The prime scientific goal of this mission is to seek the origin of comets. Did they form within our solar system or outside of it, in interstellar space? To find these answers, Rosetta scientists are using the scientific instruments onboard to learn as much as they can about comet C-G. They will:
- Create a portrait of the comet’s nucleus—its shape and dynamic properties.
- Take a complete inventory of the comet’s chemical, mineralogical, and isotopic composition.
- Detail the comet’s physical properties and show how its volatiles and refractories interact
- Show how the coma emerges from the surface of the nucleus, and develops different layers of activity as it grows in the solar wind.
- Explain the comet’s origin — where it was formed, the relationship of its materials to those found in interstellar space, and whether or not it witnessed the formation of our solar system.
- Create portraits of two asteroids—their shape, composition, and dynamic properties.