Rosetta begins the descent towards the Comet Churi
A Tweet from the European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed that the probe was placed at the scheduled time on a path that will lead it to a collision with Churi.
This spectacular end put an end to a space Odyssey of more than twelve years, crowned with about 26 months of fruitful closeness with comet 67 p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in his journey around the Sun.
The probe will use its latest forces for trying to accumulate the greater amount possible of data scientific during these last hours.
"We are very excited," says Matt Taylor, Chief Scientist of the Rosetta mission, questioned by AFP in the European Center of special operations (ESOC) in Darmstadt (Germany).
"During the final descent, we will find in a region that we never extracted samples," he added.
Most of the instruments of the probe will be connected during the last hours. Rosetta will take close pictures, will "suck" gas, measured temperature Churi and its gravity.
Decided in 1993 by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Rosetta mission aims to better understand the solar system. Comets appeared 4,500 million years ago, are part of the most primitive objects in this system.
The mission, which has cost 1,400 million euros, has allowed harvesting a crop of data will occupy several years scientists.
The mission was marked by the vicissitudes of the Philae robot-laboratory, who was the first to settle on a Comet, on November 12, 2014. Inert since in July 2015 completely depleted its batteries, Philae was located at the beginning of September by the probe.
Comet 67 p is currently directed towards the orbit of Jupiter. It will continue away from the Sun in its elliptical trajectory to about 850 million kilometers away from our star King.
And with it will move away Rosetta, with more than 7,000 million kilometers over since its launch in 2004, who escort the Comet from August 2014.
Equipped with large solar panels, the probe has begun to lose power. For this reason, ESA decided to conclude its mission while controlling it.
The drama takes place more than 720 million kilometers from Earth.
Overnight on Thursday to 20 H 50 GMT when the probe was 19 km from Churi, Rosetta went on thrusters for three minutes to be on a path that leads it directly to the collision with Comet.
The confirmation was received on earth within 40 minutes.
The descent of the probe lasts 14 hours.
At the end, your speed should reach 90 centimeters per second (3.2 km/h), "i.e. the human walking speed", said Sylvain Lodiot, responsible for operations in Rosetta flight at the ESOC.
Rosetta is not designed to land but engineers have done everything possible so that the "controlled impact" probe at the Comet towards the 10 H 40 GMT on Friday, is less rough as possible.
The Earth will have to then wait 40 minutes to be informed, to 11 H 20 GMT, with a range of about 20 minutes.
The probe was scheduled to shut down as soon as it comes into contact with the surface of the nucleus of the comet.
Rosetta should settle in an area located on the head of the Comet, which behaves "holes", a broad and deep circular depressions, where sometimes escape jets of gas and dust.
"We hope to be able to observe structures in the walls of the holes that (we) can be traced back to the time of formation of the Comet and would give us indications on the fundamental evolution of the solar system," said Jean-Pierre Bibring, Chief Scientist of the program Philae.
Rosetta begins the descent towards the Comet Churi Reviewed by Sonia Mar on 9:08 PM Rating: