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CASTAway: An asteroid main belt tour and survey

Abstract : CASTAway is a mission concept to explore our Solar System’s main asteroid belt. Asteroids and comets provide a window into the formation and evolution of our Solar System and the composition of these objects can be inferred from space - based remote sensing using spectroscopic techniques. Variations in composition across the asteroid populations provide a tracer for the dynamical evolution of the Solar System. The mission combines a long-range (point source) telescopic survey of over 10,000 objects, targeted close encounters with 10–20 asteroids and serendipitous searches to constrain the distribution of smaller (e.g. 10 m) size objects into a single concept. With a carefully targeted trajectory that loops through the asteroid belt, CASTAway would provide a comprehensive survey of the main belt at multiple scales. The scientific payload comprises a 50 cm diameter telescope that includes an integrated low-resolution (R=30 – 100) spectrometer and visible context imager, a thermal (e.g. 6 – 16 μm) imager for use during the flybys, and modified star tracker cameras to detect small (~10 m) asteroids. The CASTAway spacecraft and payload have high levels of technology readiness and are designed to fit within the programmatic and cost caps for a European Space Agency medium class mission, whilst delivering a significant increase in knowledge of our Solar System.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 2:55:38 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 22, 2022 - 2:26:16 PM
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N.E. Bowles, C. Snodgrass, A. Gibbings, J.P. Sanchez, J.A. Arnold, et al.. CASTAway: An asteroid main belt tour and survey. Advances in Space Research, 2018, 62 (8), pp.1998-2025. ⟨10.1016/j.asr.2017.10.021⟩. ⟨hal-01902144⟩



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