First Results at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko With the Rosetta Plasma Consortium

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 2:55 PM
Jean-Pierre Lebreton1, Tom Broiles2, James L Burch2, Chris Carr3, Emanuele Cupido3, Anders I Eriksson4, Karl-Heinz Glassmeier5, Raymond Goldstein2, Pierre Henri1, Christoph Koenders5, Kathleen Mandt2, Pat Mokashi2, Zoltan Nemeth6, Hans Nilsson7, Ingo Richter5, Karoly Szego8, Claire Vallat9 and Daniel Winterhalter10, (1)Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement et de l'Espace, Orléans Cedex 2, France, (2)Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States, (3)Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom, (4)IRF Swedish Institute of Space Physics Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden, (5)Technical University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany, (6)Wigner Research Center for Physics, Budapest, Hungary, (7)IRF Swedish Institute of Space Physics Kiruna, Kiruna, Sweden, (8)Wigner Res. Inst. for Physics, Budapest, Hungary, (9)ESAC, Villanueva, Spain, (10)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
After more than ten years in space, in early August 2014, the Rosetta spacecraft is expected to be within 100 km of its target, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Though the comet is still in a state of relatively low-activity, its interaction with the solar wind causes plasma conditions different from standard solar wind characteristics. While Rosetta is still in the solar wind, the five plasma sensors of the Rosetta Plasma Consortium are currently investigating these cometary activity driven perturbations and plan to investigate, within the next few months, the close plasma environment of the comet. In this presentation, we show first observations and results obtained during the cometary approach phase and during the first orbits around the comet. Among the possible first signs of cometary activity that we shall discuss are distributions of pick-up ions possibly detectable by the Ion Composition Analyzer (RPC-ICA) and the Ion and Electron Sensor (RPC-IES), as well as ion cyclotron waves, generated by the pick-up process, which may be measured by the Fluxgate Magnetometer (RPC-MAG). Electron density and temperature measurements, and electric-field and waves measurements in the range from DC up to 3.5 MHz obtained by the Langmuir probes (RPC-LAP) and the Mutual Impedance Probe (RPC-MIP) will also be discussed.