EGU21-14541, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The challenges of  the Dust-Field-Plasma  (DFP) instrument onboard ESA  Comet Interceptor mission 

Jędrzej Baran1, Hanna Rothkaehl1, Nicolas Andre2, Uli Auster3, Vincenzo Della Corte4, Niklas Edberg5, Marina Galand6, Pierre Henri7, Johan De Keyser8, Ivana Kolmasova9, Marek Morawski1, Hans Nilsson10, Lubomir Prech11, and Martin Volwerk12
Jędrzej Baran et al.
  • 1Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN, Poland (
  • 2RAP/CNRS, PEPS, Toulouse, France
  • 3IGeP TUB, Germany
  • 4INAF-IAPS, Italy
  • 5Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala
  • 6IC, United Kingdom
  • 7Lagrange, OCA, UCA, CNRS, Nice, France and (ii) LPC2E, CNRS, Orléans, France
  • 8BIRA, Belgium
  • 9IAP, Czech Republic
  • 10Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna
  • 11Charles University, Czech Republic
  • 12IWF Austria

The flyby of a dynamically new comet by ESA-F1 Comet Interceptor spacecraft offers unique multi-point opportunities for studying the comet's dusty and ionised cometary  environment in ways that were not possible with previous missions, including Rosetta. As Comet Interceptor is an F-class mission, the payload is limited in terms of mass, power, and heritage. Most in situ science sensors therefore have been tightly integrated into a single Dust-Field-Plasma (DFP) instrument on the main spacecraft A and on the ESA sub-spacecraft B2, while there is a Plasma Package suite on the JAXA second sub-spacecraft B1. The advantage of tight integration is an important reduction of mass, power, and especially complexity, by keeping the electrical and data interfaces of the sensors internal to the DFP instrument.

The full diagnostics located on the board of the 3 spacecrafts will allow  to modeling the comet environment and described the complex physical processes around the comet and on their surface including also the  description of wave particle  interaction in dusty cometary plasma. 

The full set of DFP instrument on  board the Comet Interceptor  spacecraft will allow to model  the comet plasma environment and its interaction with the solar wind. It will also allow to describe the complex physical processes taking place including wave particle  interaction in dusty cometary plasma . 

On spacecraft A, DFP consists of a magnetometer, a Langmuir and multi impedance probe/electric field instrument, an ion and an electron analyzer, a dust sensor, and a central data processing unit and electronics box. On spacecraft B2, the instrumentation is limited to a magnetometer and a dust sensor. The choice of sensors and their capabilities are such that it maximizes synergies and complementarities. 

To give one example: While the dust instrument aims at establishing the dust spectrum for millimeter to micrometer sized particles, the Langmuir probes aided by the data processing unit will analyze the signatures of micrometer to nanometer sized particles.

Moreover, unique multi-point measurements will be obtained from magnetometers on the three spacecraft, from dust sensors on A and B2, and from ion measurements on A and B1.

The tight integration of dust-field-plasma sensor hardware and science targets embodied by DFP promises an optimized science return for the available resources.

How to cite: Baran, J., Rothkaehl, H., Andre, N., Auster, U., Della Corte, V., Edberg, N., Galand, M., Henri, P., De Keyser, J., Kolmasova, I., Morawski, M., Nilsson, H., Prech, L., and Volwerk, M.: The challenges of  the Dust-Field-Plasma  (DFP) instrument onboard ESA  Comet Interceptor mission , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14541,, 2021.

Display materials

Display file

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion