Here Are The Last Photos A Star-Crossed Robot Took Before Killing Itself On A Comet

ESA/ATG medialab/Rosetta/NavCam

In the wee morning hours of September 30, the European Space Agency crashed its Rosetta space probe into Comet 67P, which it had orbited for about two years.

Below is the final photo the space probe took and beamed back to Earth shortly before slamming into the comet and ending its robotic life.

Rosetta joins its robotic friend the Philae lander, which accidentally bounced into a dark crevasse on the comet's surface and was essentially never heard from again.

The photo was taken from about 167 feet (51 meters) away and covers a width of about 8 feet (2.4 meters), revealing 4.6 billion-year-old rocks and rubble that make up the comet.

The shot is blurry because the image was taken by a wide-angle camera that's designed to take photos from farther away:

rosetta comet 67p crash last photo esa

The last photo taken by the ESA's Rosetta comet probe.ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

In 2014, the tortured love story of Rosetta and Philae gripped the world.

After a 10-year journey, billions of miles through the solar system, the two spacecraft parted ways as Philae chased its goal of becoming the first spacecraft to land on a comet.

Things got worse when, upon separation, Philae's harpoons and thruster failed, causing it to bounce and tumble into a crack cut off from sunlight. The lonely probe was forced to go into hibernation, unable to glean solar energy and communicate with Rosetta except for fleeting moments in June and July 2015.

Scientists could narrow down Philae's location to an area of about 100 feet on the icy, Central Park-sized comet.

But earlier this month, Rosetta finally spotted Philae, tucked quietly into a dusky nook with its limbs in the air.

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And now, just weeks after finally spotting its lost companion, Rosetta has joined Philae in eternal sleep on Comet 67P.

Rosetta slowly crashed into a pit on Comet 67P, and in the process collected some unprecedented data about the comet as it sacrificed itself in the name of science.

In addition to the final shot above, below are some other photos Rosetta took, which we first saw at Universe Today.

They show the probe descending toward the comet, starting at about 14 miles (22.9 kilometers) away:

rosetta comet 67p crash photo 0 esa

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

About 11.2 miles (18.1 kilometers) away:

rosetta comet 67p crash photo 2 esa

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

About 10 miles (16 kilometers) away:

rosetta comet 67p crash photo 1 esa

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

About 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers) away:

rosetta comet 67p crash photo 3 esa

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

About 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) away:

rosetta comet 67p crash photo 5 esa

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

And again, about 167 feet (51 meters) away:

rosetta comet 67p crash last photo esa

The last photo taken by the ESA's Rosetta comet probe.ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

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