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.
The spacecraft transmitted scientific data all the way down to just meters above the surface and seconds before impact. A few instruments shared live science updates via Twitter.
But today is really more about the moment than about the data. As usual, artists were inspired...
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:
And here is one of the OSIRIS images taken midway through the descent.
I'll post more pictures and facts later. For now: Farewell, Rosetta. You were a good spacecraft.