Publications and downloads

Peer-reviewed papers from the MiARD project

    1. Jean-Baptiste Vincent and colleagues have published the article Constraints on cometary surface evolution derived from a statistical analysis of 67P’s topography  in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    2. Raphael Marschall and colleagues have had the article Cliffs versus plains: Can ROSINA/COPS and OSIRIS data of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in autumn 2014 constrain inhomogeneous outgassing? accepted by Astronomy and Astrophysics in July 2017
    3. Nilda Oklay’s paper ‘Long term survival of surface water ice on comet 67P‘ was published by MNRAS in September 2017.
    4. In November 2017, Frank Preusker and colleagues have published a greatly improved shape model of comet 67P (coverage and resolution) The global meter-level shape model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
    5. Tensile Strength of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Nucleus Material from Overhangs accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics in December 2017
    6. Thermal fracturing on comets. Applications to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics in November 2017.
    7. On deviations from free-radial outflow in the inner coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, by PhD student Selina-Barbara Gerig from the University of Bern, and other authors.
    8.  “Thermal inertia and roughness of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from MIRO and VIRTIS observations” has been published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, first author was the PhD student David Marshall.
    9. The manuscript “Regional unit definition for the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on the SHAP7 model” by Prof. Nicolas Thomas and members of the OSIRIS instrument team has been accepted by Planetary and Space Science (in press as of 31st August 2018)
    10. Gas flow in near surface comet like porous structures: application to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko” by Kokou Dadzie, Chariton Christou and other project members has been accepted for publication in the journal Planetary and Space Science.
    11. On the interpretation of heliocentric water production rate curves of comets” by David Marshall et al, Astronomy and Astrophysics, March 2019.
    12. Constraining models of activity on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with Rosetta trajectory, rotation and water production measurements” by Nicholas Attree et al, Astronomy & Astrophysics January 2019
    13. “A comparison of multiple Rosetta data sets and 3D model calculations of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko coma around equinox” by Raphael Marschall et al  Icarus, August 2019.

Publications from the project in a topical collection of Space Science Reviews (also to be available in 2019 as a collection in a book from the Space Sciences Series of ISSI ):

    1. The thermal, mechanical, structural, and dielectric properties of cometary nuclei after Rosetta. Olivier Groussin et al
    2. Surface morphology of comets and associated evolutionary processes: A review of Rosetta’s observations of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Mohamed RamyEl Maary et al.
    3. Local manifestations of cometary activity. Jean-Baptiste Vincent et al.
    4. Comet 67P/CG nucleus composition and comparison to other comets. Gianrico Filacchone et al.

PhD theses including work from the project

Inner gas and dust comae of comets: Building a 3D simulation pipeline to understand multi-instrument results from the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (2017, University of Bern) by Raphael Marschall.

Selected posters and conference presentations

Yann Brouet and colleagues from the University of Bern and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) prepared a poster on modelling the ‘brightness temperature’ of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is an important step in the MiARD project’s attempts to link observations of the comet to numerical models of its activity. The poster summarises attempts to reproduce microwave emissions measured by the MIRO instrument on the Rosetta spacecraft, and was presented at the February 2017 workshop on ‘Remote Sensing of Land, Ice & Snow’ organised by the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories.

This poster, presented by Chariton Christou at the 30th Scottish meeting on Fluid Mechanics in May 2017, describes the development of a new modelling approach to help understand the outgassing activity of comets. The new approach is based on modelling techniques used in the oil and gas exploration industry, and for this initial work uses porous terrestrial sandstones as analogue materials for a cometary surface (for this work the composition of the material is not important, just the porosity). Three-dimensional X-ray tomography images of the sandstones are used as inputs to the calculations.

3D rock file

This ‘3D rock file’ is the result of a CT scan (X-ray tomography) of a porous rock, by staff at Heriot-Watt University. On some platforms you can view and rotate it directly in your web-browser, otherwise it may be necessary to download it and use a viewer for .stl files. (‘Preview’ works on Macintosh computers).


This section contains links to a number of datasets generated by the project. If you have questions about these datasets, or find bugs in the software to view the shape models, please email

Virtual tour of museum exhibition ‘Comets – the Rosetta mission’

The MiARD project (principally partner DLR – the German Centre for Air and Space Research) developed a museum exhibition about the Rosetta mission and what we have learned from it. This exhibition was displayed in Berlin in 2016/ 2017 and (updated) is now at the Natural History Museum in Vienna until 12th September 2018. A virtual tour of the exhibition can be made at or by downloading the free apps from  the Google Play store or Apple iTunes store.

