During the last month of Rosetta's operations at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it was no longer possible to observe the comet with telescopes on Earth because it was not far from the Sun's position in the sky and therefore not visible in the night-time. Fortunately, NASA's Kepler space observatory stepped in, taking images of the comet every 30 minutes from 7 to 20 September, providing important context to Rosetta's in situ measurements.
Spacecraft Operations Manager Sylvain Lodiot confirms loss of signal (LOS) and end of Rosetta operations at 13:19 CEST, 30 September 2016, via the voice loop in the Main Control Room at ESA's space operations centre, Darmstadt, Germany.
Mission complete: Rosetta’s journey ends in daring descent to comet
Here's a sequence of images captured by Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera during its descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 30 September.
This is Rosetta's last image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken shortly before impact, an estimated 20 m above the surface.
Rosetta’s descent continues. Here's an OSIRIS narrow-angle camera Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko captured at 10:14 GMT from an altitude of about 1.2 km on 30 September.
Another striking image of the Ma'at region of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta's descent onto the surface of the comet, taken with the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera at 08:21 GMT from an altitude of about 5.7 km.
As Rosetta continues its descent onto the Ma'at region on the small lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this image at 08:18 GMT from an altitude of about 5.8 km.
As Rosetta gets closer and closer to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this beautifully detailed image of the comet surface at 06:53 GMT from an altitude of about 8.9 km.