Last call from Rosetta

Going… going… gone! A sequence of screenshots showing the signal from Rosetta seen at ESA’s ESOC mission control centre via NASA’s 70m tracking station at Madrid during comet landing on 30 September 2016. The peak of the spectrum analyser is strong at 13:19 CEST, and a few moments later, it’s gone.

Rosetta's radio signal starts to fade... Credit: ESA

Rosetta’s radio signal starts to fade… Credit: ESA

Rosetta's radio signal starts to fade... Credit: ESA

Rosetta’s radio signal starts to fade… Credit: ESA

Rosetta's radio signal is almost gone Credit: ESA

Rosetta’s radio signal is almost gone Credit: ESA

Rosetta's radio signal is gone Credit: ESA

Rosetta’s radio signal is gone Credit: ESA



  • Thomas DUFOUR says:

    So sad…

  • Andreas says:

    For a signal loss caused by sudden pointing error, I would have expected a different picture. Strange, how side lobes deteriorated first, then a good time later the final loss. In the video, this can be seen more clearly and I think, folks in the control room wondered too.

    What could have caused this? Was terrain getting into line of sight?

    • Harvey says:

      I suspect it’s largely to do with the scanning and averaging used in the spectrum analyser. I’ve seen similar effects when abruptly connecting and disconnecting sources.

  • Hi Daniel!


    In the last picture, are the peaks and drops of the display after Rosetta ceased to broadcast just background noise, or what exactly is being shown?

  • Alicja says:

    Thank you Rosetta, Philae and the entire Team for such a wonderful adventure. You will be missed. Not sure if it’s a tear or a just comet dust in my eye…

  • Margarita says:

    On the Livestream broadcast, I appreciated very much that Monika left silence for the last five minutes or so as we were waiting for the “flatline”. Not many broadcasters and commentators would have the sensitivity to do that.
    Can you pass on my appreciation?

    For me (a retired hospital social worker) it was evocative of sitting at a bedside, waiting for the end to come. Silence was so appropriate.

    • Thomas Allekotte says:

      I completely agree, Margarita!
      Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch “The End” live. But watching the video a day later I was really impressed by the mere silence.
      Great job done by Monika Jones !
      A moment forever when everyone watching became a member of the control team waiting for the signal to fade away .
      This to me was Monika’s tribute to all the team members at ESOC and everywhere at ESA, not to continue as usual but to withhold and let the “Sound of Silence” take over.
      And Silvain Lodiot stateing that the end has come with his voice gently breaking.
      Great Show !
      So impressive, so marvelous!
      … to be continued hopefully in about three weeks when Exomars is going to land o Mars !
      Go ESA !
      Thomas Allekotte

  • Frank says:

    I said exactly the same thing everyone else said when the signal died. I said “Oooooh” with my voice falling towards the end of the syllable. Well – what else can you say.? I didn’t hear any expletives, which was good.

    • ianw16 says:

      I heard a mild one from Matt Taylor on the BBC’s Sky at Night, which pretty much summed it up!

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