Giada: its Status after the Rosetta Cruise Phase and On-Ground Activity in Support of the Encounter with Comet 67P/CHURYUMOV-GERASIMENKO
GIADA (Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator) on-board the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was designed to study the physical and dynamical properties of dust particles ejected by the comet during the encounter. In this paper we report the results of the analysis of data collected by GIADA during the past seven years of the cruise phase. During this period the GIADA detection subsystems were switched on for periodic in-flight payload checkouts to monitor their state-of-health including potential changes in its performance that could affect its data collection. Only slight variations in sensitivity and dynamical range were identified that will not affect the GIADA measurement capability during the Rosetta comet encounter and rendezvous phase. The GIADA microbalance system detected the presence of low-volatility material over a period of about 169 days when the GIADA cover remained partially opened. It is highly probable that this material originated from the spacecraft itself, as a spacecraft's outgassing was observed by the ROSINA mass spectrometer (on-board Rosetta) during the cruise phase.The identification of the low-volatility mass deposited on the microbalances as self-contamination will allow us to evaluate the mass rate background to be subtracted from the GIADA science data. These results obtained from GIADA cruise data analysis coupled with laboratory calibration data obtained from measurements using the GIADA spare model for selected cometary dust analogs will be the basis for the interpretation of the GIADA scientific data.