The European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta mission was designed to study the formation and evolution of the Solar System by exploring one of the oldest and most primordial heavenly bodies – comets. The mission consisted of the Rosetta orbiter and the Philae lander. The probes were launched on 2 March 2004, travelled 6.4 billion kilometres in 10 years and, with the help of a few planet swing-bys, arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014.
DLR played a major role in the construction of the lander and operated the Lander Control Center (LCC), from where the difficult task of landing on the comet on 12 November 2014 – a feat never before accomplished – was designed and controlled. On 27 July 2016, after almost two years of cometary exploration, the communications unit on board the Rosetta orbiter (which it used to communicate with the Philae lander) was switched off. On 30 September 2016, the Rosetta mission came to an official end, with the orbiter's controlled descent.
Information about the Rosetta mission is also available on the following DLR channels:
Video Status report on Philae from Lander Control Center
YouTube Rosetta mission - Philae lander videos
DLR on Facebook
Information about the results of the mission can be found here.
Goodbye from Comet 67P
Thank you all for being a part of the journey! From #CometLandung to #GoodbyePhilae.
On 30 September 2016 at 13:19 CEST, the final signal from the Rosetta orbiter was received back on Earth. The ESA mission ended when the spacecraft touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The international team of scientists had already said their farewells to the Philae lander back in February 2016, when its prolonged radio silence indicated that it would no longer report back to the team in the control centre at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
The Philae landing craft touched down on comet on 12 November 2014. It has now been found: it is not located at the convenient site originally selected for its landing, but rather – following a series of three bounces – in a grim and dark environment.
The comet lander Philae has been found. The OSIRIS camera on board the Rosetta orbiter took the revealing images of the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 2 September 2016. They show the landing craft lying sideways in a crevasse. Two of the three landing legs are clearly visible.