Marco Polo: near Earth object sample return mission

Dotto, E.; Barucci, M. A.; Yoshikawa, M.; Koschny, D.; Boehnhardt, H.; Brucato, J. R.; Coradini, M.; Franchi, I. A.; Green, S. F.; Josset, J. L.; Kawaguchi, J.; Michel, P.; Muinonen, K.; Oberst, J.; Yano, H. and Binzel, R. P. (2008). Marco Polo: near Earth object sample return mission. Memorie della Società Astronomica Italiana - Supplementi, 12(Supple) pp. 102–109.



Marco Polo is a joint European-Japanese mission of sample return from a Near Earth Object. The Marco Polo proposal was submitted to ESA on July 2007 in the framework of the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 context, and on October 2007 passed the first evaluation process. The primary objectives of this mission is to visit a primitive NEO, belonging to a class that cannot be related to known meteorite types, to characterize it at multiple scales, and to bring samples back to Earth. Marco Polo will give us the first opportunity for detailed laboratory study of the most primitive materials that formed the planets. This will allow us to improve our knowledge on the processes which governed the origin and early evolution of the Solar System, and possibly of the life on Earth.

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