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A Walk Around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko With the Rosetta Plasma Consortium

par Caroline CHAMPENOIS - publié le


mardi 12 mai 2015 à 11:00, service 322 du campus Saint-Jérôme

Pierre Henri
Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l’Environnement et de l’Espace (LPC2E), Caen

After more than ten years in space, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft has reached its target comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in summer 2014. On board the orbiter, the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC) instrument package is designed to study : (i) the microscopic and macroscopic structure of the interaction region of the comet with the solar wind, (ii) the evolution of the development of cometary activity and (iii) the inner coma structure, dynamics and aeronomy, and iv) the physical properties of the cometary nucleus and surface.
During Rosetta’s approach and during the first months in the close vicinity of the comet, the RPC instrument suite nearly continuously monitored the comet environment and its interaction with the solar wind. While the comet is still in a state of relatively low-activity, the five RPC plasma sensors detected signals related to the comet-driven modifications of the solar wind : the first signs of cometary activity with the detection of cometary ions by the Ion Composition Analyser (RPC-ICA) and the Ion and Electron Sensor (RPC-IES), as well as an increasing of electron fluxes. Magnetic fluctuations and low frequency waves resulting from Comet-Solar Wind interaction, detected by the Fluxgate Magnetometer (RPC-MAG), electron density enhancements, resulting from the ionisation of cometary gas detected by the Langmuir probes (RPC-LAP) and by the Mutual Impedance Probe (RPC-MIP). We show first observations obtained during the cometary approach phase and the early phase of the comet activity, discussed in context of model predictions.

Contact local : Matteo Faganello


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