ROMAP - Rosetta Magnetometer and Plasmamonitor onboard Philae

ROMAP - Rosetta Magnetometer and Plasmamonitor onboard Philae

ROMAP is one of the scientific instruments on board the ESA Rosetta lander Phiale and will observe the magnetic field and plasma environment on the nucleus surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

ROMAP is the combination of a magnetometer and plasma instrument with high temporal and spatial resolution.

Science Objectives:

ROMAP will be the first plasma and magnetometer instrument, which will be located on a cometary surface. In this unique constellation the following scientific question are addressed:
Do comet nuclei show a remanent residual magnetization?
What is the role of magnetic forces in the genesis of our solar system?
What is the interaction between outgassing comet, the comet surface regolith and the solar wind as a function of distance of the comet from the Sun?

The instrument:

The magnetic field is measured with a fluxgate magnetometer, commonly used both on Earth and in space missions  The challenge for the Rosetta Lander was the development an instrument that  can provide high-resolution data under extremely cold conditions (down to -150 ° C) with a minimal need for mass and power. The same applies to the olasma monitor, a combination of electrostatic analyzer for two ion channels up to 8 keV, an electron channel and a Faraday Cup.

These goals are realized through the integration of both sensors at the end of a 60cm long retractable rod or boom and through an electronic system that allows a processor-controlled and quick digitalisation of the analog signals.


Since the launch of Rosetta in 2004 and the subsequent testing of the instrument in the commission phase, ROMAP was checked and operated in regular time intervals,. ROMAP is tested again in mid-2014, shortly before the operation on the comet, and, after a 10-year journey, starts the cometary science operation of ROMAP aboard the Rosetta lander Philae. The MPS is interested mainly in the plasma data of the sensor, which was built and calibrated in our institute.

The Team:

ROMAP was proposed and built by a consortium headed by the ROMAP Pincipal Investigator U. Auster of the Technical University of Braunschweig (Germany) and I. Apathy, AEKI Budapest (Hungary) and by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Göttingen, Germany) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Graz Austria).

We especially thank the Rosetta Science Ground Segment at ESAC (Madrid, Spain), the Rosetta Mission Operations Centre at ESOC (Darmstadt, Germany), the Rosetta Project at ESTEC (Noordwijk, the Netherlands), the Rosetta Lander Philae center of the DLR (Cologne, Germany) and the CNES Philae Science Center (Toulouse, France) for their outstanding support, without which would not be the science of the Rosetta mission and the instrument ROMAP possible.

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