On 2 March 2004 ESA's spacecraft Rosetta was launched from Kourou in French Guiana on an Ariane-5 G+ rocket. Its final destination was comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
After a ten-year flight through space Rosetta managed, for the first time ever, a rendezvous with a comet. On 6 August 2014 the spacecraft was put into an orbit around the comet, to escort it on its path to perihelion and beyond. During Rosetta's mission spectacular images of the comet were taken and new knowledge was obtained about the origin of our solar system.
On 12 November 2014 Rosetta made history again by putting the lander unit Philae onto the surface of the comet.
On 30 September 2016 Rosetta's mission was ended by a controlled crash of the spacecraft onto the comet's surface.
IWF Graz was the lead in the development of the atomic force microscope MIDAS, an instrument that can analyze the micro-texture and the sizes of dust grains in the coma, with a precision of several nanometers. IWF was also involved in the development of MUPUS, which studied the physical properties of the cometary surface; the mass-spectrometer COSIMA, which studied the dust in the coma; and the magnetometers ROMAP and RPC-MAG.
Further information about the Rosetta mission can be found at ESA.