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Small Body Sample Return to Deimos

Small Body Sample Return to Deimos

Publication date: 26 April 2005

Authors: Renton, D.C., et al.

Journal: Proceedings of 55th International Astronautical Congress, Vancouver, Canada, 2004
Year: 2005

Copyright: ESA

ESA's Science Payload and Advanced Concepts Office (SCI-A) has recently introduced the Technology Reference Studies (TRS) as a technology development tool to provide a focus for the development of strategically important technologies that are of likely relevance for future scientific missions. This is accomplished through the study of several technologically demanding and scientifically interesting missions, which are not part of the ESA science programme.

The goal of the Deimos Sample Return (DSR) TRS is to study the means of collecting a scientifically significant sample from Deimos' surface and returning it to Earth. The DSR mission profile consists of a small spacecraft, launched on a Soyuz-Fregat 2B. After transferring to the Martian system, the spacecraft will enter into a co-orbit with Deimos where it will perform remote sensing observations and ultimately perform a series of sampling maneuvers. Upon completion of sampling the spacecraft will return to Earth, where the sample canister will perform a direct Earth entry.

This paper will outline the preliminary mission architecture of the DSR TRS, as well as the critical technology drivers. This will include an outline of sampling tools and methods appropriate for a small, low gravity body, as well as planetary protection and re-entry technologies.

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