Nine months after Rosetta’s descent on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko scientists from ESA (European space agency) and leading European institutes come together in Sofia to answer the question “After Rosetta mission do we understand better the way comet nuclei are formed in the protoplanetary disks?”.
This question is not arbitrary. Since its early stages cometary science studies cometary properties with the main goal of finding out the physical and chemical properties of the protoplanetary cloud that formed the Solar system bodies, such as comets, asteroids, planets and our home – the Earth, 4.56 billion years ago. For decades our knowledge was only built on Earth-based astronomical observations. A revolutionary change came with the appearance of the Halley’s comet in 1986, when a series of spacecraft made in-situ measurements and humankind first saw the nucleus of a comet. Afterwards plans for a new mission were made with the idea to send a space station to a comet, land an instrument on it and accompany the comet on its way to the Sun staying in orbit around its nucleus to track its activity. In 1993 the Rosetta project was approved – a spacecraft with 11 instruments on board and 10 on the Philae lander. The mission was launched on March 2nd, 2004 and ended on September 30, 2016.
More information about the spacecraft and its instruments can be found on the ESA website http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/. Crucial moments of the mission on its way to unique new science can be found on the Rosetta blog http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/.
The workshop will take place from 19 to 23rd of June in Sofia and is sponsored by Europlanet and the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics. Local organiser is the Institute of Astronomy at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. More details about the conference can be found on http://astro.bas.bg/comets2017/. Short information about the event is published on the ESA website http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/58865-comets-workshop-2017-comet-formation-paradigm-after-rosetta/.