The European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft finished its final mission on her comet, the 67P, today at 5 AM Eastern Time. The craft's mission kicked off in March 2004, and since then, Rosetta has traversed the solar system, circling the sun four times and providing invaluable information to its team back on Earth.
“Rosetta has entered the history books once again,” says Johann-Dietrich Wörner, ESA’s Director General, in a press release. “Today we celebrate the success of a game-changing mission, one that has surpassed all our dreams and expectations, and one that continues ESA’s legacy of ‘firsts’ at comets.”
The much-accomplished satellite contributed a great deal to space exploration, particularly to the study of comets. Rosetta's missions revitalized public interest in and appreciation for these space rocks. You can relive the final moments of Rosetta through ESA's live feed video of the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany.
For additional insight, the ESA has released a video that shows Rosetta's final trajectory. You can read coverage of the event by science reporter Elizabeth Gibney, who live blogged the crash for the journal Nature alongside Rosetta team members Stephen Lowry and Geraint Jones, as well.