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ESA: Rosetta space probe finds lost Philae lander on comet

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BERLIN — The European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe has located its lost Philae lander, wedged in a “dark crack” on the side of a comet.

The agency said Monday Rosetta’s camera finally captured an image of the lander on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, weeks before the probe’s own mission ends.

Philae touched down on the comet two years ago but bounced from its intended site and couldn’t be found, though its general vicinity was known.

After sending data to Earth for three days its battery ran out and it went into hibernation, only to recharge enough to communicate briefly with Rosetta in mid-2015.

ESA plans to crash Rosetta into the comet Sept. 30, because the probe is unlikely to survive lengthy hibernation in orbit as the comet heads away from the sun.

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