HORIZON 2020 Industrial Leadership Protection of European assets in and from Space-2014-LEIT SPACE Access technologies and characterisation for Near Earth Objects (NEOs)
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In the first type of action, research is to be conducted on technologies and instruments relevant to orbiting, hovering, and manoeuvring close to small asteroids with very weak gravity fields. Accurate guidance, navigation and control (GNC) of a high-velocity (> 10 km s-1) kinetic impactor spacecraft into a small NEO or for prolonged hovering around it, as well as orbit determination and monitoring (types of observation and precision) before, during, and after a mitigation attempt, require further technology development. The same applies to means for material sampling and collection, in-situ analysis and sample return to Earth, which are of relevance to physical characterisation.
In actions covering the second specific challenge, scientific research is needed to identify suitable objects for possible missions for detailed characterisation of properties and for developing demonstration and testing of deflection techniques. A characterisation of the NEO population, in particular the small NEOs (50 – 300 m) is to be undertaken. Typical mitigation-relevant physical properties of NEOs include sizes, albedos, mineralogy, shapes, densities, structures, porosities, frequency of binaries, frequency of rubble piles, etc.
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