08/07/2014 | Aerospace

After a long 10-year jouney through space, Rosetta has reached yesterday its final destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Rosetta will spend August flying around the comet in a triangular orbit to give scientists time to map the terrain, and the shape and strength of its gravitational field. Rosetta will then move closer, to within 30km of the surface, and settle into a more conventional circular orbit. It will follow the comet on its journey through the inner Solar System, measuring the increase in activity as the icy surface is warmed up by the Sun. The lander will focus on the composition and structure of the comet nucleus material. It will also drill more than 20cm into the subsurface to collect samples for inspection by the lander’s on-board laboratory.

ALTER TECHNOLOGY was the cordinated procurement agency of the electronic components on-board Rosetta, working directly with the European Space Agency, ASTRIUM, experimenters and equipment manufacturers of the avionics, platform, GIADA (Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator), VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) and MIDAS (Micro-Imaging Dust Analysis System) instruments.

Photo: ESA/Rosetta