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Scientists hope craft wakes up

on January 20, 2014 10:35 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists at the European Space Agency are expecting an important call.

Their comet-chasing probe Rosetta was due to wake from an almost three-year hibernation today and phone home to say all is well.

But because the spacecraft’s systems will take hours to power up and the signal has to travel more than 500 million miles back to Earth, the first sign of life isn’t expected before early evening.

The agency is turning the tense wait into a social media event by encouraging space enthusiasts to “Wake up Rosetta” in case its internal alarm clock fails. They are being asked to compose and perform songs, with the top entries being beamed to the spacecraft and the winner invited to witness the landing from ESA’s mission control room.

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