VIRTIS: Visible infrared thermal imaging spectrometer for the rosetta mission

Francis Reininger, A. Coradini, F. Capaccioni, M. Capria, P. Cerroni, M. De Sanctis, G. Magni, P. Drossart, M. Barucci, D. Bockelee-Morvan, J. Combes, J. Crovisier, T. Encrenaz, J. Reess, A. Semery, D. Tiphene, G. Arnold, U. Carsenty, H. Michaelis, S. MottolaG. Neukum, G. Peter, U. Schade, F. Taylor, S. Calcutt, T. Vellacott, P. Venters, R. Watkins, G. Bellucci, V. Formisano, F. Angrilli, G. Bianchini, B. Saggin, E. Bussoletti, L. Colangeli, V. Mennella, S. Fonti, J. Bibring, Y. Langevin, B. Schmitt, M. Combi, U. Fink, T. McCord, W. Ip, R. Carlson, E. Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The Visible Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) is one of the principal payloads to be launched in 2003 on ESA's Rosetta spacecraft. Its primary scientific objectives are to map the surface of the comet Wirtanen, monitor its temperature, and identify the solids and gaseous species on the nucleus and in the coma. VIRTIS will also collect data on two asteroids, one of which has been identified as Mimistrobell. The data is collected remotely using a mapping spectrometer co-boresighted with a high spectral resolution spectrometer. The mapper consists of a Shafer telescope matched to an Offner grating spectrometer capable of gathering high spatial, medium spectral resolution image cubes in the 0.25 to 5μm waveband. The high spectral resolution spectrometer uses an echelle grating and a cross dispersing prism to achieve resolving powers of 1200 to 3000 in the 1.9 to 5μm band. Both sub-systems are passively cooled to 130 K and use two Sterling cycle coolers to enable two HgCdTe detector arrays to operate at 70 K. The mapper also uses a silicon back-side illuminated detector array to cover the ultra-violet to near-infrared optical band.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-77
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 13 Nov 1996
EventImaging Spectrometry II 1996 - Denver, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 19969 Aug 1996


  • Asteroid
  • Comet
  • Echelle Grating
  • Imaging Spectrometer
  • Infrared Instrument
  • Planetary Remote Sensing


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