Can Rosetta IES Measure Charged Dust Grains at Comet 67P/C-G?

Thursday, 18 December 2014
George B Clark1,2, Craig J Pollock2, Raymond Goldstein3, Marilia Samara2, Thomas W Broiles3, Kathleen Mandt4, James L Burch4 and Zoltan Sternovsky5, (1)Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, United States, (4)Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States, (5)Colorado Univ, Boulder, CO, United States
Comet 67P/C-G provides us with a natural laboratory to study the many open questions pertaining to dust-plasma interactions. The Rosetta spacecraft will follow Comet 67P/C-G along its trajectory through the inner solar system, giving us an unprecedented view of this dusty plasma environment. On board Rosetta is an Ion and Electron Sensor (IES) intended to measure plasma ions and electrons between ~4 eV/q and 22 keV/q. However, it is also speculated whether IES can measure charged dust grains with the correct energy-per-charge (E/q). Preliminary results [Skego et al., 2014] show that some dust grains originating from the comet and then becoming charged, likely possess the correct E/q for IES detection. However, until now, the question of microchannel plate (MCP) detection system effectiveness/efficiency in detecting these grains has been neglected. Lacking experimental results, we use current MCP models to explore the detection efficiencies of Rosetta IES to charged dust grains. We present our results, estimate fluxes, and provide a strong case for future experimental work in this field.