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Living with a comet: a GIADA team perspective

26 Sep 2016, 07:56 UTC
Living with a comet: a GIADA team perspective
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Rosetta’s Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator GIADA has detected and measured the properties of some 6650 comet dust particles. Principal Investigator Alessandra Rotundi reports on the “beautiful results” that her team’s instrument has collected at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
GIADA has been on since May 2014, and we caught the first dust grain on 1 August 2014. The first love is never forgotten! It was the most exciting measurement, and such an emotion! I cannot say that it was unexpected, though; we actually estimated that we’d start detecting dust in that period, and in particular, one of the GIADA Co-Investigators (Eberhard Grün) foresaw exactly 1 August as the starting point for our dust detections!
Since then GIADA has collected 6650 dust particles. For 4825, the cross-sections are known, and for 1825, the momentum, mass and speed are also known. Among this group we also know the cross-section for 307 particles. We always hope for combined particle detections by the GDS (Grain Detection System) and the IS (Impact Sensor) subsystems because these combined detections provide the greatest number of information for individual dust particle, i.e. the momentum, the speed, the mass, the optical cross section and the density.

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