News

End of Rosetta mission signals new beginning

Researchers will begin a more active research phase. Rosetta measurements have been carried out at Aalto University from August 2014.

The image shows the orbits of the comet and the planets. Along the comet's orbit, there are simulations of the comet's interaction with solar wind at different distances from the Sun (3.3; 2.4 and 1.3 AU). AU is an astronomical unit, i.e. the distance from the Earth to the Sun ~145 million km. Photo: Markku Alho / Aalto University

The end of Rosetta mission signals the beginning of a new phase for Aalto University researchers. The European Space Agency's mission control centre located in Germany has sent the Rosetta probe a command to crash into the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Impact is due to take place today 30 September at 2 pm Finnish time. The flight leading up to impact has lasted 12.5 years and is one of the most successful throughout the history of space research

'We at Aalto University have worked in collaboration with other institutes in the collection of data on the comet’s entire life-cycle: the birth of the comet, its growth, its active adulthood and its decline to slumber, from which it will awaken in four years' time, when the new comet reaches the heat of the Sun again,' Professor Esa Kallio details.

The image shows in order from left to right the development of the comet's particle environment from the perihelion to the end of measurements. The cloud depicts the water ions in the comet's environment, the lines the movement of the solar winds. From the left: 1.3 AU is an ”adult” comet, 2.4 AU a ”teenager” and 3.3 AU is just about to be born. The effect the comet has on solar wind varies a great deal depending on the comet's level of activity. Photo: Markku Alho / Aalto University

Although the Rosetta mission is coming to an end, the active research phase is only just beginning.

'Researchers now have time to focus on the analysis of measurements, whereas up until now they have had little time for anything but fine-tuning the characteristics of the measurement devices. We are modelling the comet, and we now have all the possible measurement materials at our disposal to improve the model and carry out comparisons with measurements,' Professor Kallio explains.

Aalto University has carried out Academy of Finland-funded research work for the entire span of Rosetta measurements starting in August 2014.

'One of the most interesting scientific results has been discovering how water found on the comet differed in its characteristics from that found on Earth. Our team was also surprised that the comet became active and created "a water source" at such an early stage far from the Sun,' Professor Kallio states.

Also read:

News item 23 January 2015: The Rosetta probe witnessed the awakening of the icy comet

News item 12 August 2015: The journey of the comet tracked by the Rosetta probe will come to its climax on 13th August

See the animation video

Further information:
Professor Esa Kallio
Aalto University
tel. +358 50 4205 857
[email protected]

Doctoral candidate Markku Alho
Aalto University
tel. +358 50 3837 805
[email protected]

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Read more news

The magnetic properties of a material can affect how it interacts with light.
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

A new optical metamaterial makes true one-way glass possible

Researchers have discovered how to make a new optical metamaterial that would underpin a variety of new technologies.
Mikko Alava ja kolme muuta tutkimusryhmän jäsentä kuvattuna teknisen laitteen äärellä.
Research & Art Published:

Significant grants for science from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

A total of thirty individuals and research groups from Aalto University received grants from the Finnish Cultural Foundation for science and art. Professors Harri Lipsanen and Zhipei Sun and their team, were awarded a large grant to develop electronic components mimicking the structure and function of the human brain. Among the grantees is also Professor Mikko Alava, whose team is developing water-resistant foams as substitutes for plastic using AI-based methods.
Photo
Research & Art Published:

Overview of Aalto's open access publications 2023

90 % of Aalto's scientific journal articles published in 2023 are available open access.
A group of 23 pose for a picture outside on a green hill with buildings in the background.
Research & Art Published:

Groundbreaking QRC-4-ESP project launched

Project aims to develop first quantum reservoir computing systems
with superconducting qubits and silicon carbide defect qubits