Observations performed by the SESAME/Permittivity Probe during the descent and after the landing of Philae upon the nucleus of Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko

Abstract : The Permittivity Probe (PP), a component of the SESAME instrument on board Rosetta's Lander Philae, was operated prior to the separation of Philae from Rosetta, during the descent and at the location of the final landing site. The working principle of PP consists in measuring, with a receiving dipole, the voltage induced in the medium by a current of known phase and amplitude injected by a transmitting antenna. The primary objective of PP is to analyse the electrical properties of the comet surface material down to a depth of about 2 m, and to record their variations with temperature, solar illumination and heliocentric distance. These observations are particularly sensitive to the concentration of water ice at the landing site. The second objective of the instrument is to monitor the spectrum of the electromagnetic and electrostatic waves generated by the interaction between the comet and the solar wind at frequencies of up to 20 kHz. The measurements performed during the descent were mainly devoted to the calibration of the instrument in its nominal configuration, with deployed landing gear and away from the Rosetta spacecraft influence, in an environment of known permittivity, either a vacuum or a plasma whose density and temperature would have been derived from the LAP and MIP data. This approach is unfortunately invalidated owing to the fact the PP receiver was most of the time saturated by the operation of the CONSERT radar during the descent, an interference which seemed to have been minimized during in-flight interference tests, but which was significantly stronger after separation of Philae from Rosetta. Nevertheless, it was possible to recover some information about the instrument's transmitter and receiver performances then used during the analysis of the data measured on the cometary surface.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 17, 2015 - 3:20:13 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 15, 2019 - 3:20:13 PM

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  • HAL Id : insu-01143432, version 1

Citation

Walter Schmidt, Alice Le Gall, Michel Hamelin, Sylvain Caujolle-Bert, Anthony Lethuillier, et al.. Observations performed by the SESAME/Permittivity Probe during the descent and after the landing of Philae upon the nucleus of Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko. EGU General Assembly 2015, Apr 2015, Vienna, Austria. pp.EGU2015-4607. ⟨insu-01143432⟩

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