TV scientists Brian Cox and Dara O Briain welcome the return to life of comet-catcher Philae

Delight as the space probe has woken up seven months after losing contact with earth

The comet probe Philae has woken up – and TV scientists Brian Cox and Dara O Briain couldn’t be more delighted.


The European Space Agency announced today that its comet lander has contacted Earth after going to sleep when its solar battery went flat in November.

The German Aerospace Centre, which operates Philae, said that the probe resumed communication with the ground team on earth for around 85 seconds on Saturday night, sending data back to our planet.

The news was announced in a tweet:

And O Briain, who presents Stargazing Live with Brian Cox, couldn’t be happier, tweeting:

Physicist Cox, who also presented The Wonders of the Universe and the Wonders of the Solar system, added:

And it is.

Philae (pictured above) had been dropped onto the surface of Comet 67P by Rosetta, its mothership, and was hurtling towards the sun. It worked for around 60 hours before going offline because it was believed it wasn’t getting enough sun to power its batteries.


Landing the probe on a fast-moving comet 300 million miles away has been hailed as one of science’s greatest achievements.