Imperial College Rosetta Project Homepage
The Rosetta Mission is currently being prepared for launch
in 2003 by the European Space Agency (ESA). The spacecraft
is destined to rendezvous with Comet Wirtanen in 2011. As
the comet nears the Sun in 2013, Rosetta will watch dust and
vapour blowing from the small nucleus, to form the large head
and tail of the comet.
The role of Imperial College is to provide the Plasma Interface
Unit (PIU) as part of the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC).
Comets are believed to be the most primitive objects in the
Solar System, and are particularly interesting to scientists
because they hold many clues about our Sun and its planets.
Rosetta will study the cometary nucleus environment and its
evolution in the inner solar system. The spacecraft will land
a small probe (the Rosetta Lander) on the comet's surface.
The data expected from Rosetta will provide a vital insight
into the origins of the Solar System itself.
This page was last updated September 2002.