The Rosetta mission, approved by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1993 and launched in March 2004, was one of the most ambitious endeavors of European spaceflight. It carried 11 instruments and the Philae landing module with 10 experiments. On its route to comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Rosetta came close to two asteroids. In 2008 it passed 2867 Šteins and two years later 21 Lutetia. The scientific objective was to determine the exact dimensions, shape, density and properties of both asteroids.
During the early phase at 67P, in summer 2014, Rosetta orbited the cometary nucleus and mapped the surface. After a 3 month intensive campaign to characterize the surface and to select an appropriate landing site Philae touched down on November 12th 2014 and started the measurements. Rosetta followed the comet all the way through the closest approach to the Sun and back out again. In 2016 Rosetta was running low on fuel and it was decided to finish the mission by landing the spacecraft on the surface of the comet on 30th of September.
DLR was involved in several experiments on the spacecraft and on the lander. For VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) DLR-PF together with DLR-OS was responsible for the DPU (Digital Processing Unit) Extension Board. Additionally, we were strongly involved in the scientific preparation of the mission and in the analysis of data from other instruments as OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and InfraRed Imaging System) and ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis).
Furthermore, DLR-PF was responsible for three instruments on Philae: MUPUS (Multi-Purpose Sensors for Surface and Subsurface Science), ROLIS (Rosetta Lander Imaging System and SESAME (Surface Electric Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiment).
The huge amount of scientific data brought us new knowledge about the chemical composition, mechanical and thermal properties of comets and about their origin and evolution.