The European spacecraft Rosetta will crash-land on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and end its 12-year space odyssey on Sept. 30, France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) said on Thursday.
Rosetta has helped scientists better understand how the Earth and other planets are formed. The space craft detected key organic compounds in a comet, bolstering the notion that comets delivered the chemical building blocks for life long ago to Earth and throughout the solar system.
The spacecraft will join Philae, a lander that touched down on the same comet in July 2015 and has not responded to technicians since.
“What better end to Rosetta than to give a final kiss to her comet?” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the CNES.
(Reporting by Julie Rimbert; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Dominic Evans)