Rosetta Makes Final Touchdown


Time: 11:44 p.m. CEST

The Rosetta space probe ended after 12 years of a mission, which resulted in many discoveries during an epic project to look for a comet in the orbit, assisted to other spacecraft on the surface and collected, information. The mission controllers, tweeted just saying: “Mission complete.”

Laurence O’Rourke, Rosetta lander system engineer Laurence O’Rourke said to CNN, Rosetta can sleep now. “Sleep well Rosetta. You have a legacy of science for generations to come.” Rosetta sent final pictures, which showed the surface at amazing resolution.

Rosetta’s last image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken with the OSIRIS wide-angle camera shortly before impact, at an estimated altitude of about 20 m above the surface. (Courtesy of ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)
Rosetta’s last image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken with the OSIRIS wide-angle camera shortly before impact, at an estimated altitude of about 20 m above the surface. (Courtesy of ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

The European Space Agency that led the mission consortium, including NASA, decided the best way to close the project is to set down Rosetta on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The Rosetta orbiter returned magnificent images, while the landing craft Philae found 16 organic compounds, including four that had never been detected on comets.

CNN reported, ahead of the last stage of the mission, an astronomer Dan Brown, who lectures at Nottingham Trent University in the UK, said that Rosetta had been an “astonishing” and inspirational venture. “The presence of complex molecules, some of which were previously unknown to exist on comets, still allows comets to be a possible source of introducing complex molecules and enable the formation of life on Earth,” Brown said.

The mission costs are about 1.4 billion euros ($1.57 billion) since the project started in 1996. Rosetta traveled billion of miles to meet the comet and follow its trajectory around the sun. With the help of the four-slingshot effect from Mars and the Earth, Rosetta manage to accelerate and meet its target, including a phases of hibernation along the journey.

 

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