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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Algorithms for Asteroid/Comet Gravimetry via Laser Ranging and Camera Tracking During a Hypervelocity Spacecraft Flyby

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

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This work will develop algorithms capable of gravimetry for small solar system bodies, such as asteroids and comets, during hypervelocity (i.e., >5 km/s) spacecraft flybys. The algorithms will estimate a small body’s gravitational parameter (GM) using laser ranging and camera tracking measurements by spacecraft instruments of retroreflectors deployed near the target during the high-speed flyby encounter. The primary deliverables are a software suite that demonstrates estimation of a small solar system body’s mass using simulated measurements and a report describing performance and applications for planetary defense and planetary science.

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