The Comet Interceptor Mission, by Prof Geraint Jones – ONLINE
March 8, 2021 @ 7:15 pm
In 2019, the European Space Agency selected its latest planetary mission: the three-spacecraft Comet Interceptor. The project’s primary goal after launch in 2029 is to characterise, for the first time, a long-period comet, preferably approaching the Sun for the first time. This planned flyby promises to provide us with valuable data to complement information gathered by all previous comet missions; all past projects have studied comets that have been altered by passing near the Sun many times. The mission will comprise a main spacecraft and two smaller probes, one of which will be provided by the Japanese space agency, JAXA. We’ll explore the challenges of planning a mission to an unknown target, how our comet target is to be selected, and the exciting measurements that the mission team plan to make. The mission website is at www.cometinterceptor.space.
Prof. Geraint Jones is head of the Planetary Science Group at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory. After earning a degree in Astronomy at UCL, and PhD at UCL-MSSL, he worked at Imperial College London, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. His research interests cover planetary science and the solar wind, including ground-based observations and space instrumentation. Jones’s mission involvement includes Cassini-Huygens, Rosetta, and Solar Orbiter, and the future JUICE and ExoMars 2022 Rosalind Franklin projects. He is the mission Principal Investigator of the ESA Comet Interceptor mission.
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