Thomas, N., Davidsson, B. J. R., Jorda, L., Khurt, E., Marschall, R., Snodgrass, C., Rodrigo, R. (2020). Editorial to the Topical Collection: Comets: Post 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Perspectives. Space Science Reviews, 216, 6 DOI: 10.1007/s11214-020-00727-1
The Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was one of the major highlights in space science over the past decade. Orbiting a cometary nucleus for 2 years and monitoring its activity was a remarkable achievement after more than 20 years of work. The experiment suite onboard Rosetta and its lander element, Philae, was designed to make a detailed analysis of the nucleus and the innermost coma. Given that our knowledge of comets at the time of selection and implementation was restricted to data acquired during fast fly-bys, it was inevitable that the mission would produce both remarkable new scientific results but also would provide data analysis challenges and reveal inadequacies in our initial concept for the mission.
While many of the early publications from Rosetta focused on the results from individual instruments, it was clear that the Rosetta/Philae suite could provide a great deal of new science by exploiting synergies between the data products of different instruments. With this in mind, a proposal was made to the EU Horizon 2020 programme called MiARD (Multi-instrument Analysis of Rosetta Data), which aimed at pulling several data sets together to constrain the physical processes evident on the nucleus and in the coma. For programmatic reasons, it was necessary to start the MiARD programme earlier than was perhaps ideal with the instrument teams still actively calibrating and publishing. Nonetheless, the MiARD project produced a series of high quality papers that exceeded its target.
The final element of MiARD was the preparation and execution of a workshop that was held at the International Space Sciences Institute (ISSI) in Bern from 15-19 January, 2018. As is customary for ISSI, it extended participation to include a limited number of scientists (up to the limit that could be supported by ISSI) from outside the MiARD project group. This collection of papers is the result of that workshop of the papers presented and of the subsequent discussions.
The aim was to look at several aspects of the nucleus and innermost coma in a multi-disciplinary way but also including links to previous observations of comets and taking a look into the implications for future missions. These were itemized as