It has provided insight into the early days of the solar system and captured the public’s imagination.

The spacecraft has stalked comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko across more than 3.7 billion miles of space, collecting a treasure trove of information on comets that will keep scientists busy for the next decade.

Scientists in the European Space Agency control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, clapped and hugged as confirmation of the end of the mission came at 1119 GMT.

Rosetta completed its free-fall descent at the speed of a sedate walk, joining the probe Philae, which landed on the comet in November 2014 in what was considered a remarkable feat of precision space travel.

“Thank you Rosetta,” ESA director general Jan Woerner said on Twitter.