Europe's comet chaser gets final commands to end its mission

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Europe's comet-chasing space probe Rosetta has received its last commands putting it on course to crash-land on the icy surface of the alien world it's been following for more than a decade.

Scientists say Rosetta fired its thrusters for 208 seconds late Thursday and is now expected to hit the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 1038 GMT Friday.

During its final descent the probe will carry out a series of pre-programmed commands including taking unprecedented low-altitude images of the comet that could reveal surface features as small as an inch (2.5 centimeter).

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe and its sidekick Philae, which landed on the comet in November 2014, have provided scientists with new insights into the composition of comets and the formation of celestial bodies.