Rosetta lander in situ characterization of a comet nucleus

K. Wittmann, B. Feuerbacher, S. Ulamec, H. Rosenbauer, J. P. Bibring, D. Moura, R. Mugnuolo, S. DiPippo, K. Szego, G. Haerendel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Rosetta is one of the cornerstone missions within the science program "Horizon 2000" of the European Space Agency (ESA). Its objective is the characterization of comet Wirtanen, which will be reached after 9 years of cruise in the year 2012. As comets are believed to be the most primitive bodies in our planetary system, having preserved material from the early stages of its formation, the Rosetta mission shall result in a better understanding of the formation of the solar system. The Rosetta Lander, part of the Rosetta payload, is contributed to the mission by an international consortium of research institutes. It will perform in situ measurements on the surface of the comet nucleus. The science objectives of the Rosetta Lander can be comprised by: • determination of the composition of cometary near surface matter: bulk elemental abundances, isotopes, minerals, ices, carbonaceous compounds, organics volatiles -in dependance on time and insolation. • measurement of physical parameters - mechanical strength, density, sound speed, electrical permittivity, heat conductivity and temperature. • investigation of topology, surface structure including colour and albedo, near surface structure (strategraphy) and internal structure. • the comets interaction with solar wind. The payload of the Rosetta Lander consists of nine instruments with a total mass of about 20kg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-395
Number of pages7
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number4-9
StatePublished - 1999
EventProceedings of the 1998 3rd IAA International Conference on Low-Cost Planetary Missions - Pasadena, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 27 1998May 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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