Rosetta the comet chasing probe ends 12yr mission with crash

CCTV News

Rosetta the comet chasing probe ends 12yr mission with crash

After 12 years in space the Rosetta Orbiter has said goodnight.

CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports.

Rosetta the comet chasing probe ends 12yr mission with crash

Rosetta the comet chasing probe ends 12yr mission with crash

After 12 years in space, the European Space Agency decided to end Rosetta's mission by sending the spacecraft into the surface of the comet.

The comet known as 67-P was moving away from the sun. Soon the solar-powered Rosetta Orbiter would not have enough energy to operate, so the European Space Agency decided to end the mission by sending the spacecraft into the surface of the comet, at the gentle pace of one meter per-second slower than an average person’s walking speed.

The Rosetta orbiter sent back a final image from about 20 meters above the comet’s surface before plopping down and powering off.

Rosetta the comet chasing probe ends 12yr mission with crash

In the control room there was cheers, but sadness too.

Rosetta launched in 2004. For the next decade it would travel nearly eight billion kilometers before arriving at 67-P, where it became the first spacecraft to orbit a comet.

In 2014, it deployed a lander to the surface, while collecting scientific data and photos of its very last moments.

During its journey Rosetta became something of a media star with a popular twitter feed, and a cartoon series telling its story and saying goodbye.

Scientists have been so busy controlling Rosetta that they have only been able to analyze about 5 percent of the data sent back. They will spend years studying the remaining data – hoping to learn more about the formation of our solar system.


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