For the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, NASA provided part of the electronics package for an instrument called the Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer, which is part of the Swiss-built Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) instrument. ROSINA will be the first instrument with the resolution to separate two molecules that have approximately the same mass: molecular nitrogen and carbon monoxide. Clear identification of nitrogen will help scientists understand conditions at the time the solar system was born.
Rosetta is a mission of the European Space Agency, Paris, with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta's Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by the German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the French National Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the U.S. contribution to the Rosetta mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.