Laboratory calibration of the Cassini Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) using new, low density projectiles

Goldsworthy, B.J.; Burchell, M.J.; Cole, M.J.; Green, S.F.; Leese, M.R.; McBride, N.; McDonnell, J.A.M.; Muller, M.; Grun, E.; Srama, R.; Armes, S.P. and Khan, M.A. (2002). Laboratory calibration of the Cassini Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) using new, low density projectiles. Advances in Space Research, 29(8) pp. 1139–1144.



The Cassini Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA), developed from the Galileo and Ulysses dust instruments with the addition of a Chemical Analyser, is currently travelling outward from the Earth (collecting data from March 1999 onward) to the Saturnian system (arrival 2004) via Jupiter. The Chemical Analyser will provide information on the elemental composition of impacting micrometeoroids through impact ionisation, time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

A rigorous calibration programme primarily focussed upon the Chemical Analyser is in progress at the University of Kent at Canterbury. A 2-MV Van de Graaff electrostatic accelerator and CDA laboratory model are used to simulate impacts. Acceleration of revolutionary low density, polymer dust particles has enabled an insight into the response of CDA to molecularly bonded material with increasing event velocity. These conducting polymer coated polystyrene latex particles represent significantly better analogues for carbonaceous cosmic grains than more traditionally accelerated projectiles (e.g. iron) and have enabled complex organic spectra to be produced in the laboratory. The current status of an ongoing programme is reported. Three samples are presented, two polypyrrole coated latexes of differing size and one PEDOT-coated latex sample.

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