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The Philae comet lander has gone quiet leading to worries that it might have got stuck and we will never hear from it again. Scientists fear that the dishwasher-sized robot which made an historic descent to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November has been nudged out of sight by gas, or that its radio equipment has broken. Earth has not been from it since July 9. Scientists believe the probe may have been nudged by out-gassing from the comet, which is becoming more active as it travels closer to the sun and heats up. Alternatively something might be wrong with Philae's radio equipment. READ MORE PHILAE LANDER COULD BE SITTING ON COMET FULL OF ALIENS AND WOULDNT KNOW ABOUT IT PHILAE LANDER POWERS DOWN ON COMET 67P AFTER RUNNING OUT OF POWER LANDER 'READY FOR OPERATIONS' AS IT WAKES UP AND MAKES FIRST CONTACT IN 7 MONTHS On July 9, the lander sent a signal to mission scientists at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) but then went into "silent mode". A command to switch on one of the probe's scientific instruments, the Rosetta Lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor (Romap) was ignored. DLR's Philae project leader Dr Stephen Ulamec said: "In the telemetry received, we have observed signs that Philae could have moved and that its antennas are thus perhaps more concealed or their orientation might have changed." The probe detached from its Rosetta mother ship and bounced onto the surface of the comet on November 12, ending up in the shadow of a crater wall or rock face that prevented sufficient sunlight reaching its solar panels. After hibernating for months it "woke up" in June as the comet moved closer to the sun and the solar panels began generating more power. The latest information about the amount of sunlight reaching the panels suggests that the probe has shifted position, said Dr Ulamec. "This profile - where panels are receiving a great deal of sunlight - has clearly changed between June and July," he said. "This cannot be explained only by the course of the seasons on the comet."
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