My institute has a 3D printed model of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in its common room. Someone recently asked where the Philae lander is located. I know that it's been found but I can't point to it on the model, because that ESA page only has close-ups of its location, not a broad view showing where the lander is located in relation to the comet as a whole. Does such a view exist?

It would be nice to know also where it first touched down and where it bounced before coming to rest, if those things are known.


1 Answer 1


The Philae lander's last observed location in September 2016 is on the comets smaller lobe, settling there after a few bounces following a 2 hour "flight". It is reasonable to assume that it is still there or nearby, but 67P is a comet, and even though it does not get closer than 1.24 AU from the Sun, there is always a possibility that it might have moved due to some surface event, since the local gravity is only about 1E-04 that of Earth's.

The visual confirmation came just 2 weeks prior to rosetta's own comet landing date. You can find more pictures and a detailed description of Philae's adventures on the Rosetta blogpost dated Sept-05-2016 Philae Found!, which is also the source of the image below.

The images were taken on 2 September by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera as the orbiter came within 2.7 km of the surface and clearly show the main body of the lander, along with two of its three legs.

The images also provide proof of Philae’s orientation, making it clear why establishing communications was so difficult following its landing on 12 November 2014.


Philae was last (previously) seen when it first touched down at Agilkia, bounced and then flew for another two hours before ending up at a location later named Abydos, on the comet’s smaller lobe.

ESA pic

In the comments, Uwe posted a link with a detailed explanation of how the lander was found, which includes a diagram that very clearly shows the location of the site:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Great answer! Double check if the edits are OK? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 13, 2018 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ More details about finding Philae here. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Mar 13, 2018 at 9:21
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    $\begingroup$ @drandrul I've seen the image you posted before - in fact, I linked to it in the question - but the issue is that it doesn't show whereabouts on the smaller lobe the site is located. I can't tell where the zoomed-in photos are in relation to the zoomed-out one. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:36
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    $\begingroup$ The picture got compressed so the red fades away, i have highlighted it in this picture here $\endgroup$
    – drandrul
    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel: It is OK for me that you included the image to the answer. I have not learned how to include images into answers yet. I should read the explanation and try it. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Mar 14, 2018 at 9:14

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