On September 30, the Rosetta orbiter sent its final message back to Earth before deliberately crashing into comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, its adopted home since November 2014. Over four million people watched the mission’s heartfelt sendoff, livestreamed from the European Space Agency (ESA) operations center in Darmstadt, Germany.
If you’re ever in the mood to relive this historic mission, the first ever to land a probe on a comet, bookmark this enthralling visualization of Rosetta’s entire orbital journey, released by ESA on Thursday.
Beginning with the spacecraft’s launch from French Guiana in 2004 and ending with its death dive in September, the animated short brings the mission’s complex maneuvers and breathtaking voyage to life. The Newtonian waltz it shared with its target destination (and eventual burial ground) is a thing of beauty. The trajectory even traces out the shape of a heart during one close pass, while the tight spins around the comet leading up to the fatal collision are like stencil drawings etched in orbit. Farewell, Rosetta—and nice moves.
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from Watch this Gorgeous Animation of the Rosetta Spacecraft’s Orbital Journey