NEA Scout, NASA’s Solar Sail Mission to an Asteroid

Why Do We Want NEA Scout?

voltaic sails are spacecraft that use giant, skinny sails to mirror , giving them a delicate push and limitless gas. They’re well-suited to small, low-cost spacecraft that hitch rides to house on rockets carrying missions. Because of advances in expertise miniaturization, small spacecraft are rising more and more succesful, however they’ve restricted , which frequently bounds them to the trajectories of the rockets that them into house. 

NEA Scout will the power to hitch a journey to 1 vacation after which use a photo voltaic sail to fly some other place. The small spacecraft will initially journey to the Moon earlier than utilizing a photo voltaic sail to depart for a near-Earth asteroid. 

, comets, and different small worlds are like time capsules which were largely unchanged because the beginning of our photo voltaic system. Pattern return missions like NASA’s OSIRIS-REx and Japan’s Hayabusa2 are revealing these worlds’ secrets and techniques, however each encountered unexpectedly rocky terrain that difficult the mission. NEA Scout will show how a low-cost photo voltaic sail spacecraft might scout an asteroid for human and robotic exploration lengthy earlier than a future mission leaves the launch pad.

NEA Scout builds on a heritage of NASA small satellite solar sails that includes Nanosail-D2, which test-deployed a photo voltaic sail in Earth orbit in 2011. The Planetary Society’s LightSail program constructed on that , demonstrating managed photo voltaic crusing for the primary time in Earth orbit and for the primary time with a small spacecraft. NASA and The Planetary Society collaborate and change on NEA Scout and the LightSail by a House Act Settlement.



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