Malargüe station supports many of ESA’s most important exploration missions, including Rosetta, Mars Express, ExoMars, LISA Pathfinder and Gaia. Credit: ESA/D. Pazos

Ground stations’ last week with Rosetta

As Rosetta counts down to a memorable comet landing and end of mission on 30 September, here’s a brief profile of the three ESA deep-space ground stations that are tracking the spacecraft in its final days. The...

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Ambition – Epilogue: The Journey Continues

After her long, arduous training, our young Apprentice is now a fully fledged Master of cosmic origins, exploring an alien planet rich with water and life. But something familiar crosses her mind. Memories from her training, and...

Notes: Rosetta’s VIRTIS instrument in numbers based on data available 1 August 2014 – 16 August 2016. In most cases, numbers for VIRTIS-M (mapper) visible (VIS) and infrared (IR) channels and VIRTIS-H (high-res) subsystems have been added together. The breakdown is as follows: 
VIRTIS-M image cubes: M-VIS: 7054; M-IR: 1653
Spectra: 216 million VR-M spectra (M-VIS: 181,559,400; M-IR: 34,940,200) and 2,395,164 VR-H spectra 
Cyro-cooler operations: VR-M: 2535 hours; VR-H: 7307 hours 
Shutter activations: VR-M: 35460; VR-H 574248 
Cover open-close cycles: VR-M 2085; VR-H 2662
Cover open: VR-M 4100 hours; VR-H 4845 hours
Power on-off cycles of calibration lamps: VR-M:  30; VR-H: 228

Living with a comet: a VIRTIS team perspective

Rosetta’s VIRTIS instrument (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) has collected over 200 million spectra concerning the nature of Comet 67P/C-G’s nucleus and the gases in the coma. Principal Investigator Fabrizio Capaccioni gives the behind the scenes...

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Rosetta in numbers

Some impressive numbers from Rosetta's mission. Click for full res!   Summary Rosetta's mission lasted 12 years 6 months and 28 days, from launch on 2 March 2004 to mission end on 30 September 2016. During that time,...

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Living with a comet: a MIRO team perspective

Rosetta’s MIRO – the Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter – has made nearly two billion science measurements at Comet 67P/C-G, and generated over 1.5 million spectra of gases in the comet’s coma. Principal Investigator Mark Hofstadter...

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Living with a comet: A ROSINA team perspective

Rosetta’s ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis) suite of instruments have made plenty of big headlines over the last two years, with the surprising discovery of molecular oxygen and nitrogen and the ‘flavour’ of...

Compilation of the brightest outbursts seen at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and Navigation Camera between July and September 2015.
Credits: OSIRIS: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA; NavCam: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

The surprising comet

As Rosetta began homing in on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in the weeks leading up to its arrival in August 2014, it became very clear that this was no ordinary comet. But its striking shape was only just the...

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Visualising Rosetta’s descent

Imagine how Rosetta's descent might look if you were an observer at Comet 67P/C-G! This new animation visualises the final stages of Rosetta's descent to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 30 September 2016. The sequence is speeded up to show...

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Living with a comet: a COSIMA team perspective

Comet dust particles may be small, but they come in large numbers. COSIMA Principal Investigator Martin Hilchenbach shares some impressive facts about the instrument’s performance, and reflects on the personal highlights of the team during Rosetta’s mission....

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Living with a comet: a GIADA team perspective

Rosetta’s Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator GIADA has detected and measured the properties of some 6650 comet dust particles. Principal Investigator Alessandra Rotundi reports on the “beautiful results” that her team’s instrument has collected at Comet...

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Living with a comet: a MIDAS team perspective

This is the first of a series of blog posts that delve behind the scenes of Rosetta's instrument teams to find out what it was really like "living with a comet" for two years, with some impressive...

Compilation of the brightest outbursts seen at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and Navigation Camera between July and September 2015.
Credits: OSIRIS: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA; NavCam: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Summer fireworks on Rosetta’s comet

Brief but powerful outbursts seen from Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko during its most active period last year have been traced back to their origins on the surface. In the three months centred around the comet’s closest approach to the...

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Rosetta’s final orbits – animation

This new animation visualises Rosetta's last two months of trajectories around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The animation begins in early August, when the spacecraft started flying elliptical orbits that brought it progressively closer to the comet at its closest approach. On...

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CometWatch – 31 August & 11 September

This week's CometWatch entry is a double feature, with two images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta's NAVCAM taken on 31 August and 11 September 2016, when the spacecraft was 8.8 and 9.8 km, respectively, from the centre...