Rosetta spacecraft ends mission | Science News


Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

News in Brief

Rosetta spacecraft ends mission

8:19am, September 30, 2016

FINAL APPROACH  Rosetta's last picture of comet 67P, taken just 51 meters from the surface, reveals a gravelly landscape.

Rosetta is no more. On September 30, the orbiter touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and immediately shut down, bringing an end to the mission.

The landing site has been dubbed Sais, the ancient Egyptian town believed to be the original home of the Rosetta stone, after which the mission is named.

Confirmation came from a planned loss of radio signal from the spacecraft. Onboard computers were programmed to shut down when Rosetta hit the comet. The spacecraft approached the comet at just a few kilometers per hour, but the probe wasn’t designed for landings and was probably damaged.

Mission scientists will continue to keep busy analyzing all the data sent back before touchdown.

See all of our coverage of the Rosetta mission.

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on Rosetta

From the Nature Index Paid Content