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R.Y. Kakuda (JPL), E. Asphaug (UCSC), M.J.S. Belton (NOAO), S. Gulkis (JPL), W.F. Huebner (SwRI)
This is an international multiple-rendezvous mission designed to prospect the deep interior and subsurface geophysical properties of diverse near-Earth objects, using reflection radar tomography, imaging, gravity, and explosions. What we learn will greatly influence future missions and guide strategies for the diversion, disruption, or utilization of potentially hazardous objects.
Deep Interior. Low-frequency radar to determine internal variations of complex permittivity at resolutions approaching 20 m. Map inclusions or voids, fracture geometries, and compositional or structural boundaries.
Subsurface. High-frequency radar to determine depth of regolith, existence and nature of cometary mantle, geology beneath and around craters, and subsurface expressions to surface geology.
Topography and Geodesy. Stereogrammetric imaging with 1 m/pixel spatial resolution, supplemented by radar altimetry in shadowed regions, to determine detailed shape, volume, and spin state. Compare with radar sounding to learn how internal structure is manifested on the surface.
Mass and Density. Total mass and lower moments of the internal mass distribution by mapping the exterior gravitational field. Look for mass concentrations.
Surface microphysics and composition. Map color, albedo, and scattering properties of the surface over sunlit regions in six optical filters.
Material properties. Deploy grenades to characterize the mechanics and dynamics of surface materials. Record 8 frame/sec, 20 cm/pixel videos of crater formation and ejecta dynamics, to enable simple and direct laboratory constraints on material density, cohesion and porosity.
Dust. Look for dust lofted by surface waves propagating from the explosions, to constrain elastic properties and attenuation. Observe longer-term dynamics and optical properties of dust "atmosphere" generated by human activity.
Cometary Activity. At comet 107P/Wilson-Harrington, look for expressions of past cometary activity, and for possible awakening from dormancy by explosions.
NEO Diversity. Assess the diversity of the interior structures in two classes of near-Earth objects.
New Technology. SEP, first multiple rendezvous, autonav, first grenades. Precursor to geoseismic investigations.