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Gerhard H. Schwehm (ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)
The International Rosetta Mission - the rendezvous with comet 46P/Wirtanen originally had been conceived as a comet-nucleus sample-return mission. To prepare the enabling technology for such a challenging mission, ESA had initiated a number of industrial studies to address critical areas like sample acquisition and handling, anchoring in low temperature dust/ice mixtures and sample preservation and return.
We will provide an overview of these study results and discuss potential application for future missions. The results of the thermal-vacuum tests of the sample-return canister will be presented. They provided a prove-of -concept for a sample storage and return at temperatures below 120 K.
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