• At the moment, European-led Rosetta is just two months away from the climax of its mission on 13 August, when the comet will make its closest approach to the sun. During this time, the spacecraft will observe the comet at its most active but, eventually, the mission will have to come to an end when Rosetta runs out of fuel and power.
  • The current plan at the end of the mission is to shut the spacecraft down, and leave it drifting in space. But a proposal to crash Rosetta into the surface was recently made. It’s unknown at what speed the Rosetta spacecraft would impact, and what sort of science would be returned. However, the proposal is likely to be an appealing one.
  • Nasa recently performed a similar maneouvre with its Messenger spacecraft, which was sent slamming into the surface of Mercury on 30 April 2015.

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