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J. Pittichová, K.J. Meech (IfA)
There are currently 6 scheduled and proposed space missions for which comet nuclei are the primary targets. It is crucial that the comet nuclei be well-characterized using ground-based observations prior to the arrival at the target. Knowledge of the nucleus size, albedo, spin state, and characterization of the dust and gas production rates are all important for mission planning. We will report on photometric database of 11 comet nuclei for the Stardust, Rosetta, Deep Impact, CONTOUR, Deep Space 1 and proposed Comet Nucleus Sample Return missions from a 15 year database of comet measurements. We will focus on the data from P/Wild 2 for the Stardust mission. We will present VRI photometry of 81P/Wild 2 from 1998-2000 as the comet moved from r = 3--5 AU with a decreasing dust coma. Fourty-seven thousand seconds of data were taken 1999 Aug 12-17 (r = 4.97 AU) to observe the rotational variations in the lightcurve. Although nearing aphelion (Q = 5.306 AU), some coma was still present. We will present the results of the rotational lightcurve analysis.
Comet Mission Database
|Tempel 1||1997-2000||32||2.0-4.6||Deep Impact|
|Borrelly||1987-2000||5||1.8-4.1||Deep Space 1|
|Wilson-Har||1996-2000||7||2.2-4.2||Deep Space 1|