The lander project manager Stephan Ulamec says tremendous science has been collected during Philae’s short time on the surface but battery life is now limited and it is unlikely to last much longer.
Some of the final results sent back by ESA’s Venus Express before it plummeted down through the planet’s atmosphere have revealed it to be rippling with atmospheric waves and, at an average temperature of -157 °C, colder than anywhere on Earth. The aerobraking experiment has improved our knowledge of our planetary neighbour and holds great promise for ESA’s forthcoming ExoMars mission.
Planetary nebulae such as Hen 2-437 form when an ageing low-mass star — such as the Sun — reaches the final stages of life. The star swells to become a red giant, before casting off its gaseous outer layers into space. Hen 2-437 is a bipolar nebula — the material ejected by the dying star has streamed out into space to create the two icy blue lobes pictured here.
Using data gathered by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its Pluto flyby in July 2015, the dwarf planet has some characteristics less like that of a comet and more like much larger planets, according to the first analysis of Pluto’s unique interaction with the solar wind — the charged particles that spew off from the Sun into the solar system at a supersonic 1 million mph.