Optical Periscopic Imager for Comets (OPIC)

Comet Interceptor mission

OPIC is an instrument for the Comet Interceptor ESA F-class mission. The mission’s goal is to visit a dynamically new object, entering the inner solar system for the first time to explore such object for the first time during mankind’s history. The mission consists of three spacecraft: spacecraft A, spacecraft B1 (from ESA), and spacecraft B2 (from JAXA). B1 and B2 spacecraft will separate from A before the encounter and travel closer to the nucleus (baseline around 400 km closest distance).

In this video we are depicting views from A and B2 spacecraft during interception.

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Possible targets

Our main target will be a dynamically new comet. Should a situation arise where visiting primary targets becomes infeasible, we will target a regular asteroid or comet. Our ideal target is an interstellar target.

The instrument

OPIC is a monochrome periscopic camera.
The instrument is a specialized camera on the B2 spacecraft to take images of the nucleus and the dust around it. As subspacecraft B2 will be spinning, the image of the nucleus will rotate on the camera frame.

OPIC will be postitioned to face the comet nucleus.

Expected datastream

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The instrument is being built in Tartu Observatory, University of Tartu and most hardware developments will take place in Tartu Observatory. OPIC’s Principal Investigator is Dr. Mihkel Pajusalu. Some B2 related activities, mainly relating to science and data processing will be carried out in Aalto University, Finland, under supervision of Dr. Andris Slavinskis.