Colorado: Twin Satellites to Rendezvous with Binary Asteroids

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Colorado: Twin Satellites to Rendezvous with Binary Asteroids

Post by bystander » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:46 pm

Where No Spacecraft Has Gone Before:
A Close Encounter with Binary Asteroids

University of Colorado, Boulder | 2020 Sep 10
CU Boulder and Lockheed Martin will lead a new space mission to capture the first-ever closeup look at a mysterious class of solar system objects: binary asteroids.

These bodies are pairs of asteroids that orbit around each other in space, much like the Earth and moon. In a project review on Sept. 3, NASA gave the official go-ahead to the Janus mission, named after the two-faced Roman god. The mission will study these asteroid couplets in never-before-seen detail.

It will be a moment for twos: In 2022, the Janus team will launch two identical spacecraft that will travel millions of miles to individually fly close to two pair of binary asteroids (1996 FG3, 1991 VH). Their observations could open up a new window into how these diverse bodies evolve and even burst apart over time, said Daniel Scheeres, the principal investigator for Janus.

New SIMPLEx Mission to Send SmallSats
on Longest Deep Space Journey to Date

NASA | SIMPLEx | 2020 Sep 10
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