The excitement and jubilation of the Rosetta team and the scientific community seems to have turned sour today. The Philae lander seems to be in serious trouble, and is not expected to live much longer.

Just a few days ago (aka Wednesday) there was celebration as the Philae lander left the Rosetta orbiter after a decade travelling together, and started its descent toward the surface of comet Chury 67P. It landed where it should have, and started preparing to collect data. The technicians said there were a few minor issues with the landing anchors, but it didn't look serious.

But it was.

On further study, and with more data being received, it is now believed that the Philae lander bounced off the surface of the comet and landed about half a mile further away. It seems to have landed at a bad angle,  in the edge of a crater on the comet surface. With no anchors, it will likely fall over completely before too long.

And even if it stays where it is, it landed in a shadow. The batteries on the lander can sustain it for a few hours or a few days, with the four month long mission supported by solar panels. Since it is now in shade, the solar panels seem to be getting perhaps thirty minutes of daylight and recharging, instead of the seven hours per day at the planned location. The little lander just doesn't have the power left to carry out its mission.

Maybe the ESA team can find a way to limit power consumption. Maybe as it gets closer to the sun it will shift into a better position. They are not ruling out a miracle at this point, but it isn't looking good.

Rosetta will continue to study from its orbit, but it would seem that the Philae lander will soon die and end its mission far too soon.