COSIMA catches first cometary dust grains
Image of the first dust grains collected by COSIMA when Rosetta was at a distance of less than 100 km from the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Left: an image of one of COSIMA's 24 target plates (each measuring 1 cm by 1 cm) on which the grains were collected; right: a section of the plate showing the state on 17 August 2014 (top) when no dust grains were visible and 24 August 2014 (bottom) when some large dust grains were first detected.
The plate is illuminated from the right by LEDs and the length of the shadows is proportional to the height of the dust grains. The resolution of the image is 14 microns per pixel. A first examination of the plate indicates that the largest two grains are about 50 microns and 70 microns in width, comparable to the width of a human hair.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for COSIMA Team MPS/CSNSM/UNIBW/TUORLA/IWF/IAS/ESA/BUW/MPE/LPC2E/LCM/FMI/UTU/LISA/UOFC/vH&S