Millimeter and submillimeter measurements of asteroid (2867) Steins during the Rosetta fly-by

S. Gulkis, S. Keihm, L. Kamp, C. Backus, M. Janssen, S. Lee, B. Davidsson, G. Beaudin, N. Biver, D. Bockele-Morvan, J. Crovisier, P. Encrenaz, T. Encrenaz, P. Hartogh, M. Hofstadter, W. Ip, E. Lellouch, I. Mann, P. Schloerb, T. SpilkerM. Frerking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The European Space Agency Rosetta Spacecraft passed within 803 km of the main belt asteroid (2867) Steins on 5 September 2008. The Rosetta Spacecraft carries a number of scientific instruments including a millimeter and submillimeter radiometer and spectrometer. The instrument, named MIRO (Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter), consists of a 30-cm diameter, offset parabolic reflector telescope followed by two heterodyne receivers. Center-band operating frequencies of the receivers are near 190 GHz (1.6 mm) and 562 GHz (0.53 mm). Broadband continuum channels are implemented in both frequency bands for the measurement of near surface temperatures and temperature gradients. A 4096 channel CTS (chirp transform spectrometer) having 180 MHz total bandwidth and ∼44 kHz resolution is also connected to the submillimeter receiver. We present the continuum observations of asteroid (2867) Steins obtained during the fly-by with the MIRO instrument. Spectroscopic data were also collected during the fly-by using the MIRO spectrometer fixed-tuned to rotational lines of several molecules. Results of the spectroscopic investigation will be the topic of a separate publication. Comparative thermal models and radiative transfer calculations for Steins are presented. Emissivities of Steins were determined to be 0.60.7 and 0.850.9 at wavelengths of 0.53 and 1.6 mm, respectively. The thermal inertia of Steins was estimated to be in the range 450850 J/(m 2 s0.5 K). Assuming that the emissivity of Steins is determined by the Fresnel reflection coefficients of the surface material, the area-averaged dielectric constant of the surface material is in the range 420. These values are rock-like, and are unlike the powdered-regolith surface of the Moon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1087
Number of pages11
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Asteroid (2867) Steins
  • Millimeter and submillimeter radiometer/spectrometer
  • Rosetta spacecraft


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