PI Update - March 2004
In the last week of February I traveled to French Guiana to watch ESA launch Rosetta. Regrettably, since Rosetta is not my primary project, the launch delay meant that I had to come home before the launch occurred. However, I did spend considerable time with the other scientists associated with the Rosetta mission and took away ideas for things to be done at our own launch campaign for Deep Impact. The Rosetta mission is a strong complement to Deep Impact. Rosetta will arrive at comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko with a lander and an orbiter in late 2014. The lander will conduct experiments on the surface for several weeks and the orbiter will watch the changing nature of the comet as it moves toward the sun, reaching perihelion a couple of years later. Rosetta is thus a much larger mission than Deep Impact. We expect, however, that our experience with Deep Impact in 2005 will provide valuable information to the Rosetta team for planning the landing on the comet, since we will provide the first information on the nature of the surface of a comet, estimating critical parameters like the strength and the porosity of the surface layers. We extend our congratulations to ESA on the launch of Rosetta and trust that our own launch will go as flawlessly.