The European Space Agency (ESA) has released the final views from Rosetta, as it purposefully crashed into the surface of a comet in September 2016.
The Rosetta spacecraft launched in 2004, entering orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014 and spending two years there. In the process, it took stunning images of the comet, studied what it was made of, and even deployed the Philae lander onto its surface in November 2014.
Now ESA has released the final high-resolution images from the spacecraft’s OSIRIS camera (Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System). This spans the period from late July 2016 to the end of the mission on September 30, 2016, including the dramatic moments the spacecraft impacted the surface.
“Having all the images finally archived to be shared with the world is a wonderful feeling,” Holger Sierks, principal investigator of the OSIRIS camera, said in a statement.
The final images have been put together into a great video, below, which also includes the final views of the Philae lander, which bounced twice on the surface and was lost under a cliff until just weeks before the mission ended.
In the final two months of the mission, Rosetta was brought closer and closer to the comet, allowing for some amazing images and science. In the last few hours, the spacecraft scanned an ancient pit and sent back images of its final resting place.
As a bit of a bonus, the team were able to reconstruct a final image of its resting place, taken when Rosetta was just 20 meters (65 feet) above the surface. And the mission isn’t even over yet, as data and images from the mission are still being used to study the comet, and find out what role they played in the formation of the Solar System.
“The final set of images supplements the rich treasure chest of data that the scientific community are already delving into in order to really understand this comet from all perspectives,” Matt Taylor, Rosetta project scientist, said in the statement.
“There are certainly plenty of mysteries, and plenty still to discover.”