The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe ended its twelve-year mission today by crashing into its host comet, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (which, York students will be pleased to hear, looks a bit like a giant space duck if you squint right ­– apparently). Thankfully, the collision was deliberate.

When radio contact with the probe was lost abruptly shortly after noon today (UK time), mission controllers in the German city of Darmstadt responded with muted cheers and handshakes, marking the end of the mission that began in March 2004 and hit the news almost two years ago when the Philae lander was successfully landed on the comet’s surface.

I can announce the full success of this historic descent of Rosetta towards Comet 67P.

Farewell Rosetta; you’ve done the job. That was space science at its best.

Patrick Martin, ESA mission manager

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