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Science of Primitive Asteroid Sample Return Missions
The Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Start Time: 13 Oct 2017 - 10:30
End Time: 13 Oct 2017 - 15:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Kerri Donaldson Hanna (Oxford); Neil Bowles (Oxford); Ian Franchi (OU); Ben Rozitis (OU); Ashley King (NHM); Sara Russell (NHM)



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The need to better understand the building blocks of our solar system has become a global mission as NASA, ESA, and JAXA have spacecraft missions designed to characterise and in some cases sample primitive bodies. JAXA's Hayabusa-2 and NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) missions are two of the first missions to primitive asteroids in the solar system (Ryugu and Bennu, respectively) and will return pristine samples from their surfaces. The European asteroid and cosmochemical community is also working towards plans for a future asteroidal sample return mission. Sample materials from the surfaces of these primitive asteroids will provide significant insights into the formation, survivability and nature of organic materials in our solar system, which could have formed life on Earth, as well as the physical nature and composition of such primitive bodies. Orbital measurements will be used to characterise the primitive bodies in such detail to understand the morphology, thermophysical and photometric nature of the surface as well as its chemistry and mineralogy. Accurate determinations of these parameters are essential to understanding the orbital evolution of Near Earth Asteroids and their potential as hazardous objects. Making links between spacecraft remote sensing observations and laboratory sample analyses will enable the primitive bodies to be placed into the wider context of solar system evolution and engage the scientific community in future sample return missions to other primitive bodies including Phobo.


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