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A new magnetic field model for the environment of comets



Prime contractor
Organisational Unit
23 May 2024

Duration: 36 months


Cometary tails are spectacular phenoma visible from Earth, but the structure of the near-comet-nucleus environment can only be studied by spacecraft visiting comets. The next relevant ESA mission, Comet Interceptor, will, for the first time, aim to provide information on the 3D structure of the environment to investigate energy and momentum transfer between the solar wind and the cometary plasma. However, the data rate and operation times are severely constrained by power availability and other spacecraft restrictions. It is therefore necessary to have as accurate a model of the environment as possible to prepare optimum operations of the instruments onboard. This project will focus on providing a global, updated model of the magnetic field structure at comets. It aims to provide predictions for a variety of parameters, such as gas production rate to account for the fact that the Comet Interceptor is yet unknown. The Rosetta mission dataset will serve as the main basis of the model and machine learning and analytical techniques will be used.

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A new magnetic field model for the environment of comets