View Full Version : Don Quijote Will Reach Out and Impact an Asteroid

2006-Apr-03, 10:45 PM
SUMMARY: Asteroids don't hit the Earth often, but when they do, the results can be catastrophic. The European Space Agency is working on several approaches to minimize the chances we'll make a close encounter with an asteroid. A new mission, called Don Quijote, will launch in 2011 and slam an impactor probe into an asteroid to see what happens. An orbiter spacecraft will remain in orbit around the asteroid and continue to study the aftereffects of the impact. There are now three European teams working on preliminary studies for the potential mission.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/past_treasure_threat.html)
What do you think about this story? post your comments below.

2006-Apr-03, 11:00 PM
I wonder how much more the mission would cost to land three small seismometers on the asteroid before the impact. It would be very useful to get a sense of the structure of this object if possible.

2006-Apr-04, 08:32 AM
Hello everybody, that's my firts comment in that forum! :)

Landing anything in an asteroid add much more complexity to a mission. I have no clue about the cost, but it would be for sure a high percentage of Don quijote budget. Design something to land in an unknown gravity model must be quite expensive, i suppose.


2006-Apr-04, 12:24 PM
Landing anything in an asteroid add much more complexity to a mission.

Welcome to the BAUT forum McPau.
You may be right that it would add a lot to the complexity (and cost) of the mission. The Japanese Hayabusa mission tried to land some very small things on the asteroid it visited, with limited success.

I think we could know a great deal about the gravity of the asteroid that DQ would be hitting before attempting to drop the little seismometers, and since they probably would weigh less than an ounce in the field of the asteroid, they wouldn't need much propulsion capability to land.