This paper presents the sample and return mission to near Earth asteroid Nereus (4660) via an electric propulsion. Here an ion thruster is assumed, which enables even the smallest spacecraft that weighs about 350 kg to accomplish that difficult mission. Here are also presented the approach and exploration scenario to Nereus, among which mapping as well as sampling sequences are focused on. Particularly, sampling scheme proposed here is characteristic in assuming an “dartificial landmark”, which is the target plate dropped on the surface that is used for the spacecraft to make a rendezvous with it via an optical aid. Samples are assumed to be recovered via hyperbolic reentry capsule on the ground. Practical weight estimation based on some heritages show that the spacecraft design here is found feasible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aerospace Engineering