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Twitter Q&A

The team who engineered the technology and scientific instruments to explore a comet hosted a Twitter Q&A on Wednesday 25 June.

Read the storify of the Twitter chat.

Find out more about other exhibits hosting Q&As.

 

Interview

Listen to Quentin Cooper interview the team.

Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Discover the ingredients to make a comet with our interactive 3D comet sculpture
  • Figure out what happens to a comet's tail as it zooms past the Sun
  • See a model of the Rosetta lander sitting on the comet surface

Twitter

Further reading

Wright, I. P. et al. 2006 Ptolemy - an Instrument to Measure Stable Isotopic Ratios of Key Volatiles on a Cometary Nucleus. Space Science Reviews 128, 363-381

Carr, C. M. et al. 2007 RPC: The Rosetta Plasma Consortium. Space Science Reviews 128, 629-647

Lowry, S. C. et al. 2012 The Nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: A New Shape Model and Thermophysical Analysis. Astronomy and Astrophysics 548, A12

Comets have origins and compositions that are shrouded in mystery. The Rosetta spacecraft will land on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014, delivering a scientific laboratory to unveil Solar System secrets that span 4.6 billion years. This exhibit will spotlight how our teams engineered the technology to explore the comet and the scientific instruments to analyse it.

 
Comets preserve the original dust, gases and interstellar material from the birth of the Solar System, 4.6 billion years ago. Discover how the Rosetta spacecraft will provide us with a complete picture of a comet for the very first time.

Comets, the extraordinary and occasional visitors from the outer Solar System,  preserve the original dust, gases and interstellar material from the birth of the Solar System, 4.6 billion years ago. They mostly reside in the deep freeze of the outer reaches of the Solar System until they journey towards the Sun, giving us a closer look.

The Rosetta spacecraft has been on a ten year journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In 2011 it entered hibernation mode and 31 months later, on 20 January 2014, it awoke to prepare to land on the comet.
Rosetta will watch the comet’s coma and tail form as it journeys toward the Sun. By investigating how the charged particles and cometary dust interact with the Sun, it will improve our understanding of space weather.

The lander, a miniature laboratory, will analyse molecules in samples drilled from the comet’s nucleus allowing scientists to piece together the comet’s history and its role in Solar System formation. Rosetta will provide us with a complete picture of a comet for the first time.

Lead image: A schematic of the planned trajectory of the Rosetta spacecraft as it approaches and orbits Comet 67P.