Dr Matt Taylor from the European Space Agency (ESA) is Project Scientist for the pioneering Rosetta mission. Launched in 2004, Rosetta arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014. It is the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet, escort it as it orbits the Sun, and deploy a lander to its surface. The Philae lander has not been heard from since July 2015 but Rosetta is still in orbit around the comet and returning important scientific data as it moves away from the Sun. Matt is based at the ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. He has published 70 research papers in a career which, prior to Rosetta, focused on measurements of space plasma working in Europe and the USA on ESA’s four spacecraft Cluster mission and the ESA-China Double Star mission. This work has concentrated on the dynamics of energetic particles in near-Earth space and in the interaction of the Sun’s wind with the Earth’s magnetic field.
ROSETTA : LIVING WITH A COMET
It is one of the most recognisable space missions of the decade: the Rosetta Mission is the third cornerstone mission the ESA programme Horizon 2000. The aim of the mission is to map the comet 67-P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by remote sensing, to examine its environment in-situ, and the evolution of its activity as it moves through the inner solar system. Matt will provide a brief overview of the mission up to now and what is in store for the future.