Cometary science at MPS. Research group comets and small bodies in the solar system.

Research Group "Small Bodies and Comets"

This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on August 3 2014 with the camera system OSIRIS on board the ESA Rosetta mission.

Small bodies in the solar system, like comets, asteroids and Transneptunian objects (TNOs), are remnants from the time of the formation of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Their study gives clues about the formation scenario, and the physical conditions and compositional environment in the early time, and helps to understand how the solar system evolved to its present state. We observe these objects with Earth-based telescopes and with remote and in situ sensing instruments from space to determine their physical properties and chemical composition. We participate in dedicated spacecraft missions visiting comets and asteroids to study their properties from a close distance and by taking gas, dust and surface samples.

Members of the research group participate in the NASA mission Dawn to asteroids Vesta und Ceres and in the ESA mission Rosetta to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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