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The Aphelion of Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko is about 5.6829 AU. It has a orbital period of 6.44 years. If it stays on the comet for the entire period of its orbit, can it be usable when it is in the same position after 6.44 years?

I am guessing the wear and tear to be mainly from radiation and temperature variations. Are there any other dangers?


marked as duplicate by TildalWave Nov 17 '14 at 21:00

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migrated from astronomy.stackexchange.com Nov 17 '14 at 13:40

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    $\begingroup$ Current concern is whether 90 min of light per 12 hour day is enough to allow batteries to recharge sufficiently when Rosetta comes back into communication range tomorrow.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30034060 6.44 years seems unduly optimistic right now. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Nov 14 '14 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ Contact re-established: bbc.com/news/science-environment-30058176 So the lander's made it one day at least. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Nov 15 '14 at 0:37
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    $\begingroup$ Contact lost: spaceflightnow.com/2014/11/15/loss-of-contact-with-philae $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Nov 15 '14 at 3:39
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    $\begingroup$ The long term survival problems will be from outgassing as the comet gets closer to the sun. The 2-3 months they were hoping to get is about the time the comet will be violently shedding material due to the heating. Being stuck in a dark place might help, but I doubt by much. $\endgroup$ – zibadawa timmy Nov 16 '14 at 1:18

As the lander does not appear to be firmly fixed on the surface (the harpoons didn't fire, the points on the lander gear did not cut into the surface) and may even be at an odd angle, the issue will be what happens when the comet gets closer to the Sun and begins to give off gases and other materials - put simply these might just blow the lander into space.


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