Radio signals from Rosetta flatlined at 7:19 a.m. Eastern after it did a soft belly-flop onto Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko at a speed of two miles per hour, slower than the average walk.
Before Rosetta went silent, it collected and sent back one last batch of data and images, including some very close-up shots of the comet’s surface.
Comets are frozen remnants that hold secrets about the early solar system, and Rosetta was the first spacecraft to do more than just whiz by one. Scientists have learned a lot from Rosetta’s discoveries, adding pieces to the puzzle of how the planets came together and how life arrived on Earth. One of Rosetta’s key findings is that comets are probably not the source of Earth’s water.