OSIRIS spots Philae drifting across the comet. ( ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Rosetta's Philae lander is sleeping soundly, at least for the time being. But before it went into snooze mode, the lander sent all of its planned science data back to Earth. That means that Rosetta scientists are hard at work analyzing the probe's findings, and we'll be learning more and more about the comet every day thanks to Philae's success.

Today the European Space Agency released images that show Philae's harrowing journey across the comet. This mosaic is made of pictures taken by OSIRIS, a camera on the Rosetta spacecraft, during a 30-minute period spanning Philae's touchdown. The time of each picture is marked in GMT (five hours ahead of Eastern Time). Remember that these times don't quite match up with those of the landing as it "occurred" from Earth -- mission control was watching with a time delay of about 28 minutes, because of Rosetta's distance.

First (on the left), we see Philae making its descent towards the comet after its seven-hour drop from Rosetta. It moves across the comet as it gets closer to the surface. The ESA reports that the post-touchdown images (taken at 15:43) show the lander heading east after its bounce.

From the ESA:

The final location of Philae is still not known, but after touching down and bouncing again at 17:25 GMT, it reached there at 17:32 GMT. The imaging team is confident that combining the CONSERT ranging data with OSIRIS and navcam images from the orbiter and images from near the surface and on it from Philae’s ROLIS and CIVA cameras will soon reveal the lander’s whereabouts.

The agency has also released an update on that gif of the landing we saw Friday night. After analyzing the image, the mission team has confirmed that the shot didn't just show the dust cloud left behind by Philae's first bounce -- just off to the side, we can also see Philae itself.


Here's to hoping that the Rosetta team is able to find Philae's final resting place -- especially since that might give them a better idea of whether the probe will ever get enough sunlight to wake from its slumber.

After 10 years of hard work, the Rosetta mission made history by landing on the surface of a comet. The lander Philae touched down on the surface of a comet more than 300 million miles away. (European Space Agency)