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Living with a comet: RPC team perspective

29 Sep 2016, 05:35 UTC
Living with a comet: RPC team perspective
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

RPC, the Rosetta Plasma Consortium, comprises five sensors tasked with investigating the magnetic, electric and plasma environment of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimneko – the most well-known results perhaps being that of the “Singing Comet” and the non-magnetised nature of the comet’s nucleus. Here the team step back in time to the launch of Rosetta in 2004, to deployment of the instrument that enabled these discoveries, and share some of the surprising results collected at the comet over the last two years. With contributions from Christopher Carr, Ingo Richter, Anders Eriksson, Pierre Henri, Hans Nilsson and Ray Goldstein.
“Perhaps the most important thing of all for us was the physical deployment of the magnetometer boom during ‘commissioning’ in March 2004,” says Ingo. “Without this, the magnetometer would have been located very close to the Rosetta spacecraft and would have been very much disturbed by spacecraft interference. During the deployment, the RPC team was at ESOC and we could witness this procedure, monitoring the magnetic field in almost real time. The magnetic field became smaller and smaller while the deployment went on – a positive proof that the sensor was moving away from the dirty (magnetically-speaking!) spacecraft.
Blast from the past: a team meeting ...

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