Small bodies and Rosetta group


 A current focus of the group is the analysis of images from the OSIRIS scientific cameras of the Rosetta mission. Current research topics are:

  • Surface features of the nucleus and their interrelation with comet activity
  • Properties of individually observed dust particles and implied information about the formation of the comet
  • Chemical homogeneity of the nucleus and processes in the innermost coma from analysis of gas emissions


Further research topics at ESAC are:

  • Detection of volatiles on asteroids and dwarf planet Ceres and their interpretation
  • Surface properties of asteroids and their evolution with time
  • Active asteroids
  • The DART and Hera missions and scientific aspects of planetary defence


Further work on meteors is described on a separate website:


The group is formed at ESAC by Michael Küppers, Sebastien Besse, Laurence O'Rourke, Björn Grieger, Julia Marin - Yaseli de la Parra ,  and Claudio Munoz-Crego

Some publications from the group:

Sensitivity of modelled cometary gas production on the properties of the surface layer of the nucleus

The ESA Hera Mission: Detailed Characterization of the DART Impact Outcome and of the Binary Asteroid (65803) Didymos

​​​​Mapping a duck: geological features and region definitions on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

MUSE observations of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A reference for future comet observations with MUSE

The Philae lander reveals low-strength primitive ice inside cometary boulders

Low Water Outgassing from (24) Themis and (65) Cybele: 3.1 μm Near-IR Spectral Implications

Quincuncial adaptive closed Kohonen (QuACK) map for the irregularly shaped comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Characterization of the Agilkia region through discrete-element simulation of Philae's rebound

Building mountains on Ceres

The search campaign to identify and image the Philae Lander on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The Mystery of Ceres' Activity

Dwarf planet Ceres and the ingredients of life

Localized sources of water vapour on the dwarf planet (1)Ceres

Herschel and IRAM-30 m observations of comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) at 4.5 AU from the Sun

Determination of an Upper Limit for the Water Outgassing Rate of Main-belt Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS)

Thermal and shape properties of asteroid (21) Lutetia from Herschel observations around the Rosetta flyby

Lutetia's lineaments

Boulders on Lutetia

On the Evolution of Comets

Large heterogeneities in comet 67P as revealed by active pits from sinkhole collapse

Activities in Europe related to the mitigation of the threat from near-Earth objects

The observing campaign on the deep-space debris WT1190F as a test case for short-warning NEO impacts

Distance determination method of dust particles using Rosetta OSIRIS NAC and WAC data

Identification of a primordial asteroid family constrains the original planetesimal population

NELIOTA: First temperature measurement of lunar impact flashes

Exogenous origin of hydration on asteroid (16) Psyche: the role of hydrated asteroid families

A Search for the Far-Infrared Ghost of C/2010 X1 (Elenin) with Herschel

Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) as seen with the Herschel Space Observatory