'Near-Earth asteroid sample return'


ZhengHe, named for the 15th century naval explorer and admiral, will target near-Earth asteroid 2016 HO3 (469219 Kamoʻoalewa). It will collect 200-1,000 grams of samples from the asteroid and return to Earth within 2-3 years of launch, delivering the samples using a re-entry canister.

The main spacecraft will continue its mission after delivering the samples. It will use the visit to Earth for a gravity assist to set it on a course for the main belt comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro, arriving around seven years later. Earlier presentations include an additional gravity assist from Mars, whereas more recent profiles outline a flyby of an unnamed asteroid en route to 133P.