The Last Moments for GOCE [PIC]

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Nov. 13 2013 8:00 AM

The Last Moments for GOCE

Over the weekend, the GOCE scientific satellite burned up in Earth’s atmosphere off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

That’s not exactly downtown Chicago — the Falklands are thinly populated, with only about 3000 people there — so I despaired of seeing an image of the last few moments for GOCE. However, a picture did turn up, taken by Bill Chater:

GOCE burns up
GOCE re-enters Earth's atmosphere.

Photo by Bill Chater / ESA

In a followup tweet, Chater said he has video, so we may yet see a little more of this mission’s noble demise.

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It's always sad to see a mission come to an end, but it helps a lot to know that it was very successful, providing data that scientists will use for many years to come. My congratulations to the GOCE team for their hard work.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!