Comet Rendezvous, Sample Acquisition, Investigation, and Return

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Comet Rendezvous, Sample Acquisition, Investigation, and Return (CORSAIR) is a concept mission to return comet nucleus samples to Earth for detailed analysis. The mission concept was submitted in May 2017 by a team from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in response to the New Frontiers program call for mission 4, but it was not selected for development.

Objectives[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]

The CORSAIR goal is understanding the role of comets as ingredients for planets and life.[1] If selected for development, CORSAIR would rendezvous with comet 88P/Howell for approximately 140 days to perform detailed physical and chemical characterization and return to Earth with comet samples of the nucleus and its coma.[1][2]

If selected for development, the mission would have launched on 2024, cruise to the comet would take 7 years, including two Earth gravity assists. Rendezvouz with the 88P/Howell would happen in May 2031 and the interactions would last up to 294 days. The return trip to Earth would take about 4.3 years.[1]

Scientific payload[edit | hide | edit source]

CORSAIR's conceptual scientific payload include: [1]

  • CORSAIR Dual Imaging System (CorDIS), for near and wide angle imaging of the nucleus surface
  • Coma Dust Sampler (CDS) a Japanese-contributed coma dust flux monitoring and coma dust sampling system
  • CORSAIR Altimetric Laser (CorAL), a copy of the OSIRIS-REx/OLA instrument for sample site topography and near-comet navigation
  • CORSAIR THermal EMission Imaging System (C-THEMIS): a Mars Odyssey-heritage instrument for characterization of thermal inertia and mineralogical variability on the nucleus surface
  • CORSAIR Mass Spectrometer (C-MaSt), a Swiss contribution from Rosetta/ROSINA heritage for coma and volatile measurements
  • Proximity Cameras (ProxCams), are replicas of the OSIRIS-REx TagCams for near comet navigation and imaging of the sampling events
  • Radio Science (RS), and onboard communications system to determine comet nucleus mass

Surface samples would be obtained with the use of a harpoon-like penetrator.[3]

References[edit | hide | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 CORSAIR (COmet Rendezvous, Sample Acquisition, Investigation, and Return): A New Frontiers Mission Concept to Collect Samples from a Comet and Return them to Earth for Study (PDF). S. A. Sandford, N. L. Chabot, N. Dello Russo, J. C. Leary, E. L. Reynolds, H. A. Weaver, D. H. Wooden. 80th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society 2017 (LPI Contrib. No. 1987).
  2. "Proposed New Frontiers Missions". Future Planetary Exploration. 4 August 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  3. Triangular Rollable And Collapsible Boom (TRACTM Boom), NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation, Proposal Nbr. 16-2 Z4.01-7700.
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