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A small mission for in situ exploration of a primitive binary near-Earth asteroid

Ball, Andrew J.; Ulamec, Stephan; Dachwald, Bernd; Price, Michael E.; Nadalini, Riccardo; Luethi, Benjamin; Wolters, Stephen D.; Sheridan, Simon; Green, Simon F.; Zarnecki, John C.; D’Arrigo, Paolo; Seiferlin, Karsten; Kargl, Günter and Goerke, Nils (2009). A small mission for in situ exploration of a primitive binary near-Earth asteroid. Advances in Space Research, 43(2) pp. 317–324.

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We present a concept for a challenging in situ science mission to a primitive, binary near-Earth asteroid. A sub-400-kg spacecraft would use solar electric propulsion to rendezvous with the C-class binary asteroid (175706) 1996 FG3. A campaign of remote observations of both worlds would be followed by landing on the 1 km diameter primary to perform in situ measurements. The total available payload mass would be around 34 kg, allowing a wide range of measurement objectives to be addressed. This mission arose during 2004 from the activities of the ad-hoc Small Bodies Group of the DLR-led Planetary Lander Initiative. Although the particular mission scenario proposed here was not studied further per se, the experience was carried over to subsequent European asteroid mission studies, including first LEONARD and now the Marco Polo near-Earth asteroid sample return proposal for ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme. This paper may thus be of interest as much for insight into the life cycle of mission proposals as for the concept itself.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2008 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN: 0273-1177
Keywords: Near-Earth asteroids; Space missions; Interplanetary spacecraft; Planetary landers;
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 12427
Depositing User: Colin Smith
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2008 07:38
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2019 16:12
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