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MUSES-C Mission

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The MUSES-C mission is a joint Japanese/NASA mission to send a robotic rover to asteroid 4660 Nereus and return a sample. After arrival in September of 2003 the spacecraft will survey the asteroid at an altitude of 20 km, then will perform a series of soft landings with a rover. After two months near Nereus, on 11/11/2003, it will begin the 2-year cruise back to Earth with samples. The rover will measure texture, composition and morphology at the cm-scale of the surface. Instrumentation consists for a multi-band imager and a near-IR spectrometer.

Mission Timeline

  • Jan 07, 2002 - Launch
  • May 26, 2003 - Arrival
  • Nov 11, 2003 - Begin 2 year cruise to Earth

IRTF Mission Support

  • Frequent astrometric measurements will be required of the targets to ensure that the orbits are extremely well known for the close approaches.
  • Knowledge of the nucleus/asteroid sizes and rotation are needed to plan the photographic aspects of the mission, as well as to estimate the gravity field. The IRTF is ideally suited for obtaining nucleus parameters, such as size, albedo and rotation.

Visits since 10/99. Last Updated on December 15, 2001
Karen. Meech, Institute for Astronomy, UH