Volume 512, March-April 2010
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Published online||02 April 2010|
An analysis of outgassing pressure forces on the Rosetta orbiter using realistic 3D+t coma simulations
Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo,
PO Box 1029 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway e-mail: email@example.com
2 Central Research Institute of Machine Building, Pionyerskaya St., 4, Korolev, Moscow region 141070, Russia
3 CNRS, LATMOS, BP 3, 91371 Verrières-le-Buisson Cedex, France
Accepted: 7 December 2009
A model for the interaction between a multicomponent Maxwellian atmosphere and a spacecraft is described. Multidimensional, time-dependent gasdynamical simulations of the gas coma around the recently reconstructed aspherical rotating nucleus of comet 67P/C-G is used to analyze the outgassing pressure forces on the ESA spacecraft Rosetta. The forces were in general found to be directed significantly away from the cometocentric position vector of the spacecraft. It was also found that in a maximum outgassing scenario at comet rendezvous, the outgassing pressure force exceeds the gravitational attraction from the nucleus in the cometocentric direction of the Sun. Furthermore, the highly non-spherical pressure field was found to undergo very large changes as the nucleus rotated. Still, it was possible to represent the mean pressure field experienced by Rosetta by a fairly simple model, which can be used for the determination of the comet mass and the so-called oblateness coefficient c20 from the spacecraft Doppler signal. The oblateness coefficient represents a type of asphericity of the gravity field. The determination of the so-called triaxiality coefficient of the gravity field c22 may require using the true pressure field instead of the mean pressure field.
Key words: celestial mechanics / hydrodynamics / space vehicles / comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
© ESO, 2010
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