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The comet rendezvous asteroid flyby mission: A status reportThe Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby (CRAF) mission received a new start in fiscal year 1990. CRAF will match orbits with an active short-period comet and follow it around the Sun, making scientific measurements of the nucleus, coma, and tail. The Imaging system will map the nucleus surface at a resolution of 1 meter/line-pair or better, while Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) and Thermal Infrared Radiometer Experiment (TIREX) will produce spectral and thermal maps of the surface. Onboard instruments will collect cometary dust, ice, and gases and perform elemental and molecular analysis. A suite of fields and particles instruments will observe the solar wind interaction with the cometary atmosphere and tail. Radio tracking of the spacecraft will provide an accurate measure of the nucleus mass and higher harmonics in the comet's gravity field. En route to the comet, the spacecraft will make a close flyby of a large asteroid, preferably a primitive type from the outer main belt. Observations at the asteroid include remote sensing mapping of the surface, detection of any solar wind interaction observable at the flyby distance, and measurement of the asteroid mass to better than 10 percent accuracy. Detailed design of the CRAF spacecraft is currently underway at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Recent mass growth has necessitated a switch to Venus-Earth gravity assist type trajectories, similar to that used by the Galileo spacecraft. These trajectories require longer flight times from launch to rendezvous with the target comet. The details of the current baseline mission, spacecraft design, and instrument payload will be reviewed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Weissman, Paul R.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Neugebauer, Marcia
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Abstracts for the International Conference on Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 1991
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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