Rosetta is ESA's new comet orbiter mission, launched in March 2004 and currently en route to Jupiter-family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The probe will rendezvous with the comet in 2014 and remain in orbit around the nucleus for on-going detailed physical and compositional analysis. Pre-encounter observations of the target are important for characterization of the heliocentric light-curve behaviour and the physical properties of the nucleus, information that is critical for mission planning. The nucleus was first characterized using HST observations in 2003 (Lamy et al. 2006) and observed directly in May 2005 by ground based telescopes (Lowry et al. 2006) when it was at 5.6 AU from the Sun. An extensive database of nucleus observations have since been acquired, not only from large ground-based telescopes like the ESO VLT (Tubiana et al. 2008 & 2011), but also from Spitzer (Kelley et al. 2006 & 2009; Lamy et al. 2008).
|Publication status||Published - 01 Oct 2011|