Today’s a very important day for everyone interested in space exploration, as the Rosetta Mission comes to an end… actually, it doesn’t, not really. True, the ROSETTA spacecraft will “land” on the comet and be switched off, ending the flown part of the mission, but in a sense the mission will continue for years, probably decades, as scientists use the enormous amount of data collected by the orbiter and lander to make new discoveries and learn more about comets and our solar system. So, although it will be sad when we hear that ROSETTA has fallen silent – and if we feel sad just try and imagine how gutted the people who have spent so many years working ON the mission will feel – and well all miss our daily updates from Comet 67P, let’s celebrate the mission’s incredible achievements so far, rejoice in the way the mission’s fantastic Outreach team has inspired so many people – not just scientists, but musicians, poets and writers, young and old, across the whole world – and look forward to the fantastic discoveries which will follow in the years to come.
But the end is nigh for ROSETTA. It has taken its final NAVCAM images, and the final set of commands has been sent to it from Earth. There’s no going back, In a few hours, after studying it for so long, just like PHILAE, ROSETTA will become a part *of* Comet 67P, never to be see again – at least not until another spacecraft visits the comet in some far future year and photographs it lying there on the surface. But the comet will continue to whirl around the Sun, and in the future, when it’s visible in the sky, we’ll all look at it, through our own telescope eyepieces or on the screens of our laptops, tablets and phones, and remember how ROSETTA changed our view of comets forever. And send it a heartfelt “thank you”.🙂
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