The Cos­mic Dust An­a­lyz­er

The Cos­mic Dust An­a­lyz­er
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

The Cosmic Dust Analyzer

The job of the Cos­mic Dust An­a­lyz­er (CDA) on the Cassi­ni probe is to in­ves­ti­gate dust par­ti­cles in in­ter­plan­e­tary space in terms of their elec­tri­cal charge, speed, di­rec­tion of flight, mass and chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion. The me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents of the in­stru­ment, in­clud­ing the turntable, with which the de­vice can be aligned with the an­tic­i­pat­ed dust col­lec­tion in­de­pen­dent­ly of the space ve­hi­cle, were de­vel­oped and man­u­fac­tured by the DLR In­sti­tute of Plan­e­tary Re­search. The CDA has been used to in­ves­ti­gate the small­est ice and dust par­ti­cles in the Sat­ur­ni­an sys­tem and es­pe­cial­ly in its rings; how­ev­er, it can al­so de­tect in­ter­plan­e­tary dust from comets and as­ter­oids and in­ter­stel­lar dust.

The job of the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) on the Cassini probe is to investigate dust particles in interplanetary space in terms of their electrical charge, speed, direction of flight, mass and chemical composition. The mechanical components of the instrument, including the turntable, with which the device can be aligned with the anticipated dust collection independently of the space vehicle, were developed and manufactured by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research. The CDA has been used to investigate the smallest ice and dust particles in the Saturnian system and especially in its rings; however, it can also detect interplanetary dust from comets and asteroids and interstellar dust.

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