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Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyzer (COSIMA)

NSSDCA ID: 2004-006A-07

Mission Name: Rosetta
Principal Investigator:Dr. Martin Hilchenbach


The Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyzer (COSIMA) on Rosetta is designed to trap dust particles and analyze them with a mass spectrometer. The primary scientific objectives are to: 1) determine the elemental and isotopic composition of key elements in solid cometary particles and the chemical states of the particles; 2) characterize the variation of the chemical and isotopic composition between individual particles; 3) investigate the variability of the composition of different comets by comparing to the results obtained from comet Halley; 4) look for the presence of an organic component that is not associated with a rocky phase; and 4) examine the molecular composition of the organic and inorganic phase of the solid cometary particles.

COSIMA consists of a target storage wheel which has 25 target groups that can be exposed to cometary dust and then brought to the instrument. The instrument consists of an ion gun and a time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometer. A microscope camera examines the target so the location of the dust samples can be determined. The ion gun is used to clean the samples and then used to remove secondary ions from the sample for analysis by the spectrometer.

Alternate Names

  • Rosetta/COSIMA
  • urn:esa:psa:context:instrument:ro.cosima

Funding Agency

  • European Space Agency (International)


  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Martin HilchenbachPrincipal InvestigatorMax-Planck-Institut fur

Selected References

  • Kissel, J., et al., Cosima High Resolution Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer for the Analysis of Cometary Dust Particles onboard Rosetta, Space Sci. Rev., 128, 823-867, doi:10.1007/s11214-006-9083-0, 2007.
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