Why are comets so interesting? Although comets seem quite insignificant in terms of mass compared to planets and satellites, they often look very impressive due to extended comas and extremely long tails of rarified dust and gas.
ESA’s comet chaser Rosetta is set for launch in February-March 2004, to reach its target comet ten years later.
On the way to the comet, Rosetta will pass two asteroids that can be observed in detail.
Today we do not know a lot about the comet by the nickname “Chury”, but relatively new information has been gathered in recent years, especially since the comet was chosen to be the new target for the Rosetta mission.
Our tiny corner of the universe – the Solar System – is home to one star, nine planets and dozens of planetary satellites. It also contains millions of asteroids and comets – the leftover debris from the cosmic construction site that created the planets and their moons.
To secure adequate preparation for the large future space research such as Bepi-Colombo and LISA, it is necessary to develop new technology. One such technology is an effective and reliable propulsion system for space probes.
A key element in ESA’s new policy in developing and constructing small satellites is to give more responsibility for the projects to the prime contractor and to the industrial teams though that obviously involves greater risks on the part of the contractors, thus less on the part of ESA.
An instrument combination with two components, D-CIXS (Demonstration of a Compact Imaging X-ray Spectrometer) and XSM (X-ray Solar Monitor), are designed to make measurements of X-rays from the Sun, the Moon, and also other celestial bodies during the whole SMART-1 mission.
Today, there is no, or very little, water in the atmosphere of Mars. However, it seems that there once was a lot of water on Mars. For example, studies of surface features suggest that there existed the equivalent of a several hundred meter deep water layer.
The global mean pressure on Martian surface is of the order of 7 mbar. Large spatial and seasonal variations occur due to surface altitude variations and the CO2 cycle between the polar caps and the atmosphere, causing the surface pressure to vary between about 5…13 mbar at extreme locations.