Posted: Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 2:31 PM ET (1831 GMT)
Europe's Philae comet lander communicated with controllers Thursday for the first time in two weeks and demonstrated it had the ability to respond to commands sent to it. The spacecraft transmitted data for 12 minutes late Thursday, returning data from a radar instrument on the spacecraft. The transmission was the first communication with the spacecraft since June 24, and demonstrated it had responded to a command transmitted several days earlier to turn on the instrument. Philae went silent two and a half days after landing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November, but started transmitting again intermittently in June. Controllers had been unable to maintain a good radio link or show that the spacecraft was able to receive commands prior to the latest transmission.