Overview of the 11 instruments on board the Rosetta orbiter.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
The European Space Agency ESA Rosetta spacecraft entered orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014. The orbit consisted initially of segments resembling pyramids, before it became more elliptical as it drew closer. The orbiter is set to accompany the comet as it approaches the Sun, and will thus provide the, until now, unprecedented opportunity to analyse the 'awakening' of a comet – dust formation and the increasing gaseous emissions that produce the comet's tail – at close quarters.
The orbiter carries 11 scientific instruments, designed for investigating the comet from orbit; the on-board cameras and spectrometers operate across a broad spectrum (ultraviolet, visual, infrared, microwave). Mass spectrometers, instruments for isotope analysis and dust analysers will determine the gas and dust composition. A radio wave experiment is expected to study the comet’s nucleus, while a plasma detector analyses the interactions with the solar wind.
is an imaging ultraviolet spectrometer, which will determine the composition and temperature of the surface and the characteristics of the gas molecules in the coma.
Principal Investigator (PI): Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
will send long-wave radio signals through the comet's nucleus, to explore its structure.
Principal Investigator (PI): Wlodek Kofman, Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, Grenoble, France.
is a mass spectrometer, which will collect cometary dust particles and analyse their chemical composition.
Principal Investigator (PI): Martin Hilchenbach, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany.
will determine the number, size and speed of the dust grains in the coma. This will make an important contribution to the understanding of the processes of initial and evolving activity of the comet.
Principal Investigator (PI): Alessandra Rotundi, Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Parthenope’, Naples, Italy.
is an atomic force microscope, which will examine the structure of dust particles.
Principal Investigator (PI): Mark Bentley, Space Research Institute, Graz, Austria.
is a microwave instrument for determining the composition of the core and coma, as well as for measuring the cometary activity and for determining physical properties of the core surface (temperature) and coma molecules (density, temperature, and velocity).
Principal Investigator (PI): Samuel Gulkis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.
is a telephoto and wide-angle camera, which will take high-resolution images in different spectral bands for the characterisation of the nucleus and its surrounding environment.
Principal Investigator (PI): Holger Sierks, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany.
Co-Investigators: Stubbe Hviid, Jörg Knollenberg, Ekkehard Kührt, Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany.
consists of two mass spectrometers, as well as a pressure sensor, and will determine the chemical composition of the coma, the isotopic ratios and the temperature and velocity of the gas molecules.
Principal Investigator (PI): Kathrin Altwegg, University of Bern, Switzerland.
comprises ion and electron detectors and a magnetometer to measure physical properties of the nucleus and the coma and the interaction of coma and tail with the solar wind.
Principal Investigator (PI): Hans Nilsson, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden (RPC/ICA); James Burch, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, USA (RPC/IES); Karl-Heinz Glassmeier, Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany (RPC/MAG); Christopher Carr, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK (RPC/PIU).
Co-Investigator: Ekkehard Kührt, Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany.
will use the spacecraft communications system to determine the cometary gravitational field as well as the size, mass, shape and structure of the nucleus.
Principal Investigator (PI): Martin Pätzold, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
is an imaging spectrometer, which will measure the composition and temperature of the cometary surface and the characteristics of the gas molecules in the coma.
Principal Investigator (PI): Fabrizio Capaccioni, Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Rome, Italy.
Co-PI: Gabriele Arnold, Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany.
Co-Investigators: U. Carsenty, Ralf Jaumann, Ekkehard Kührt, Stefano Mottola, Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany.
Last modified:26/03/2015 13:12:14