MIRO (Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter) investigates the nature of the cometary nucleus, outgassing from the nucleus and development of the coma. It is predominantly looking for four molecules; water (H2O), carbon monoxide (CO), methanol (CH3OH) and ammonia (NH3). It will also attempt to identify the isotopes of oxygen in order to help determine the comet’s origins.
MIRO will sense the temperature of the comet nucleus from the surface to depths of several centimetres. This will help to answer questions relating to the behaviour of ices on comets and the formation of gas and dust jets. Coupled with measurements of the rate at which gas is ejected this will help determine the rate of heat conduction through the comet nucleus and give hints as to its structure.
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