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Rosetta's comet impact site gets a fitting name

The Rosetta spacecraft now lies dormant on the surface of its comet. The name of the landing site couldn't be more perfect.

A mosaic of some of Rosetta's final images.


On Friday, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft said farewell to its long space-faring mission and dove down to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for a controlled impact. Rosetta's final image shows a rocky, dusty, out-of-focus landscape seen from just 66 feet (20 meters) above. That fateful landing site now has a new name: "Sais."

The Rosetta mission was named for the Rosetta Stone, an inscribed rock that helped scholars unravel the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Researchers believe it may have originally been displayed in a temple in the ancient Egyptian town of Sais.

"Just as the Rosetta Stone was pivotal in understanding ancient language and history, so the vast treasure trove of Rosetta spacecraft data is changing our view on how comets and the Solar System formed," says the ESA.

Rosetta first launched in 2004, arrived at Comet 67P in 2014 and then spent two years studying the space object before the mission ended with the controlled impact on the surface.