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The plasma environment of a comet with Rosetta


Henri Pierre




Auteur(s) supplémentaire(s)on behalf of the Rosetta Plasma Consortium


The ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft reached its target comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in summer 2014, while it was at more than 3 A.U. from the Sun. From then, Rosetta has continuously monitored the cometary surface and its close environment (gas, dust and plasma). In summer 2015, a year after the arrival of Rosetta, Churyumov-Gerasimenko reached its perihelion, at 1.2 AU, while the maximum of the cometary activity has been observed. Its distance to the Sun is now increasing, until the end of mission planned in September 2016. 

Since the arrival of Rosetta, the different plasma sensors of the Rosetta Plasma Consortium has been continuously monitoring the plasma environment of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko: its structure, evolution and dynamics, as well as its interaction with the solar wind. 

After a summary of the key aspects of the Rosetta mission and an introduction on the cometary plasma and its interaction with the solar wind, I will review our current understanding of the plasma environment around comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko through the results obtained so far by the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC), by combining observations obtained from the different RPC sensors.  

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