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Comet and Interstellar Dust Analyzer CIDA

Mass Spectrometer CIDA (37kB)
Stardust Mass Spectrometer CIDA

Stardust-Next passed successfully comet Tempel-1 on Tuesday, February 15, at 06:40 Finnish local time. CIDA analyzed about 40 cometary dust particles in detail.

After its successful flyby at comet Wild-2 with the return capsule sent safely back to Earth, the Stardust spacecraft was re-directed to rendevous with another comet. On Valentine's Day, February 14 2011 US-time, the spacecraft made its closest approach to comet Tempel-1, the target comet of the NASA Deep Impact mission. The main purpose of this now called "Stardust-NExT" mission was to take high resolution pictures of the impact crater and thereby helping to decide the still open question about the composition of the comet's surface material. During the Deep Impact mission the developed dust cloud had made it impossible to get clear enough images from the impact crater, leaving the details of the impact mechanism unclear. See the Stardust-NExT mission home page.

The German-Finnish mass-spectrometer, now under responsibility of the Finnish team, performed in-situ measurements of the dust particles still streaming out of the comet's surface. It registered about 20 impacts and sent the resulting mass-spectrograms to Earth, where they are now being analyzed in detail.

CIDA - Comet and Interstellar Dust Analyzer - is an instrument aboard NASA's Stardust spacecraft. Stardust was launched in February 1999. During its flyby of comet Wild 2 on January 2, 2004 it gathered cometary and interstellar dust samples, which was successfully returned to Earth on January 15, 2006. In addition cometary and interstellar dust was studied in real time by CIDA, which is a time-of-flight mass spectrometer, in principle the same instrument as PIA on GIOTTO and PUMA on VEGA missions to comet Halley. The results will be compared with the information gained from the analysis of the returned dust samples. Images from the Flyby of Wild-2 are available from the NASA webpage

CIDA instrument is contributed by Germany and has been fabricated by von Hoerner & Sulger, GmbH under contract by the German Space Agency, DARA and serves as a prototype for COSIMA instrument, which is a part of ESA's mission. The software of CIDA is developed by Finnish Meteorological Institute. Design details and laboratory spectra can be found here.


CIDA was also one of NASA's Contour mission instruments, which was lost in space in the initial phase of its mission.

The first particle analysis from 2005 is shown here. First analysis of the newest samples from Tempel-1 show mainly light ionized molecules like CH-, CH2-, CN-,and Cl- and others.

For more information, please contact

, tel. 358 9 1929 4661  or

Walter Schmidt, tel. 358 9 1929 4658

Stardust Spacecraft

The Stardust mission continued with the project name Stardust-NExT (New Exploration of Tempel). The instrument responsibility of the mass spectrometer CIDA moved from the Max-Planck-Institute in Germany to FMI in Finland, as the original Principal Investigator Jochen Kissel reached his retirement age.

Images from the flyby can be found on the NASA/JPL news page and the NASA mission page for Stardust-NExT

Stardust-NExT (101kB)
NASA Stardust-NExT Satellite

Closest Approach to Tempel-1

Closest Approach to Tempel-1
Closest Approach to Tempel-1