Gas jets from inside a comet hosting Europe's Philae lander may launch the hibernating probe out of its ditch and back into sunlight for a battery recharge, a former mission manager said on Monday.

The European Space Agency's Philae lander wrapped up an unprecedented 57-hour mission on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Saturday. The washing machine-sized spacecraft, which was released by its orbiting Rosetta mother ship on Thursday, ended up in a ditch after bouncing off the comet's surface.

A camera aboard Rosetta, which flew less than 10 miles above the comet's surface, captured the final minutes of Philae's descent, bounce and drift across the comet's face, pictures released by the European Space Agency on Monday showed.

The unintended bounce, a result of Philae's harpooning ice screws failing to anchor into the surface, left the lander in a ditch, shielded from the sun needed to charge its battery for an extended mission.