Spacecraft’s final moment: Scientists release last image from Rosetta probe before comet crash

Scientists at the European Space Agency received surprising data from the Rosetta spacecraft just before it crash-landed into a comet last year, enabling them to piece together a final image of the comet’s surface.

Rosetta made its slow-motion crash into comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on September 30 last year, marking the end of an audacious 12-year mission. Scientists decided to crash-land the probe on the comet because Rosetta’s solar panels wouldn’t have been able to collect enough energy as it flew away from the Sun along 67P’s elliptical orbit.

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Experts, however, have used final telemetry from Rosetta before the spacecraft shut down to build a last image of the probe’s touchdown site, dubbed Sais. The image was released Thursday.

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