The CARA Project
The project started its active phase in 2003 and collected data on a number of comets including objects target of direct spacecraft explorations.
At present the CARA project contributed to a general monitoring of comets targets of three important missions.
- the Rosetta mission by ESA, producing images and useful measures to understand what environment the probe will encounter on comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In the 2002-2003 images (Rolando Ligustri, Diego Tirelli) was also discovered that the tail at first supposed a ion tail was indeed a neck-line. It was the first time a neck-line was observed in a short period comet.
- the Deep Impact mission by NASA/JPL, allowing a constant, extended and detailed monitoring on the behaviour of the comet 9P Tempel, before, during and after the impact of the probe on its surface. An important point was to find that the behaviour of the comet during the apparition resembled exactly the one of previous observed apparitions. Another relevant point was to verify that the comet's normal activity was not affected by the impact.
- The Epoxi mission, extension of the Deep Impact one, by NASA/JPL, providing a general monitoring of comet 103P/Hartley during the apparition (observing campaign still on the way).