After more than a decade in space, the European Space Agency is gearing up to finally end its Rosetta comet mission — by crashing the satellite into the comet it's been monitoring all this time.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced plans to crash the Rosetta spacecraft into the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Sept. 30. The craft has spent 12 years in space, and two years orbiting the comet. The mission famously landed a smaller craft on the comet, and though it bounced a bit getting there, was still a monumental achievement. But, with the comet heading further away from the sun, the ESA knows there won’t be enough solar power available to keep it running.
In the meantime, the team has decided to collect as much data and take as many pics as possible before the craft goes down. The team could’ve just left the craft to drift in space, but has instead decided to slowly bring it down for a controlled crash. They need to start making adjustments in August to get the craft in position to go down.
As mission-ending events go, it’s always better to burn out than fade away, right?