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Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA)

NSSDCA ID: 1999-003A-02

Mission Name: Stardust/NExT
Principal Investigator:Dr. Jochen Kissel


The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) is a space qualified time-of flight mass spectrometer designed to study the elemental and chemical composition of the particles in the coma of comet P/Wild 2. CIDA works on the principle that dust grains hitting a target will produce ionized particles which can be influenced by magnetic fields and whose mass can be analyzed based on the time it takes them to pass through an electrostatic reflector. It can measure a mass range from 1 to a few thousand atomic mass units and can handle impact velocities of 25-55 km/s, typical for interstellar material, to 6 km/s for cometary dust.

CIDA is body mounted on the side of the Stardust spacecraft. It consists of a silver target with an area of 100 square cm. Particles hit the target and the ions produced are accelerated by an electric field into a drift tube. The ions pass through an entrance grid to a single stage electrostatic ion reflector and then back out through a reflector ext grid to an open electron multiplier of 30 mm diameter sensitive surface area with amplifiers. The time-of-flight spectrum can be converted to a mass spectrum once two peaks are found to which well known mass numbers can be assigned. Mass resolution m/dm = 250, frequency of digitization is 80 MHz, split into two interleaved 40 MHz channels.

Alternate Names

  • CIDA
  • Stardust/CIDA
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:sdu.cida

Funding Agency

  • German Space Agency (Germany)


  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Jochen KisselLead InvestigatorMax-Planck-Institut fur Aeronomie

Selected References

  • Kissel, J., et al., Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer for comet Wild 2, J. Geophys. Res., 108, No. E10, 8114, doi:10.1029/2003JE002091, 2003.
  • Kissel, J., et al., The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer at comet 81P/Wild 2, Science, 304, No. 5678, 1774-1776, June 2004.
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