|(abstract) A Low-Cost Mission to 2060 Chiron Based on the Pluto Fast Flyby|
|External Online Source:||hdl:2014/36031
|Author and Affiliation:||
Stern, S. A.
Salvo, C. G.
Wallace, R. A.
Weinstein, S. S.
Weissman, P. R.
|Abstract:||The Pluto Fast Flyby-based mission to Chiron described in this paper is a low cost, scientifically rewarding, focused mission in the outer solar system. The proposed mission will make a flyby of 2060 Chiron, an active 'comet' with over 10(sup 4) times the mass of Halley, and an eccentric, Saturn-crossing orbit which ranges from 8.5 to 19 AU. This mission concept achieves the flyby 4.2 years after launch on a direct trajectory from Earth, is independent of Jupiter launch windows, and fits within Discovery cost guidelines. This mission offers the scientific opportunity to examine a class of object left unsampled by the trail-blazing Mariners, Pioneers, Voyagers, and missions to Halley. Spacecraft reconnaissance of Chiron addresses unique objectives relating to cometary science, other small bodies, the structure of quasi-bound atmospheres on modest-sized bodies, and the origin of primitive bodies and the giant planets. Owing to Chiron's large size (180<D<370 km), unique nature, and unusual orbit, this mission is likely to draw significant public interest. As described by COMPLEX, the SSEC, and later the SSES, flybys are the appropriate scale missions for initial reconnaissance missions. Carrying three sophisticated instruments, the proposed flyby will return critical data about Chiron's size, shape, polar obliquity, atmosphere, surface morphology, surface composition, internal structure, surface activity (including the nature of Chiron's outbursts), and origin. Engineering analysis indicates that the spacecraft is capable of navigating to and encountering Chiron at close approach distances of less than 5 000 km, well inside the 50 000 to 150 000 km coma, and perhaps within the collisional chemistry zone of the coma. The low cost of the proposed Chiron mission is based on the opportunity to use the planned Pluto Flyby spare spacecraft and a Proton Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) (the pluto spacecraft is being designed to be compatible with a Proton launch). Backup launch opportunities on Delta II and Atlas ELVs are available. The Pluto Fast Flyby mission plans to develop a low cost ($150M), lightweight (<150 kg) outer planet spacecraft which is well suited to flyby reconnaissance in the outer solar system. This Chiron flyby mission is designed to leverage SSED's Pluto spacecraft investment into a scientifically valuable successor mission within the Discovery cost cap. Taking advantage of the spare spacecraft, we estimate the Discovery Chiron intercept mission can be launched for less than $100 M. We believe this makes a highly attractive proposal, which maintains US presence and leadership in the study of the outer solar system, and enables the first-time exploration of a wholly new class of planetary target, an outer solar system planetesimal.|
|Publication Date:||Apr 12, 1994|
(Acquired Sep 14, 2006)
|Subject Category:||LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION|
|Financial Sponsor:||Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech.; Pasadena, CA, United States|
|Distribution Limits:||Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited|
|NASA Terms:||ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION; CHIRON; COMETS; COMPOSITION (PROPERTY); COSTS; CROSSINGS; DISTANCE; FLYBY MISSIONS; GAS GIANT PLANETS; HALLEY'S COMET; LAUNCH WINDOWS; LAUNCHING; LEADERSHIP; LOW COST; MARINER SPACECRAFT; MISSION PLANNING; MORPHOLOGY; NAVIGATION; PIONEER SPACE PROBES; PROTON LAUNCH VEHICLE; PROTONS; PROTOPLANETS; RECONNAISSANCE; SHAPES; SOLAR SYSTEM; SURFACE LAYERS; TARGETS; TRAJECTORIES|
|Other Descriptors:||COST COMETS OUTER SOLAR SYSTEM; 2060 CHIRON PLANETESIMAL FLYBY PLUTO FAST FLYBY SPACECRAFT RECONNASSANCE COMA|
|Availability Source:||Other Sources|