NOV 13, 2015 05:16 AM PST
Going Out With a Bang
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Going out in a fiery crash is kind of how it's done in space. Research probes and space crafts that have fulfilled their missions are usually sent on a planned descent that will have them impacting something and burning up. It's like outer space recycling, because while it seems wasteful, the crashing of these probes can result in something valuable.

Later this year the Rosetta satellite that successfully put a probe on a the surface of part of a comet will also go not so gently into that good night by smashing itself into the same space object. When it does, material from the impact site will effectively splash back up from the surface and scientists can learn more about the composition of the comet. It's a literal last-ditch maneuver to get additional data from a mission.

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