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Astronomers Say Goodbye to the Philae Comet Lander

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014 file photo a model of Rosetta lander Philae stands on a model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at the European Space Agency ESA in Darmstadt, Germany. European scientists said Friday Feb. 12, 2016 they have stopped sending commands to the Philae space probe, which became the first to touch down on a comet more than a year ago. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Michael Probst—AP A model of Rosetta lander Philae stands on a model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at the European Space Agency ESA in Darmstadt, Germany, on Nov. 12, 2014.

The first lander in history to touch down on a comet in transit

The time has finally come to say goodbye to the Philae lander, the first in history to land on a comet in transit — though with a rough touchdown that ultimately caused an early demise.

“Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Center is almost zero, and we will no longer be sending any commands,” said Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec in a German Aerospace Center news release on Friday.

Philae was launched from the Rosetta probe in 2014 to land on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but a malfunction led to the craft bouncing across

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