36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 14 Future Missions
Poster I, Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 4:00-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[14.05] Comet Odyssey: Comet Nucleus Orbiter

P. R. Weissman, W. D. Smythe, S. J. Spitz, D. E. Bernard, R. W. Bailey (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Comet Odyssey is a comet nucleus orbiter mission, proposed to NASA's Discovery program in 2004. The goal of the mission is to completely characterize a cometary nucleus, both physically and compositionally, as can only be done during an extended rendezvous and not with a fast flyby. Comet Odyssey will launch in October 2009 on a Delta II 7925 and use a solar-electric powered spacecraft to effect a rendezvous with periodic comet 46P/Wirtanen in October 2013. Arrival is 96 days after perihelion at a heliocentric distance of 1.61 AU. Comet Odyssey's science payload includes narrow- and wide-angle CCD cameras, an infrared thermal imager, a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, an XRD/XRF dust compositional analyzer, and a dust counter and accumulation sensors. The Comet Odyssey spacecraft implementation uses a high heritage approach of flight proven and redundant hardware. The 3-engine ion propulsion subsystem is derived from that on Dawn but includes the capability for multi-engine thrusting. Comet Odyssey will approach the Wirtanen nucleus and make repeated slow flybys through the active cometary coma for a period of three months. It will then be placed in a ~100-km radius orbit around the nucleus, with a plan to eventually orbit at 40-km altitude or less. From that altitude the narrow-angle camera will map the entire nucleus surface at 1 meter/pixel and the thermal imager will map at 19 meter/pixel. The orbital portion of the nominal mission will last 4.5 months, following the comet outward from the Sun to 3.3 AU as the comet evolves from an active to a quiescent state. En route to P/Wirtanen, the Comet Odyssey spacecraft will perform a close flyby of the 200-km diameter, G-type, main belt asteroid 19 Fortuna in January 2012 and make appropriate remote sensing observations.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: paul.r.weissman@jpl.nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.