Rosetta was the first mission to orbit a comet and the first mission to land on a comet. Since its arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014, Rosetta’s data has also transformed cometary science.
This film showcases some of the Rosetta’s scientific highlights before the orbiter shuts down operations and joins Philae on the surface of the comet on 30 September. This includes findings by the OSIRIS, VIRTIS, ROSINA and ALICE instruments. The mission results so far have made scientists rethink our picture of comets as dirty snowballs due to a lack of strong evidence for ice on the comet surface. Instead the ice is buried beneath the surface, covered by a layer of dust. This dust layer means that the comet is very dark, only reflecting a few per cent of the light that falls on it.
Although the spacecraft mission will end, the data obtained by Rosetta will provide enough work to keep scientists busy for decades.
The film includes interviews with Joel PARKER, Principal Investigator, ALICE instrument (English); Laurence O’ROURKE, Rosetta downlink science operations manager, European Space Astronomy Centre, ESA (English).