Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

April 17, 2014
Rosetta's instruments. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab.

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Many of the instruments have commissioning slots spread throughout the six weeks; for the remainder of this month final tests are scheduled for COSIMA, ROSINA, RPC and RSI experiments. MIRO will be switched on for the first time at the end of next week. There is also a lot of time devoted to commissioning lander Philae's ten experiments, following its successful reactivation on 28 March – yesterday we saw the first image from the lander's CIVA instrument.

You will have also read already that OSIRIS has completed commissioning, capturing its first image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 20 March. OSIRIS continues to take navigation images ready for fine-tuning a series of rendezvous manoeuvres starting next month, which will bring the spacecraft in line with arriving at the comet in August. OSIRIS has also started taking light curve measurements, which will allow scientists to establish the comet's rotation period.

Philae's instruments. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Meanwhile, the spacecraft continues to operate nominally. Today, 16 April, Rosetta is 623 million kilometres from the Sun and 600 million kilometres from Earth, with a one way signal travel time of 33 minutes 21 seconds. And there's now 'only' 3.5 million kilometres between Rosetta and the comet.

Explore further: Image: Rosetta's comet

Related Stories

Image: Rosetta's comet

January 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —ESA's Rosetta spacecraft woke up 20 January, after 31 months in deep space hibernation, to catch up with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Rosetta's comet wakes up

March 10, 2014

(Phys.org) —It's back! After comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko had disappeared behind the Sun and out of the Earth's view last year in October, the target comet of ESA's Rosetta mission can now be seen again. In the most ...

Comet-probing robot to wake from hibernation

March 26, 2014

A fridge-sized robot lab hurtling through the Solar System aboard a European probe is about to wake from hibernation and prepare for the first-ever landing by a spacecraft on a comet.

Rosetta sets sights on destination comet

March 27, 2014

(Phys.org) —ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has caught a first glimpse of its destination comet since waking up from deep-space hibernation on 20 January.

Comet lander awakes from long hibernation

March 28, 2014

European space experts said on Friday they had successfully reawakened a fridge-sized robot designed to make the first-ever spacecraft landing on a comet.

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

April 16, 2014

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled Rosetta ...

Recommended for you

At Saturn, one of these rings is not like the others

September 2, 2015

When the sun set on Saturn's rings in August 2009, scientists on NASA's Cassini mission were watching closely. It was the equinox—one of two times in the Saturnian year when the sun illuminates the planet's enormous ring ...

Prawn Nebula: Cosmic recycling

September 2, 2015

Dominating this image is part of the nebula Gum 56, illuminated by the hot bright young stars that were born within it. For millions of years stars have been created out of the gas in this nebula, material which is later ...

Comet Hitchhiker would take tour of small bodies

September 2, 2015

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn't easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.