Rosetta's lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander's three feet can be seen in the foreground. The image is a two-image mosaic, Nov. 13, 2014. (Courtesy: Euro
Rosetta's lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander's three feet can be seen in the foreground. The image is a two-image mosaic, Nov. 13, 2014. (Courtesy: Euro

The European Space Agency's comet lander has awakened after a seven month hibernation and communicated with Earth.

The German Aerospace Center says the lander, Philae, resumed communication for more than a minute late Saturday. The ESA says the probe sent about 300 packages of data to Earth via its mother ship Rosetta, which is orbiting the comet.

Key Moments During The Mission

Philae became the first spacecraft to land on a comet when it touched down November 12, but it shut down three days later when its batteries were depleted and it was forced into hibernation.

Following a 10 year journey from Earth, Philae landed on the icy surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after separating from Rosetta.

ESA officials say the probe bounced on the surface of Comet 67P twice because its harpoons, which were designed to anchor Philae to the surface, failed to deploy.

Scientists say the probe settled at an angle in a dark ditch. They said they hoped as the comet drew closer to the Sun, better light would recharge Philae's batteries enough for it to reboot, make contact, and carry out a new series of experiments.

The ESA says the 100-kilogram lander has sent back "unprecedented images." The agency says the images show the surface of the comet covered by dust and debris ranging from millimeter to meter sizes, while panoramic views show layered walls of "harder-looking material."

Scientists hope the $1.6 billion project will help answer questions about the origins of the universe and life on Earth.

Comets date back to the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists suspect impacting comets delivered water to the young Earth.

The ESA says the Comet is about 215 million kilometers from the Sun and 305 million kilometers from Earth, travelling at 31.24 kilometers a second. Rosetta and Philae have traveled an accumulated distance of 6.9 billion kilometers.

By August 13 the comet will reach its closest point to the Sun, called perihelion, before veering off again into the deeper reaches of space.