Dear readers and followers,
While Philae sleeps on the comet 67P, the spacecraft MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) is ready for its launch on 30 November 2014. MASCOT is an asteroid lander developed by +DLR, German Aerospace Center, the Japan space agency +JAXA | 宇宙航空研究開発機構 and the French space agency, +CNES.
In 2018 the Japanese Hayabusa 2 Mission will feature an asteroid landing and will, for the first time, allow for data acquisition at various points of this kind of celestial body, assisted by MASCOT , the hopping landing craft developed by the German Aerospace Center.
Credit image: +DLR, German Aerospace Center
The plan is to send the orbiter to its destination in 2014. Upon arrival in 2018, the spacecraft will initially remain in orbit to scout the unknown terrain. A stable, yet extremely light cover will protect the shoe box-sized lander as it falls to the asteroid’s surface. The four instruments designed to conduct in situ measurements on the asteroid are located inside the DLR landing craft:
- the infrared spectrometer that will analyse the surface composition
- magnetometer to investigate the magnetic field
- a wide-angle camera to record the landing site and the fine structure of the soil
- a radiometer that will measure surface temperatures, among other things.
Once the initial measurements are complete, MASCOT will hop to the next measurement site, providing scientists with data from different positions on asteroid on 1999 JU 3, gathered over two asteroid days and nights. During its mission, the landing craft will be monitored from the DLR Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC).
Credit image: +JAXA | 宇宙航空研究開発機構
1999 JU3 is an Apollo asteroid. The asteroid was discovered in 1999 by the LINEAR project. The Apollo asteroids are a group of near-Earth asteroids named after 1862 Apollo, the first asteroid of this group which was discovered by Karl Wilhelm Reinmuth.
Remember that this blog is free, but you can support us with Flattr