The main objective of ESA's Rosetta spacecraft is to rendezvous with, and enter orbit around, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and to perform observations of the comet's nucleus and coma. A lander probe (Philae) is transported piggyback on the Rosetta orbiter and expected to land on the comet’s surface. Rosetta was sucessfully launched on 2 March 2004 by an Ariane-5 G+ from Kourou, French Guiana. The rendezvous with the comet is expected in the year 2014.
Under the leadership of IWF Graz the atomic force microscope MIDAS was developed and built, in collaboration with Joanneum Research (Graz), Austrian Aerospace (Vienna), Austrian Research Centers Seibersdorf, the Space Science Department of ESA/ESTEC and the University Kassel. MIDAS will perform a micro-analysis of the texture and size of the smallest solid particles of the coma, with an accuracy of several nanometers.
In addition, IWF is participating in the instrument MUPUS, which investigates the physical properties of the cometary surface material, the mass spectrometer COSIMA for analysing the dust in the cometary coma and the magnetometers ROMAP and RPC-MAG.
Further information on Rosetta is found at ESA.