Wednesday, November 12, 2014

e2v Sensors Just Landed on Comet

e2v reports that five of its sensors are installed on ESA Rosetta space probe whose lander part has just landed on comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - live updates are here. Rosetta was launched in 2004 and in August this year, achieved a milestone of becoming the first spacecraft to orbit a comet’s nucleus. Since then, Rosetta has been orbiting comet 67p and mapping its nucleus in great detail and in September, identified the potential landing site for its lander (Philae). The Philae has landed the comet today at 16:02 GMT.

e2v sensors involved in Rosetta mission:

On Rosetta:
  • OSIRIS – the high resolution imaging camera. It has a narrow field and wide field camera.
  • NAVCAM – the navigation camera.
  • VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) – which maps and studies the nature of the solids and the temperature on the surface of the comet. It also identifies gases, characterises the physical conditions of the comet and has helped to identify the best landing site (e2v’s devices are in the visible element of this instrument).

On Philae:
  • ÇIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) – six identical micro-cameras take panoramic pictures of the surface of the comet. A spectrometer studies the composition, texture and albedo (reflectivity) of samples collected from the surface.
  • ROLIS (Rosetta Lander Imaging System) – a CCD camera used to obtain high-resolution images during the descent of the lander and take stereo panoramic images of areas sampled by other instruments.

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