(CNN) The Rosetta space probe has crash-landed on the surface of a distant comet, ending a remarkable 12-year mission that made a series of breakthrough discoveries.
It was the final act of an epic project to chase a comet in its orbit around the sun, put a sister probe on the surface and gather information about its behaviour and chemical composition.
After confirmation, the mission controllers sent out a simple tweet in many languages, just saying: “Mission complete.”
The European Space Agency (ESA) which led the mission consortium, including NASA, decided that setting down the orbiter on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was the best way to close the project.
Airbus Defence and Space, which built the Rosetta probe, said the impact was at a sedate walking pace of about one mile per hour.
Lander system engineer Laurence O’Rourke told CNN that Rosetta was too far away for its solar panels to be effective in running the heaters or the computers.
The orbiting spacecraft was not designed to land on the comet but by making a controlled descent and impact, it was thought possible to gather more pictures and data on the way down.