This month the Sky at Night goes behind the scenes at the European Space Agency as the Rosetta mission reaches its dramatic conclusion and the spacecraft is crashed into the surface of comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
For nearly two years the Rosetta spacecraft has been in orbit around 67P – studying the comet at close range and returning the most extraordinary pictures. But now the the mission must come to an end and the project scientists have decided to have one final attempt at studying the comet at closer range than ever before.
On September 30th the spacecraft – with all its instruments running – will be crashed into the surface of the comet. Its aim is to get the best ever view of the mysterious pits on the comet’s surface. Pits whose walls are thought to have been undisturbed for over 4 billion years, since the formation of the solar system.
Chris Lintott will be in mission control with the scientists as they watch the pictures come in from the spacecraft’s dive towards the surface. And Maggie Aderin-Pocock will be investigating how the mission has transformed our understanding of comets and the birth of the solar system.