• Screenshot from ESA's "Once upon a time" Rosetta cartoon series (YouTube)Source: YouTube
Explain it to me like I'm five.
Signe Dean

3 Oct 2016 - 2:51 PM  UPDATED 3 Oct 2016 - 2:53 PM

Late last week the world witnessed the end of the historic space exploration mission. The Rosetta mission, lead by the European Space Agency (ESA), allowed humans to explore a comet, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, in unprecedented detail.

The mission achieved a series of scientific firsts - first spacecraft to orbit a comet nucleus, first to explore a comet as it headed towards our Sun, first touchdown of a scientific instrument on a comet (the little Philae lander), and first photos from a comet's surface.

Twelve years in duration, last weekend the journey ended with a controlled crash of the Rosetta space probe onto the surface of 67P. 

Rosetta comet crash ends historic mission
The 12-year space trek of Rosetta has ended as the craft crashed landed on the comet it has been chasing for so long.

Several discoveries have already been achieved by the mission, and the rich data gathered by Philae and Rosetta will occupy researchers for decades. But, alongside scientific output and public engagement in science, the ESA has also harnessed the mission for educational purposes, with plenty of teaching materials available on the mission website's Teach with Rosetta section.

By far the most charming of these educational materials is the Once Upon a Time animation video series that anyone can watch for free online.

You don't have to be a child to appreciate the sweetness and subtle humour of the story - and if you haven't been quite sure what the comet mission was all about, these adorable (if slightly cheesy) videos will have you sorted, with scientific explanations of the mission's achievements cashed out in language aimed at primary school students.

There are 11 segments in total, neatly arranged into a playlist. Below are some of the highlights of the series; if you would like to check out the series in total, head over to ESA's YouTube channel.

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