The first spacecraft to orbit a comet ended its mission Friday by safely landing on the frozen body it had tracked or the past two years. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe made a confirmed landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at roughly 2 miles per hour before sending its final radio signal back to the mission-control center in Darmstadt, Germany. The comet, which is thought to have formed near Neptune, was closely observed for two years, at one point making its closest approach to the sun, before making an outward journey thereby giving less sunlight for Rosetta to generate power. Rather than abandon the spacecraft altogether, the mission crew decided to land the craft and collect final photographs and data from the comet’s surface.
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