COSAC Onboard Rosetta: A Bioastronomy Experiment for the Short-Period Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
The COSAC (Cometary Sampling and Composition Experiment) onboard the Rosetta mission is a combined gas chromatograph (GC)-mass spectrometer (MS). It is situated on Philae, the lander of the mission, which is intended to land on the nucleus of comet 67/PChuryumov- Gerasimenko. The purpose of the experiment is to analyze the volatile fraction of soil samples retrieved by a drill. For investigation, the samples will be pyrolysed, and the emanating gases fed into a GC, into an MS, or the combination of both. In the first part of this paper, the bioastronomical relevance of such measurements is outlined. In the second part the details of the hardware and its performance are described.