Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will make a closest proceed to a Sun on 13 Aug and Rosetta has been examination a activity boost over a final year. Continuing a investigate of a comet in a year following perihelion will give scientists a fuller design of how a comet’s activity waxes and wanes along a orbit.
The additional observations collected by Rosetta will also yield additional context for interrelated Earth-based observations of a comet. At present, a comet is tighten to a line-of-sight to a Sun, creation ground-based observations difficult.
As a activity diminishes post-perihelion, it should be probable to pierce a orbiter many closer to a comet’s iota again, to make a minute consult of changes in a comet’s properties during a brief ‘summer’.
In addition, there might be an event to make a decisive visible marker of Philae. Although possibilities have been seen in images acquired from a stretch of 20 km, images taken from 10 km or reduction after perihelion could yield a many constrained confirmation.
During a extended mission, a group will use a knowledge gained in handling Rosetta in a severe cometary sourroundings to lift out some new and potentially somewhat riskier investigations, including flights opposite a night-side of a comet to observe a plasma, dust, and gas interactions in this region, and to collect dirt samples ejected tighten to a nucleus.
As a comet recedes from a Sun, a solar-powered booster will no longer accept adequate object to work well and safely, homogeneous to a conditions in Jun 2011 when a booster was put into hibernation for 31 months for a many apart leg of a tour out towards a circuit of Jupiter.
In addition, Rosetta and a comet will again be tighten to a Sun as seen from a Earth in Oct 2016, creation operations formidable by then.
However, with Rosetta’s diesel mostly depleted by that time, it creates small clarity to place a booster in hibernation again.