Flying aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft, the NASA-built Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter, or MIRO, will study gases given off by comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko when the spacecraft goes into orbit around the object in August 2014.

The instrument will measure the amounts of carbon monoxide, ammonia, methanol and oxygen leaving the comet, which will show how comet materials change from ice to gas, and will help determine temperature changes as the comet approaches the sun.