Farewell Rosetta: Best images from a 12-yr deep space odyssey (PHOTOS)

© esa.int
An extreme close-up of comet 67P has been released by the European Space Agency (ESA) – the Rosetta spacecraft's final image before permanently losing contact with Earth.

Taken by the ESA’s orbiter using its OSIRIS wide-angle camera as it headed for the space rock on Friday, the grainy picture shows the comet’s rough, uninviting terrain. 

The photo was snapped at 20 meters above the comet’s surface, before ESA mission control guided the $1.5 billion Rosetta onto the giant Keiper belt rock for a spectacular crash-landing finale to its 12-year journey.

Another picture, taken 16 kilometers away from the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s, depicts an eerie moonscape with deep space as its backdrop.

The Rosetta mission brought a number of space science firsts with its orbit of 67P and the landing of a smaller secondary craft, Philae, on the speeding space rock’s surface.

© esa.int

ESA researchers are continuing to analyze a number of images captured by Rosetta as it was set on a daring collision course with a comet that would stretch five times the height of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Launched in 2004, Rosetta has beamed back thousands of images of its incredible trip into the great expanse. Here we look through some of the spacecraft’s best moments as it covered a colossal six billion kilometers in space. Try not to get teary eyed.