Nebula Public Library

The knowledge bank of ESA’s R&D programmes

AIM MASCOT-2 Asteroid Lander Concept Design

Programme Reference
Start Date
End Date

The MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) lander onboard JAXA's Hayabusa 2 sample return mission to C-type Near Earth asteroid Ryugu is a lightweight (~ 10 kg) and compact (0.3 x 0.3 x 0.2 m3 ) landing platform with the capability to carry various in-situ experiments with a total mass of up to ~3 kg. Thus a system to payload mass ratio of 7:3 can be achieved. These characteristics make the MASCOT concept especially for missions to investigate small bodies attractive resulting in a Phase A study from April 2015 – Feb 2016 of a similar lander, namely MASCOT-2, for ESA Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) to be launched in October 2020.

MASCOT, which was developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with contributions from the Centre Nationale d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), carried a payload of four scientific instruments: a camera (MASCAM, DLR PF), a radiometer (MARA, DLR PF), a magnetometer (MASMAG, TU Braunschweig) and a hyperspectral microscope (MicrOmega, IAS). Since the primary objective of the technology AIM mission is the demonstration of asteroid threat mitigation the scientific inclusion of a bistatic low frequency radar (LFR) into MASCOT-2 as primary science payload is required. The available limited space and mass would allow consecutively only small and light payloads such as the camera (CAM) and radiometer (MARA), similar to the ones as flown on MASCOT, and an accelerometer (DAAC).

In addition, few modification of the MASCOT system needs to be addressed in order to fulfil specific AIM mission requirements such as long-term surface operation (~ 3 months) and orientation/relocation capability

Executive summary