This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

20 October 2007

ESA Mission Update: Marco Polo - an asteroid sample-return mission

This an update on the European Space Agency (ESA) proposed Marco Polo mission.

Selections from the article:

A clearer idea of Europe's next destinations in space emerged at a meeting of the European Space Agency (ESA) Space Science Advisory Committee on 17 and 18 October. A number of candidates for future missions were selected...From a list of 50 proposals submitted by the scientific community [one of the mission selected was the following:]

Marco Polo would characterise a near-Earth object at multiple scales and return a sample. This could provide new information on the evolution of the Solar System, the role of minor bodies in the process, the origins and evolution of Earth and of life itself. This mission would also be implemented in collaboration with JAXA.

All of the above missions will now compete in an assessment cycle, due to end in 2011. This will result in the selection of two missions for implementation, with launches in 2017 and 2018.

Link: Article: ESA

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