Cerca QUI

NASA SELECTS ‘OPTION B’ FOR ASTEROID REDIRECT MISSION

NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission Option B NASA image posted on SpaceFlight Insider
NASA has announced that it will go with "Option B" in terms of the space agency's Asteroid Redirect Mission. Image Credit: NASA


NASA has announced that it has selected “Option B” for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (more commonly referred to as ARM), meaning that rather than towing an entire asteroid into lunar orbit, it will instead retrieve a boulder from an asteroid and bring it into a distant retrograde lunar orbit. Using Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP), an uncrewed spacecraft will retrieve a boulder from a yet-to-be-determined asteroid and tow it into lunar orbit, where it will be visited by astronauts on a future Orion / SLS mission.
NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot said that Option B offers more choices for what object the ARM spacecraft will retrieve.
“The Asteroid Redirect Mission will provide an initial demonstration of several spaceflight capabilities we will need to send astronauts deeper into space, and eventually, to Mars,” Lightfoot said. “The option to retrieve a boulder from an asteroid will have a direct impact on planning for future human missions to deep space and begin a new era of spaceflight.”
Space Launch System SLS 70 metric ton launch-from-top NASA image posted on SpaceFlight Insider
Astronauts will launch to the asteroid fragment in an Orion spacecraft launched by the Space Launch System (SLS). Image Credit: NASA
Option B is estimated at costing $100 million more than Option A, but Lightfoot points out that, excluding the launch vehicle, Option B is still less than $1.25 million for the robotic part of ARM.
So far NASA has not selected an asteroid, but contenders includeItokawaBennu and 2008 EV5. There should be one or two additional candidates each year. Before selecting an asteroid, scientists will have to determine its size, shape, rotation, and precise orbit.
The ARM robotic spacecraft’s Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) system, which collects sunlight through solar arrays and converts it to electricity, will be slower than a conventional rocket, but cheaper and require fewer launches.
After rendezvous with the asteroid, the spacecraft will deploy robotic arms to capture a boulder up to four meters in diameter. Before towing it to Earth, NASA will test techniques to deflect an asteroid should one be detected on collision course with Earth. By putting itself in a halo orbit, the spacecraft will test the gravity tractor technique, in which the mutual gravitational attraction between spacecraft and asteroid would nudge the asteroid off its course.
Artist's conception of the Orion spacecraft in orbit. Image Credit: NASA
Artist’s conception of the Orion spacecraft in orbit. Image Credit: NASA
It will take six years for the ARM spacecraft to tow the boulder into lunar orbit. Some time later, a crewed mission will visit the boulder in an Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle launched by the 70 metric ton version of the Space Launch System (SLS). That launch will take place sometime after Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2), the first crewed flight of Orion, currently planned to take place sometime in 2021. Astronauts would then collect samples from the boulder for return to Earth.
In addition to retrieving asteroidal samples, the crewed mission will test the procedures required for a mission to Mars, including the docking mechanism that will connect the Orion with the robotic spacecraft carrying the boulder. The astronauts will conduct extravehicular activity using new space suits designed for use in deep space, and the retrieval of samples will provide data on how best to collect samples from Mars. The material from the asteroid might provide information to scientific research firms or corporations that might be interested in asteroid mining in the future.

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento

Salve! Ogni lettore è invitato a commentare qualsiasi post voglia, ed è un bene il confronto d'idee. Sono dunque io, Riccardo Perilli, ad invitare ognuno di voi, carissimi lettori, a commentare i post che scrivo o condivido. Le uniche due cose che chiedo di rispettare, per chiunque commenti, è che mi scriva poi, in fondo al proprio commento, un nome (non importa il cognome, mi raccomando!) al quale possa far riferimento per rispondergli (altrimenti appare "Commento in anonimo"); e che poi clicchi sulla spunta "inviami notifiche", in modo da poter restare sempre aggiornato sulle risposte che fornirò, e quelle che scriveranno gli altri lettori.
Ringrazio, nel frattempo, in attesa di vostri nuovi commenti, chi già ha commentato e chi commenterà.

Per contattarmi

Alcuni testi o immagini inseriti in questo blog sono tratti da internet e, pertanto, considerate di pubblico dominio; qualora la loro pubblicazione violasse eventuali diritti d'autore,
vogliate comunicarmelo via email. Saranno immediatamente rimossi. L'autore del blog non è responsabile dei siti collegati tramite link né del loro contenuto che può essere soggetto
a variazioni nel tempo.