The week ends on a bit of a somber note. Because, come Friday, we’ll be saying goodbye to one of the most amazing space missions of the century.
Yes, the Rosetta spacecraft has captured the hearts of millions. On August 6, 2014, it entered orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, beginning two years of observations after a 10-year journey from Earth.
In November 2014, it then released the Philae lander, which touched down on the surface after a bumpy landing. Together, both Rosetta and Philae have increased our understanding of comets like never before.
We’ve already said our painful goodbyes to Philae, after ESA officially confirmed the probe was dead in July (although there was a bit of good news when Rosetta discovered its final resting place earlier this month).
And now it’s time to say goodbye to Rosetta. On Friday, September 30, the spacecraft’s orbit is going to be purposefully lowered as its mission comes to an end. It will get closer and closer over the next week, until the final hurrah.
The finale is estimated to take place at 6.40am EDT (11.40am BST) on Friday, when Rosetta will impact the comet at walking speed before it turns all its systems off. Owing to its distance from Earth, though, we won’t have confirmation of the impact until 40 minutes later.
There will be a live stream on ESA's website here, although it isn't available yet, so check back nearer the time.
An alien ocean, deep space human exploration, and a spacecraft's last goodbye. Who said we didn’t spoil you?