Today there is one less spacecraft returning science data from beyond Earth. The European Space Operations Centre received the final transmission from Rosetta at 11:19 September 30, UT. A very quiet control center and press room watched as the strong signal from Rosetta’s high-gain antenna suddenly vanished. A few people applauded, but the mood here is subdued.
Data from these last hours will trickle out slowly, over time. The final NavCam images were taken right after the final maneuver. This is the last view ever taken by Rosetta's NavCam:
ESA / Rosetta / NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0
Rosetta's final NavCam image
After firing its rockets to send the spacecraft on an impact trajectory, Rosetta captured five NavCam images to help navigators predict its final path. This is the final NavCam image of the mission. Taken on 30 September 2016 at 00:59 UTC, when Rosetta was 17.4 km from the center of the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, about 15.4 km from the surface. The scale at the surface is about 1.5 m/pixel and the image measures about 1.5 km across.
And here is one of the OSIRIS images taken midway through the descent.
ESA / Rosetta / MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / SSO / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA
Churyumov-Gerasimenko's two terrains
This OSIRIS image was taken early in Rosetta's final descent toward the comet, at 06:53 on 30 September 2016, from a range of 8.9 kilometers. It features the two main kinds of terrain on the comet: rocky-textured, fractured material, and smooth, dust-covered material. When fully enlarged, the image has a resolution of 17 centimeters per pixel.
I'll post more pictures and facts later. For now: Farewell, Rosetta. You were a good spacecraft.
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