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Physical risks of landing on a cometary nucleus

Kührt, E. and Knollenberg, J. and Keller, H.-U.(1) (1997) Physical risks of landing on a cometary nucleus. Planetary and Space Science, pp. 665-680. Elsevier Science Ltd., Kidlington, UK.

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Abstract

Comets originate from the outer solar system where the density and temperature of the planetary nebula were rather low. They form a distinct class of small solar system bodies and their physical properties differ considerably from those of any other known objects.Our present knowledge of the cometary nucleus is cursory and driven more by imagination than by observational facts. Landing on a cometary nucleus, as planned during the ROSETTA-Mission, is of high scientific interest and will substantially improve our knowledge of the nature and origins of comets. However, successful landing and operating the instruments is an extraordinary challenge to engineers and scientists. Even a close approach to an inactive nucleaus may jeopardize the orbiter. A wide range of uncommon and risky environmental conditions such as outgassing, a fragile surface, deposition of dust grains, extreme temperature variations, and pronounced topography have to be considered. These are described in physical terms based on model calculations ranging from simple one-dimensional heat transfer to gas-dynamic acceleration of dust particles. Environmental constrains relevant for landing and operating instruments on a cometary nucleus are presented such as sublimation and recondensation of water in the cold parts of the lander and varying illumination conditions over the extent of the mission. Aspects of risk reduction are discussed. The paper also summarizes the present knowledge about physical and structural properties of cometary nuclei relevant for the development of landing strategies.

Document Type:Article
Additional Information: LIDO-Berichtsjahr=1997,
Title:Physical risks of landing on a cometary nucleus
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Kührt, E.UNSPECIFIED
Knollenberg, J.UNSPECIFIED
Keller, H.-U.(1)UNSPECIFIED
Date:1997
Journal or Publication Title:Planetary and Space Science
Refereed publication:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 665-680
Publisher:Elsevier Science Ltd., Kidlington, UK
Series Name:45
Status:Published
Keywords:comets, ROSETTA, risk of landing, cometary environment, dust clouds
HGF - Research field:UNSPECIFIED
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:UNSPECIFIED
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):UNSPECIFIED
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Institut für Planetenerkundung
Deposited By: elib DLR-Beauftragter
Deposited On:02 Apr 2006
Last Modified:26 Aug 2010 13:52

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