Space Science Reviews

, Volume 128, Issue 1, pp 301-337

First online:

Sesame – An Experiment of the Rosetta Lander Philae: Objectives and General Design

  • K. J. SeidenstickerAffiliated withDLR, Institute of Space Simulation Email author 
  • , D. MöhlmannAffiliated withDLR, Institute of Space SimulationDLR, Institute of Planetary Research
  • , I. ApathyAffiliated withKFKI, Atomic Energy Research Institute
  • , W. SchmidtAffiliated withFMI, Space Research Division
  • , K. ThielAffiliated withDept. of Nuclear Chemistry, University of Cologne
  • , W. ArnoldAffiliated withFraunhofer-Institute for Non-Destructive Testing (IZFP)
  • , H.-H. FischerAffiliated withDept. of Nuclear Chemistry, University of Cologne
  • , M. KretschmerAffiliated withDLR, Institute of Space SimulationMax-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
  • , D. MadlenerAffiliated withDLR, Institute of Space SimulationI. Institute of Physics, University of Cologne
    • , A. PéterAffiliated withKFKI, Atomic Energy Research Institute
    • , R. TrautnerAffiliated withRSSD/SCI-SB, ESA/ESTEC
    • , S. SchiekeAffiliated withDLR, Institute of Space SimulationGE Inspection Technologies

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SESAME is an instrument complex built in international co-operation and carried by the Rosetta lander Philae intended to land on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014. The main goals of this instrument suite are to measure mechanical and electrical properties of the cometary surface and the shallow subsurface as well as of the particles emitted from the cometary surface. Most of the sensors are mounted within the six soles of the landing gear feet in order to provide good contact with or proximity to the cometary surface. The measuring principles, instrument designs, technical layout, operational concepts and the results from the first in-flight measurements are described. We conclude with comments on the consequences of the last minute change of the target comet and how to improve and to preserve the knowledge during the long-duration Rosetta mission.


space missions Rosetta cometary nuclei cometary surface cometary particles in-situ science