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Application of new, low density projectiles to the laboratory calibration of the Cassini Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA)

B.J. Goldsworthya, M.J. Burchell3, M.J. Cole3, S.F. Greena,d, M.R. Leesea,d, N. McBridea d, J.A.M. McDonnella'd, M. Müllera,d, E. Grunb, R. Sramab, S.P. Armesc, and M.A. Khanc aUnit for Space Science and Astrophysics, University of Kent at Canterbury, CT2 7NR, UK

bMax-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Postf. 103980, 69029 Heidelberg, Germany

°School of Chemistry, Physics & Environmental Science, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QJ, UK

dNow at: Planetary and Space Science Research Institute, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK

The Cassini Dust Analyser (CDA) has the capacity to provide composition information from impacting micrometeoroids through impact ionization, time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The instrument, aboard the Cassini-Huygens mission, has been collecting data since March 1999 during its journey to the Saturnian system (2004) via Jupiter (December 2000).

The University of Kent at Canterbury is using A 2-MV Van de Graaff electrostatic accelerator and laboratory CDA model to perform a calibration programme primarily focused upon the Chemical Analyser. The particles used to simulate impacts and characterise the instrument responses are of the same velocity (up to 37 km s"1) and mass (10~19-1015 kg) as those expected from interplanetary space. A variety of materials are used although of particular interest are revolutionary low-density, coated-latex particles. They enable complex organic spectra to be obtained under laboratory conditions.

The suitability of these particles for the calibration of CDA type instruments and the current status of the ongoing programme to investigate the system's response are reported.

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