Asteroid target selection for the new Rosetta mission baseline: 21 Lutetia and 2867 Steins
Publication date: 01 January 2005
Authors: Barucci, M.A., et al.
Journal: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Copyright: ESO 2005The new Rosetta mission baseline to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko includes two asteroid fly-bys. To help in target selection we studied all the candidates of all the possible scenarios. Observations have been carried out at ESO-NTT (La Silla, Chile), TNG (Canaries), and NASA-IRTF (Hawaii) telescopes, in order to determine the taxonomy of all the candidates. The asteroid targets were chosen after the spacecraft interplanetary orbit insertion manoeuvre, when the available total amount of $\Delta V$ was known. On the basis of our analysis and the available of $\Delta V$, we recommended to the ESA Science Working Group the asteroids 21 Lutetia and 2867 Steins as targets for the Rosetta mission. The nature of Lutetia is still controversial. Lutetia's spectral properties may be consistent with a composition similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. The spectral properties of Steins suggest a more extensive thermal history. Steins may have a composition similar to relatively rare enstatite chondrite/achondrite meteorites.