Towards New Comet Missions

Thomas, N.; Ulamec, S.; Kührt, E.; Ciarletti, V.; Gundlach, B.; Yoldi, Z.; Schwehm, G.; Snodgrass, C. and Green, S. F. (2019). Towards New Comet Missions. Space Science Reviews, 215(8)



The Rosetta observations have greatly advanced our knowledge of the cometary nucleus and its immediate environment. However, constraints on the mission (both planned and unplanned), the only partially successful Philae lander, and other instrumental issues have inevitably resulted in open questions. Surprising results from the many successful Rosetta observations have also opened new questions, unimagined when Rosetta was first planned. We discuss these and introduce several mission concepts that might address these issues. It is apparent that a sample return mission as originally conceived in the 1980s during the genesis of Rosetta would provide many answers but it is arguable whether it is technically feasible even with today’s technology and knowledge. Less ambitious mission concepts are described to address the suggested main outstanding scientific goals.

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