Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 15, EPSC2021-399, 2021
European Planetary Science Congress 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Dust, Field and Plasma instrument onboard ESA’s Comet Interceptor  mission 

Hanna Rothkaehl1, Nicolas Andre2, Uli Auster3, vincenzo Della Corte4, Niklas Edberg5, Marina Galand6, Pierre Henri7, Johan De Keyser8, Ivana Kolmasova9, Marek Morawski10, Hans Nilsson11, Lubomir Prech12, Martin Volwerk13, Charlotte Goetz14, Herbert Gunell15, Benoit Lavraud16, Alessandra Rotundi17, and Jan Soucek18
Hanna Rothkaehl et al.
  • 1Space Research Centre Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland (
  • 2RAP/CNRS, PEPS, Toulouse, France
  • 3IGeP TUB, Germany
  • 4INAF-IAPS, Italy
  • 5Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala
  • 6Department of Physics, Imperial College London, UK
  • 7Lagrange, OCA, UCA, CNRS, Nice, France and (ii) LPC2E, CNRS, Orléans, France
  • 8BIRA, Belgium
  • 9IAP, Czech Republic
  • 10Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN Warszawa, Poland
  • 11Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden
  • 12Charles University, Czech Republic
  • 13IWF/ÖAW, Austria
  • 14ESTEC, European Space Agency
  • 15Department of Physics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  • 16Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France
  • 17Univ Parthenope di Napoli
  • 18IAP, Czech Republic

The main goal of ESA’s F-1 class Comet Interceptor mission is to characterise, for the first time, a long period comet; preferably a dynamically-new or an interstellar object. The main spacecraft, will have its trajectory outside of the inner coma, whereas two sub-spacecrafts will be targeted inside the inner coma, closer to the nucleus. The flyby of such a comet  will offer unique multipoint measurement opportunity to study the comet's dusty and ionised environment in ways exceeding that of the previous cometary missions, including Rosetta.
The Dust Field and Plasma (DFP) instruments located on both the main spacecraft A and on the sub-spacecraft B2, is a combined experiment dedicated to the in situ, multi-point study of the multi-phased ionized and dusty environment in the coma of the target and  its interaction with the surrounding space environment and the Sun.
The DFP instruments will be present in different configurations on the Comet Interceptor spacecraft A and B2. To enable the measurements on spacecraft A, the DFP is composed of 5 sensors; Fluxgate magnetometer DFP-FGM-A, Plasma instrument with nanodust and E-field measurements capabilities DFP-COMPLIMENT, Electron spectrometer DFP-LEES, Ion and energetic neutrals spectrometer DFP-SCIENA  and Dust detector DFP-DISC. On board of spacecraft B2 the DFP is composed of 2 sensors: Fluxgate magnetometer DFP-FGM-B2 and Cometary dust detector DFP-DISC.
The DFP instrument will measure magnetic field, the electric field, plasma parameters (density, temperature, speed), the distribution functions of electrons, ions and energetic neutrals, spacecraft potential, mass, number and spatial density of cometary dust particles and the dust impacts.  
The full set of DFP sensors 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 including wave particle interaction in dusty cometary plasma.


How to cite: 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., Volwerk, M., Goetz, C., Gunell, H., Lavraud, B., Rotundi, A., and Soucek, J.: Dust, Field and Plasma instrument onboard ESA’s Comet Interceptor  mission , European Planetary Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-399,, 2021.