Rosetta science to be presented at AGU

Some of the first scientific results from the Rosetta mission after its arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August and since the landing of Philae on 12 November will be presented to the scientific community next week, during the 2014 autumn meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The meeting, the largest annual Earth and space science conference in the world, is being held in San Francisco from 15–19 December.

We won’t be reporting live from the conference, but some of the presentations in a number of sessions will be streamed live for you to follow. Visit AGU’s website and follow the links from “Virtual Options” to see when virtual sessions are available. Given the location of the conference, all times are given in Pacific Standard Time (PST).

In addition, at 08:00 PST on 17 December there will be a press conference highlighting the latest Rosetta and Philae science: this press conference will also be live streamed. Speakers will include Matt Taylor (ESA Rosetta Project Scientist), Claudia Alexander (NASA Rosetta Project Scientist), Kathrin Altwegg (ROSINA Principal Investigator), and Jean-Pierre Bibring (Philae lander Lead Scientist). Further details can be found here.

In the meantime, you can also preview abstracts on the topics that will be discussed, here:

Follow the AGU conversation on twitter using the hashtag #AGU14.

We will put together a summary of the key new findings discussed at the AGU, and will continue to make results available as scientific papers resulting from Rosetta data are published.



  • Margarita says:

    Great – thanks for the info, especially about the live streaming.

    Only tangentially related, have announced:
    “Comet landing named Physics World 2014 Breakthrough of the Year
    Dec 12, 2014
    The Physics World 2014 Breakthrough of the Year goes to ESA’s Rosetta mission for being the first to land a spacecraft on a comet.”

    I don’t think that URLs are permitted in these comments, but that’s enough info to Google and get the, very good, article saying why Rosetta won the award. It’s also got a link to a Google hangout with Fred Jansen and the editor of Physics World (a recording available at the physicsworld channel at YouTube)

    Congrats to the Rosetta team, yet again!

  • Robin Sherman says:

    Thanks Emily. Fortunately, apart from the press conference, I will be able to watch the Livestream of the 3 Rosetta presentations on the 17th that are being videoed. There are some Mars Curiosity and MAVEN early results as well and a few other interesting solar system based items.

  • Wayne says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing from the Rosetta sciences teams. Hopefully we’ll get some of the science we’ve been waiting for. Also the Mars atmospheric probe science team will be speaking as well as the New Horizons team talking about the space craft approaching Pluto.

    Three of the 2014 Fall Meeting Press Conferences
    Early results from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission
    Monday, 15 December
    9:00 a.m.
    NASA’s newest Mars orbiter, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft began its science phase in mid-November. As the first mission devoted to observing the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars, MAVEN is helping scientists determine how much of the atmosphere has been lost throughout the planet’s history and which processes have been driving that loss. A panel of MAVEN mission scientists will discuss new observations made by the spacecraft that are providing revealing information about the composition and behavior of the upper atmosphere of Mars.
Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN Principal Investigator, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.A.;
    Jasper Halekas, SWIA Instrument Lead, University of Iowa, Iowa City, U.S.A.;
    Paul Mahaffy, NGIMS Instrument Lead, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A.;
    Jim McFadden, STATIC Instrument Lead, University of California at Berkeley, U.S.A.
    Rosetta comet science results
Wednesday, 17 December
    8:00 a.m.
    The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission rendezvoused with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on August 6. On November 12, the mission’s Philae lander became the first spacecraft to soft land on a comet’s surface. The Rosetta science team will present images and science results from the mission to date, and discuss future goals for the mission, as the spacecraft and comet approach perihelion (closest point to the sun).
Matt Taylor: Rosetta Project Scientist, European Space Research and Technology Center, Noordwijk, the Netherlands;
    Claudia Alexander: US Rosetta Project Scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.;
    Kathrin Altwegg: ROSINA Principal Investigator, Center of Space and Habitability., University of Bern, Switzerland;
    Jean-Pierre Bibring: Lead Lander Scientist, Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Orsay, France.
    ************************************************NNew Horizons on Pluto’s doorstep (Workshop)
Thursday, 18 December
    11:30 a.m.
    After nine years and three billion miles in flight, it’s “mission on” for New Horizons. The historic encounter begins with long-distance observations of Pluto in January 2015, and culminates with a flight past Pluto and its moons in July 2015. In this workshop, New Horizons team members will cover why we’re traveling to Pluto, what we want to learn, how we’re going to collect this new information, and efforts to bring the excitement of this incredible voyage to the public. A preview of a new film about the mission followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and AGU member scientists interviewed for the film will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday Dec. 18 in Moscone North Room 300.
Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Colorado, U.S.A.;
    William McKinnon, New Horizons Co-Investigator, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.;
    Mark Holdridge, New Horizons Encounter Mission Manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Maryland, U.S.A.;
    Cathy Olkin, New Horizons Deputy Project Scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Colorado, U.S.A.

