Asteroid Redirect Mission

Lecture: Asteroid Redirect Mission

Thursday, Nov. 6 and Friday, Nov. 7

The Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM) concept seeks to rendezvous with, capture, and redirect to translunar space an entire small near-Earth asteroid with a mass of up to approximately 1000 metric tonnes. It would focus the capabilities of the science, technology, and the human exploration communities on a grand challenge creating a new synergy between robotic and human missions to advance human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit for the first time in 50 years. This talk addresses the key aspects of the ARRM concept and the options studied to assess its technical feasibility. Included are evaluations of the expected number of potential targets, their expected discovery rate, the necessity to adequately characterize candidate mission targets, the spacecraft design, the process to capture a non-cooperative asteroid in deep space, and the power and propulsion technologies required for transportation.

The work discussed concludes that the key aspects of finding, capturing and redirecting an entire small, near-Earth asteroid to the Earth-Moon system by the first half of the next decade are technically feasible. The study was conducted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in collaboration with Glenn Research Center (GRC), Johnson Space Center (JSC), Langley Research Center (LaRC), and Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

Brian Muirhead, JPL Chief Engineer