We are entering in a new era of space exploration signed by sample return missions. Since the Apollo and Luna Program, the study of extraterrestrial samples in laboratory is gathering an increased interest of the scientific community so that nowadays exploration program of the Solar System is characterized by swelling sample return missions. Beside lunar samples, the NASA Stardust mission was the first successful space mission that on 15 January 2006 brought to Earth solid extraterrestrial samples collected from comet 81P/Wild 2 coma. Grains were collected during cometary fly-by into aerogel and once on Earth have been extracted for laboratory analyses. In the coming two decades many space missions on going or under study will harvest samples from minor bodies. Measurements required for detailed analysis that cannot be performed from a robotic spacecraft, will be carried out on Earth laboratories with the highest analytical accuracy attainable so far. An intriguing objective for the next sample return missions is to understand the nature of organic compounds. Organic compounds found in Stardust grains even if processed to large extend during aerogel capturing are here reported. Major objectives of Marco Polo mission are reported. Various ground-based observational programs within the framework of general characterizations of families and classes, cometary-asteroid transition objects and NEOs with cometary albedo are discussed and linked to sample return mission.

Sample Return Missions from Minor Bodies: Achievements, Future Plan and Observational Support

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2009

Abstract

We are entering in a new era of space exploration signed by sample return missions. Since the Apollo and Luna Program, the study of extraterrestrial samples in laboratory is gathering an increased interest of the scientific community so that nowadays exploration program of the Solar System is characterized by swelling sample return missions. Beside lunar samples, the NASA Stardust mission was the first successful space mission that on 15 January 2006 brought to Earth solid extraterrestrial samples collected from comet 81P/Wild 2 coma. Grains were collected during cometary fly-by into aerogel and once on Earth have been extracted for laboratory analyses. In the coming two decades many space missions on going or under study will harvest samples from minor bodies. Measurements required for detailed analysis that cannot be performed from a robotic spacecraft, will be carried out on Earth laboratories with the highest analytical accuracy attainable so far. An intriguing objective for the next sample return missions is to understand the nature of organic compounds. Organic compounds found in Stardust grains even if processed to large extend during aerogel capturing are here reported. Major objectives of Marco Polo mission are reported. Various ground-based observational programs within the framework of general characterizations of families and classes, cometary-asteroid transition objects and NEOs with cometary albedo are discussed and linked to sample return mission.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/20083
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