  • Jim Carlisle says:

    Over billions of years comets of all flavors had to have hit Earth.
    Wouldn’t the ratio of Hydrogen to Deuterium be found in the mix of comets that hit Earth?

    • Dave says:

      jim type of water.

      Yes it is the mix of comets that hit earth, but the level of 67p is 3 times higher than earths water, so the scientists have accepted that the average of all comets will not match the earths figure.
      To statement that comets are not the cause of earths water is a dramatic move, so they have for certain thoroughly tested the result.

  • Andrew R Brown says:

    What would be interesting to see if the Mercury orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft can measure the Deuterium Enriched Water (Heavy Water) concentration of the vapour from the shadowed polar craters and compare with the Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko results and possibly the Oort Cloud (possibly interstellar) comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring coma readings from the Mars orbiters.

  • Sovereign Slave says:

    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
    ― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

    I guess in an ideal world, I would hope that the Rosetta science team’s approach to P67 would be one of being true pioneers. In fact, I think that is the groundbreaking opportunity they have before them as they begin to release data. True pioneers leave behind the known and familiar and comfortable. They strike out and forge their own path, make their own discoveries unbound by convention and preconception. They see each new discovery with new eyes, and only draw conclusions based on what they experience and come to know, not based on what others have theorized.

    With Rosetta and Philae, there is no longer a need to “theorize” about comets, or to even reference or compare their findings to other theories. Theories are endless, and there are way too many that lie within the vacuum of not knowing. But with Rosetta and Philae they have instruments to measure and to know what a comet really is. There is no longer need for theory to guide them, or to contextualize discoveries in reference to the latest fad theories, or even universally accepted theories. They have the power and opportunity to decree, to simply declare what comets are based on their scientific findings. Time enough later to develop theories to explain the facts.

    • THOMAS says:

      @ Sovereign Slave
      “I guess in an ideal world, I would hope that the Rosetta science team’s approach to P67 would be one of being true pioneers.”

      Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world but in one where everyone, whatever their occupation, has to work hard to try to earn a living and to consolidate their place, whatever their position, from the bottom to the top rung of the social and professional ladder. Why should scientists be expected to live up to higher, more idealistic standards than this?

      The scientists making up the different Rosetta instrument teams have invested much of their academic lives in the Rosetta project and have necessarily written theses and published articles which very largely support the standard “dirty snowball” model of comets, within the framework of their required (and perfectly comprehensible) allegiance to the overall gravity-only Big Bang model of the Universe: that is what they have always been trained to believe in and they naturally perpetuate that training themselves. They have no training, and therefore dispense no teaching, in the fields which might equally well (or more obviously…) have a bearing on cometary activity, such as plasma physics.

      It will therefore be extremely difficult for any of the Rosetta instrument scientists to interpret the surprising images and data they have been harvesting from Rosetta in any way that might jeopardize their careers and academic reputations by showing them to be stepping out of line/breaking ranks with the current astrophysical Establishment. It is a perfectly understandable and respectable dilemma but a dilemma all the same.

      If the other acquired datasets are as discordant with the standard theory as the ROSINA findings have already been announced to be by Kathrin Altwegg, there will be much head-scratching and soul-searching among her colleagues in other instrument teams as to the least prejudicial way of presenting them.

      • Gerald says:

        Scientists are eager to discover something new. That’s the stuff scientific careers are made of.
        But discoveries need to be based on evidence. Otherwise it won’t be accepted by the scientific community.
        Plasma physics is well-established. So if there is evidence for effects evidently caused by plasma, there will be written according papers. That’s not a risk for the career of scientists, if done properly.

        Btw.: The Big Bang is not considered as a purely gravitational phenomenon. Just think of the still very theoretical inflation approach during the electroweak epoch, about a second after the Big Bang.
        Actually a purely general relativistic approach breaks down at the first instant of the Big Bang. Instead some kind quantum gravity, a unification of quantum theory with general relativity is going to be elaborated. Electromagnetism is part of the electroweak theory. The first few tens of thousands of years after the Big Bang, the universe was too hot to form neutral atoms; it was filled of plasma. That’s well in accordance with the “Establishment”.

        The kind of conspiracy or self-censorship you’re presuming wouldn’t work for long in those highly competitive fields.

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