At 11:30 BST today, a spacecraft weighing over 2,000 kilograms with the wingspan of a Boeing 747 crashed gently into a comet’s surface, following 13 hours of free-fall. These, my friends, are the last, fleeting glimpses of Comet 67P that Rosetta managed to capture before its instruments went dead.
They’re also some of the best photos humans have ever taken of the surface of a comet, period. So enjoy them—because we won’t get another mission like this for a long time.
Comet from 1.2 km.
The Rosetta spacecraft’s landing site, Ma’at, is stitched together here from a series of images.
Comet as seen 5.8 km above the surface.
Comet as seen 8.9 km above the surface.
Comet as seen from 15.5 kilometer, with the broader ‘head’ region where Ma’at is located visible.
Comet as seen from 19.4 kilometers.
Comet as seen from 20 kilometers.
Fare thee well, Rosetta. Your watch is over.