High-resolution shape model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Pending archiving of the sub-meter accuracy SHAP7 space model (see Preusker et al 2017) in ESA and NASA repositories, it may be obtained on request from Frank.Preusker(at)  Also available are files with OSIRIS NAC camera images draped as textures over the shape. See also

Combined SPG/MSPCD shape model (SHAP8) of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The compressed file (731 Mb) contains three versions of the high resolution shape model derived by combining the SPG and MSPCD approaches (article for Space & Planetary Science to be submitted in Q4/2018, in the meantime the methodology is described in the project’s deliverable report D1.1). The versions have either 12, 20 or 44 million facets.

The compressed files (463 Mb) and (420 Mb) contain between them 103  local digital terrain models (DTMs) or ‘maplets’ that were used in the generation of the global model.

The file (66 Mb) contains:

  • the geometric parameters of the maplets (including number of facets, centre, surface and averaged sampling)
  • maplet coverage models
  • views of the coverage offered by the maplets
  • rendered images of the global models corresponding to images observed by the OSIRIS/NAC camera on Rosetta. Note also the availability of the SHAP 7 SPG model with camera images draped as textures over the shape model that is mentioned above.

Models are in the binary polygon file format (file extension .PLY) and images are in the Portable Network Graphic format (file extension .PNG).

VR viewer for the enhanced shape model of comet 67P

This VR Viewer for Windows for the enhanced shape model of comet 67P from the MiARD project uses a version of the high resolution model published by Preusker et al. ‘The global meter-level shape model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko‘, publication number 4 in the list above. To ease the computational burden, we used just 12 million facets, although the full model has 44 million facets. The viewer was built in Unity and can be used either with a normal PC screen, or in VR mode with an Oculus Rift headset.

To install the package, unzip the file linked above and save the resulting executable file along with the data folder in the same directory. Running the executable will start the viewer. If an Oculus Rift is connected, the viewer will automatically start in VR mode.

Local Digital Terrain Models (DTM or DEM)

For ten selected areas, fifteen specially prepared local models of the surface have been prepared by using the combined SPG/MSPCD approach developed within the MiARD project, see local DTM report. The datafile contains two directories:

  • data contains the DTMs in PLY format, and the corresponding Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) in Geotiff format
  • extras contains images showing the location of each area on the comet, text files defining the orientation of the projections for the elevations (relative to the Cheops frame of reference for the comet), coloured maps for each DTM indicating the ‘quality’ of each DTM. the DEM’s in the binary FITS image format, and images highlighting any artefacts identified in each local DTM.

Viewer for local DTMs

The TerrainExplorer software for Windows computers, developed by the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseillse (CNRS) within the MiARD project, allows several selected DTMs from the project to be rendered and explored. It is important to read the Readme.txt file concerning the installaton before running the software.


The high resolution shape model from the project can be used to generate maps over the surface of a number of properties:

VIRTIS and MIRO ‘temperature’ maps

The origin of these VTK formatted data files is further explained in the MiARD D4.5 deliverable report “Mapping files of VIRTIS/MIRO data onto the 3D shape model”. These are rather large archives (1.6 Gb for the VIRTIS data, 0.8 Gb for the MIRO data). To view them, you will need software capable of opening VTK files (.vtu) such as Paraview.

VIRTIS radiance maps as .tar archive

MIRO temperature maps as .tar archive

Maps of albedo, acceleration and gravity

We provide here maps of:

The files with the .svg file extension are in the Scalable Vector Graphic format. Further details and example images are available in this report.

Data for: Regional unit definition for the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on the SHAP7 model

.VTK files  showing the geomorphological regions determined by the project. See also the associated publication: Regional unit definition for the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on the SHAP7 model

Improved SPICE kernels for Rosetta position and orientation

Improved SPICE kernels derived during creation of the SHAP7 shape model for comet 67P within the MiARD project. SPICE kernels describe the position and orientation of objects in space (such as spacecraft, spacecraft instruments and comets) and are widely used in planetary science missions. Here is more information about ESA’s Rosetta SPICE kernels, and here is an introduction to the SPICE toolkit.

Distribution in 3D of dust and gas

The MiARD project (in particular the University of Bern) has developed a numerical activity model for the outgassing and ejection of dust from the comet. The predictions of this model, for two sets of assumptions, are made available here.  The data consists of 8 space separated ASCII files with seven columns of data. These seven columns (x, y, z, number density,u, v, w) are:

● x,y,z spatial coordinates in metres from centre of comet (Cheops reference frame)

● the number density of the gas or dust (m-3)

● u, v, w the x,y,z components of the velocity vector (m/s)

For each model (inhomogeneous or purely insolation driven) there is one file for the gas number density and velocity, and one file for each of the three dust particle sizes. The filenames should be self-explanatory. For more information, see the associated deliverable report.

MiARD project