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Lander Instruments


The ~100 kg Rosetta Lander will be the first spacecraft ever to make a soft landing on the surface of a comet nucleus. The Lander is provided by a European consortium under the leadership of the German Aerospace Research Institute (DLR). Other members of the consortium are ESA, CNES and institutes from Austria, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and the UK.

The box-shaped Lander is carried in piggyback fashion on the side of the Orbiter until it arrives at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Once the Orbiter is aligned correctly, the ground station commands the Lander to self-eject from the main spacecraft and unfold its three legs, ready for a gentle touch down at the end of the ballistic descent. On landing, the legs damp out most of the kinetic energy to reduce the chance of bouncing, and they can rotate, lift or tilt to return the Lander to an upright position.

Immediately after touchdown, a harpoon is fired to anchor the Lander to the ground and prevent it escaping from the comet's extremely weak gravity. The minimum mission target for scientific observations is one week, but surface operations may continue for many months.

Lander Design

The Lander structure consists of a baseplate, an instrument platform, and a polygonal sandwich construction, all made of carbon fibre. Some of the instruments and subsystems are beneath a hood which is covered with solar cells. An antenna transmits data from the surface to Earth via the Orbiter.

The Lander Team

The Lander project managers are:

  • Dr Stephan Ulamec - DLR, Köln Porz-Wahn, Germany
  • Dr Philippe Gaudon - CNES, Toulouse, France
  • Dr Sylvie Espinasse - Italian Space Agency, Matera, Italy

Lead scientists for the Lander are:

  • Dr Hermann Böhnhardt - Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Bibring - Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris Sud, Orsay, France

Rosetta Lander Instruments


APXS Alpha-p-X-ray spectrometer G. Klingelhöfer
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität,
CIVA Panoramic and microscopic imaging system J-P. Bibring
Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale,
Université Paris Sud, Orsay,
CONSERT Radio sounding, nucleus tomography W. Kofman
Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble,
COSAC Evolved gas analyser - elemental and molecular composition F. Goesmann
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung,
Ptolemy Evolved gas analyser - isotopic composition I. Wright
Open University,
Milton Keynes,
MUPUS Measurements of surface and subsurface properties T. Spohn
Institut für Planetenforschung,
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt,
ROLIS Imaging S. Mottola
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt,
ROMAP Magnetometer and plasma monitor H-U. Auster
Technische Universität, Braunschweig,
I. Apáthy
SD2 Drilling and sample retrieval A. Ercoli-Finzi
Politecnico di Milano,
SESAME/CASSE Surface Electric Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiment / Comet Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment K. Seidensticker
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt,
Institute of Planetary Research, Asteroids and Comets,
(Also PI for the SESAME consortium)
SESAME/DIM Surface Electric Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiment / Dust Impact Monitor Harald Krüger
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung,
SESAME/PP Surface Electric Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiment / Permittivity Probe Walter Schmidt
Finnish Meteorological Institute,


Rosetta Lander Payload

The Lander experiments will study the composition and structure of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's nucleus.

The instruments are designed to:

  • Measure the elemental, molecular, mineralogical, and isotopic composition of the comet's surface and subsurface material
  • Measure characteristics of the nucleus such as near-surface strength, density, texture, porosity, ice phases and thermal properties; texture measurements will include microscopic studies of individual grains

The Lander also carries a Sampling Drilling and Distribution device (SD2), which will drill more than 20 cm into the surface, collect samples and deposit them in different ovens or deliver them for microscope inspection.

Last Update: 01 December 2015

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