Rosetta’s Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator is ready for monitoring dust at comet 67P/CG, say the instrument’s Principal Investigator Alessandra Rotundi and Deputy Principal Investigator Vincenzo Della Corte, who sent us a short email at the end of last week to confirm that GIADA successfully checked out of commissioning:

“On the 13th of April GIADA accomplished all the activity foreseen for the re-commissioning. The data analyses demonstrated a nominal behaviour of the instrument. All the mechanisms and sensors worked nominally. GIADA is now ready to start measuring the number, mass, momentum and velocity distribution of dust grains emitted from the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.”

But that’s not all GIADA will do…

Artist's illustration of Rosetta's GIADA instrument. Credits: ESA/AOES Medialab

Artist’s illustration of Rosetta’s GIADA instrument.
Credits: ESA/AOES Medialab

In addition to the scientific analysis of the comet’s dust, GIADA will also provide specific dust parameters that will provide important input for other instruments onboard Rosetta and for creating coma dust models. For example, knowing the dust optical properties and the dynamics of the grains will be important for the correct interpretation of coma images. GIADA will also support the characterisation of any dust-emitting areas on the surface of the comet.

GIADA will also play an important role for the health and the safety of various experiments and the spacecraft itself, as it will be able to provide information about dust flux in several directions. The optical surfaces of instruments, and other devices pointing to the nucleus will be polluted by the dust flux and so GIADA data will allow the prediction of deposition rates to help make informed decisions for corrective actions. GIADA will provide data to control performance degradation of critical devices such as passive radiators and solar panels.

Read more about GIADA, here.

A formal wrap-up of Rosetta’s commissioning phase is expected next week, once all instrument data has been analysed to confirm the mission’s readiness for science operations.