lot of very happy people around Europe at the moment.”
Philae was carrying large amounts of data that scientists hoped to download once they made contact again, he said.
“I think we’re optimistic now that it’s awake that we’ll have several months of scientific data to pore over,” he added.
This is one of the most astonishing moments in space exploration and the grins on the faces of the scientists and engineers are totally justified, says BBC science editor David Shukman.