ESA releases adorable Rosetta cartoon ahead of mission finale

27 Sep 2016

Still from 'Once upon a time... Rosetta's grand finale'. Image: ESA/YouTube

On 30 September, the ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft will crash into Comet 67P ending its multi-year missions. But before it does, ESA has released one final adorable cartoon celebrating the mission.

The Rosetta spacecraft – and its Philae lander craft – won the hearts of many, following its arrival into the orbit of Comet 67P all the way back in November 2014.

Its mission was to land a craft on the surface of a comet for the first time in history, and with that, hopefully make breakthrough discoveries that could tell us how the universe was formed.

While it didn’t go exactly to plan from a scientific perspective, with Philae’s bumpy landing returning limited data, the orbiting Rosetta craft continued to send back incredible information about the cosmic chunk of ice and rock.

Among these discoveries was the fact that Comet 67P looked similar to a duck with two conjoined parts, but also that its surface contained amino acids that are one of the fundamental building blocks of life.

But perhaps the greatest story of the mission that really tugged on the heart strings of those following the spacecraft, was the last minute re-discovery of Philae.

One last hurrah

During its bumpy landing, ESA scientists – including Irishman Laurence O’Rourke – saw how Philae fell on its side, rendering its scientific equipment quickly unusable as it lost access to solar energy.

With all its systems shut down following the loss of backup power, it was deemed to be lost forever.

Or at least that was until earlier this month, when Rosetta caught the briefest of glimpses of Philae in one of Comet 67P’s crevices, after months of searching for the final location of the craft.

Now, as part of the cartoon series highlighting the ‘adventures’ of Rosetta and Philae, the ESA has released possibly the final video celebrating the mission’s end.

The video even features a moment where the cartoon version of Rosetta is joined by apparitions of other spacecrafts now lost.

After 786 days, Rosetta will crash into Comet 67P on 30 September, but the cartoon omits that particular detail.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic