UK Rosetta Media Briefing
Rosetta – rendezvous with a new cometary target
Thursday 19th February 2004
Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London
10.30 am – 2.00 pm including lunch
The European Space Agency's pioneering Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is scheduled for launch from Europe's spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, on February 26th 2004 (0716 GMT).
Members of the media are cordially invited to attend a pre-launch press briefing at the The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y on Thursday 19th February commencing at 10.30 a.m.
The briefing by UK scientists, industrialists and representatives from ESA and PPARC will provide an insight into the mission, its new target, its scientific objectives and the UK's contribution.
10.00 a.m. Registration and coffee
10.30 a.m. Science presentations
11.30 a.m. Q and A's
11.45 a.m. Interview Opportunities
12.00 p.m. Lunch
14.00 p.m. End of briefing
Professor Richard Wade, Director of Programmes
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science and Innovation
Setting the context – Europe in Space
Professor David Southwood, Director of Science
European Space Agency
Dr Gerhard Schwehm, ESA Rosetta Project Scientist tbc
UK science involvement in Rosetta
Dr Ian Wright, Open University
(Principal Investigator PTOLEMY experiment)
Dr Chris Carr, Imperial College London
(Joint Principal Investigator, Rosetta Plasma Consortium)
UK industrial involvement in Rosetta
Dr Mike Healy, EADS Astrium,
Director of Earth Observation, Navigation and Science
In addition a number other scientists and industrialists will be available for interview and comment. A full list will be provided in the press pack.
To confirm your attendance please contact Gill Ormrod in the PPARC press office.
A map of how to find the Royal Society can be found at:-
Closest underground station is Piccadilly Circus
A Video News Release and press pack will be available on the day.
There will be a model of the Rosetta spacecraft plus various background displays.
Rosetta was originally intended to rendezvous with comet 46P/Wirtanen, but, after the launch was delayed in January 2003, the target was changed to another regular visitor to the inner Solar System, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
To study the origin of comets, the relationship between interstellar material and and its implications with regard to the origin of the Solar System. The measurements to be made to achieve this are:
Global characterisation of the nucleus, determination of dynamic properties, surface morphology and composition;
Determination of the chemical, mineralogical and isotopic compositions of volatiles and refractories in a cometary nucleus;
Determination of the physical properties and interrelation of volatiles and refractories in a cometary nucleus;
Study of the development of cometary activity and the processes in the surface layer of the nucleus and the inner coma (dust/gas interaction);
Global characterisation of asteroids, including determination of dynamic properties, surface morphology and composition.
Launch and Flight:
The nominal date for launch of Rosetta is 26th February 2004 (07:16 GMT). The launch window runs from 26th February until 17th March. Rosetta will be launched on an Ariane 5 from Kourou in French Guiana. Under the revised flight plan Rosetta will make one flyby of Mars and three flybys of Earth before landing on the comet in November 2014.
UK Science Involvement:
The UK has instruments on both the orbiter and lander, with involvement from several university groups. In particular, the PTOLEMY experiment onboard the lander, for which the Open University has Principal Investigator Status, will decipher the complex interacting chemistry of light elements in the comet. Imperial College London is one of the six Principal Investigator groups within the Rosetta Science Plasma Consortium (RPC) group of instruments on the orbiter, providing the hardware that interfaces the plasma sensors with the spacecraft. RPC will study the plasma environment of the comet, particularly the interaction of the plasma with the dust and gas materials ejected.
Other institutes involved are:-
Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL)
Queen Mary University of London
University of Sheffield
University of Wales
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
UK industrial involvement:
Several UK industrial companies have supplied critical components, assemblies and software for the Rosetta spacecraft including Astrium (orbit control and propulsion), Logica (onboard software autonomy), SciSys (satellite control and operations system).
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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