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Living with a comet: a MIRO team perspective

27 Sep 2016, 15:24 UTC
Living with a comet: a MIRO team perspective
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Rosetta’s MIRO – the Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter – has made nearly two billion science measurements at Comet 67P/C-G, and generated over 1.5 million spectra of gases in the comet’s coma. Principal Investigator Mark Hofstadter shares his team’s highlights of the mission, the challenges faced, and a hint of what’s still to come…
Being the first submillimeter instrument to fly in deep space, and having everything work are pretty high on our list of achievements! While we expected to be able to study the nucleus and coma gases with our instrument, and hoped to be able to see the dust particles, it was still a thrill to actually see the instrument doing what we thought it would. This comet puts out a lot of dust, and the dust particles are larger than predicted, so it was easier for MIRO to see the dust than we thought it would be, and we've been able to study it in more detail than anticipated.
The temperature sensor that gave us a scare during re-commissioning. Image courtesy M. Hofstadter.
But, just as for several of the instrument teams, the post-hibernation checkout gave us an initial unpleasant surprise. We were very cautious at ...

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