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Publication archive

Reference: ESA-MPR-REP-0003, Issue 1, Revision 2.

MarcoPolo-R, a Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) sample return mission, is one of five candidate missions for the M3 launch opportunity. A Preliminary Requirements Review (PRR) of all candidate missions has been performed to review their status in support of the M3 selection. This document reports the results of the technical and programmatic review for the MarcoPolo-R mission candidate.

Published: 10 December 2013
Reference: ESA/SRE(2013)4

This is the Assessment Study Report (also known as the Yellow Book) for MarcoPolo-R - a candidate mission for the M3 launch opportunity in Cosmic Vision.

Published: 16 December 2013
We observed Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) 2008 EV5 in the visible (0.30-0.92 micron) and near-IR (0.75-2.5 micron) wavelengths to determine its surface composition. This asteroid is especially interesting because it is a potential target for two sample return mission proposals (Marco Polo-R and Hayabusa-2) and human exploration due to its low delta-v for rendezvous. The spectrum of 2008 EV5 is essentially featureless with exception of a weak 0.48-micron spin-forbidden Fe3+ absorption band. The spectrum also has an overall blue slope. The albedo of 2008 EV5 remains uncertain with a lower limit at 0.05 and a higher end at 0.20 based on thermal modeling. The Busch et al. (Busch et al. [2011]. Icarus 212, 649-660) albedo estimate of 0.12 ± 0.04 is consistent with our thermal modeling results. The albedo and composition of 2008 EV5 are also consistent with a C-type taxonomic classification (Somers, J.M., Hicks, M.D., Lawrence, K.J. [2008]. Bull. Am. Astron. Soc. 40, 440). The best spectral match is with CI carbonaceous chondrites similar to Orgueil, which also have a weak 0.48-micron feature and an overall blue slope. This 0.48-micron feature is also seen in the spectrum of magnetite. The albedo of CI chondrites is at the lower limit of our estimated range for the albedo of 2008 EV5.
Published: 31 December 2012
This document describes the detailed scientific requirements for the MarcoPolo-R mission. These requirements are derived from discussions by the MarcoPolo-R Science Study Team (SST) and are based on the scientific objectives as described in the MarcoPolo-R Proposal to ESA's Cosmic Vision programme.

The first issue of this document served as a starting point for an ESA-internal study in the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF). It was left unchanged for the industrial studies, but underwent a few updates driven both by the industrial studies and the payload-related studies.

In case of the selection of this mission for implementation, another update of the document may be required to reflect updates in the scientific progress during the time of the study, resulting in an Issue 2.

Published: 20 September 2012
Reference: SRE-PA/2011.076/MarcoPolo-R

This is a Mission Requirements Document (MRD) to be used as an Applicable Document in the MarcoPolo-R industrial assessment study. The purpose of the MRD is to provide all high-level mission-level requirements (including spacecraft and payload, launcher, ground segment and operations) necessary to achieve the science goals detailed in [MarcoPolo-R Science Requirements Document (SRD)] for the MarcoPolo-R industrial system design studies running through 2012/2013.

It includes functional and performance requirements down to the sub-system level which can be defined at this stage. Later on in the course of the definition phase, it will result into two self-standing documents, i.e. the Mission Requirements Document and the System Requirements Document.

Recording and tracking of changes as well as giving a brief rationale is very important. The traceability of the requirements is paramount in order to make this document and its associated requirements easy to read and to understand at any stage of the mission assessment and possibly later definition phase, should this mission be selected.

This is issue 3.2 of the MRD. It has been updated after the baseline selection review in the course of the assessment phase. It will be reviewed as part of the assessment phase and will be updated following the Preliminary Requirement Review at the end of 2013.

Published: 18 September 2012
Summary of the study performed at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) into the M-class candidate mission MarcoPolo-R.
Published: 08 November 2011
Presentation of the preliminary mission design for MarcoPolo-R, based on the mission study performed at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) in October and November 2011. This document has been superseded by the MarcoPolo-R CDF study - External Final Presentation.
Published: 07 November 2011

Reference: SRE-PA/2011.079

This document describes the proposed model payload of MarcoPolo-R, a sample return mission to a near-Earth asteroid (NEA), which is currently under assessment as a candidate mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Plan.

Published: 04 November 2011

Made available online before print publication

MarcoPolo-R is a sample return mission to a primitive Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) proposed in collaboration with NASA. It will rendezvous with a primitive NEA, scientifically characterize it at multiple scales, and return a unique sample to Earth unaltered by the atmospheric entry process or terrestrial weathering. MarcoPolo-R will return bulk samples (up to 2 kg) from an organic-rich binary asteroid to Earth for laboratory analyses, allowing us to: explore the origin of planetary materials and initial stages of habitable planet formation; identify and characterize the organics and volatiles in a primitive asteroid; understand the unique geomorphology, dynamics and evolution of a binary NEA. This project is based on the previous Marco Polo mission study, which was selected for the Assessment Phase of the first round of Cosmic Vision. Its scientific rationale was highly ranked by ESA committees and it was not selected only because the estimated cost was higher than the allotted amount for an M class mission. The cost of MarcoPolo-R will be reduced to within the ESA medium mission budget by collaboration with APL (John Hopkins University) and JPL in the NASA program for coordination with ESA's Cosmic Vision Call. The baseline target is a binary asteroid (175706) 1996 FG3, which offers a very efficient operational and technical mission profile. A binary target also provides enhanced science return. The choice of this target will allow new investigations to be performed more easily than at a single object, and also enables investigations of the fascinating geology and geophysics of asteroids that are impossible at a single object. Several launch windows have been identified in the time-span 2020-2024.
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Published: 21 July 2011
We observed the near-Earth ASTEROID 2008 EV5 with the Arecibo and Goldstone planetary radars and the Very Long Baseline Array during December 2008. EV5 rotates retrograde and its overall shape is a 400 ± 50 m oblate spheroid. The most prominent surface feature is a ridge parallel to the asteroid's equator that is broken by a concavity about 150 m in diameter. Otherwise the asteroid's surface is notably smooth on decameter scales. EV5's radar and optical albedos are consistent with either rocky or stony-iron composition. The equatorial ridge is similar to structure seen on the rubble-pile near-Earth asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4 and is consistent with YORP spin-up reconfiguring the asteroid in the past. We interpret the concavity as an impact crater. Shaking during the impact and later regolith redistribution may have erased smaller features, explaining the general lack of decameter-scale surface structure.
Published: 01 May 2011
MarcoPolo-R is a sample return mission to a primitive Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA). The MarcoPolo-R mission proposal was submitted in 2010 to ESA in response to the Call for medium-size (M-class) missions in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan with a launch opportunity in the period 2020-22. In February 2011 MarcoPolo-R was one of four missions recommended by the ESA advisory structure and selected for an assessment study. The mission proposal can be accessed through the publication link below.
Published: 03 December 2010
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