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Deimos Sample Return TRS Executive Summary Report

Deimos Sample Return TRS Executive Summary Report

Publication date: 08 February 2006

Authors: Sci-AP

Page: 1-34
Year: 2006

Copyright: ESA

Determining the origin and composition of asteroids is a key step in understanding the nature of the solar system. Believed to be a captured asteroid, Deimos, Mars's moon, is therefore of dual scientific interest. The upper regolith of the moon contains Martian material accreted during the late heavy bombardment period. Retrieving a sample from Deimos would contain both asteroidal and Martian material. The perceived scientific interest in Deimos, and for small body sample return missions, are the key reasons that Deimos Sample Return (DSR) was chosen as one of ESA's Technology Reference Studies.

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

The goal of the DSR TRS is to study the feasibility and the technologies required to collect a scientifically significant sample of regolith from Deimos' surface and return 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 manoeuvres. Upon completion of sampling the spacecraft will return to Earth, where the sample canister will perform a direct Earth entry.

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