The design of the MarcoPolo-M5 spacecraft and the science operations it must perform benefit greatly from many years of detailed technology development by ESA and European space technology industries. The design of the spacecraft for the proposed mission has been performed by OHB System AG. The nominal target asteroid 1993 HA provides an exceptionally short mission opportunity, with a total mission duration of only ≈3.6 years.
The spacecraft can be launched upon a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle, or Ariane 6.2 if available at the time of the M5 launch in 2029. Solar electric propulsion provides for a rapid transfer to the asteroid where approx. 8 months is available for operations around the asteroid, including remote sensing at multiple scales and illumination conditions, detailed gravity measurements, radar tomography and sub-surface, regolith investigation using a small lander as well as sampling of the regolith.
The return leg to Earth is also under solar electric propulsion, and the mission profile achieves a rather modest re-entry velocity well within the capability of existing European heatshield materials. It is anticipated that MarcoPolo-M5 will return of the order of 100g of primitive asteroid regolith material from a D-type near Earth asteroid for detailed examination in some of the most advanced analytical laboratories available.
If you would like to register your support for the MarcoPolo-M5 mission please go to our registration form page:
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