ESA today (21st July) announced the location of Rosetta’s final resting place – the spacecraft will make a hard landing (‘controlled impact’) on the Ma’at region of the comet on 30th September 2016 at 10:30 UTC (12.30 in Europe). This region was chosen in part because of its dynamic nature with active pits. The landing will take place by means of elliptical orbits of ever decreasing size, and the spacecraft wil continue to take pictures on its way down. The spacecraft was never designed to land, and even if it survives intact it will not be able to correctly orient its solar panels or antenna and so will rapidly run out of power and be unable to communicate.
Active pits in the Ma’at region. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA.