Astroid Landers

v0.2 - 25-04-2020

Asteroid and comet landings

Missions to land on asteroids and or comets are special for the ability to land on low gravity planets. These bodies have no atmosphere, making them somewhat comparable to landings on Earth's moon. The very low gravity of an asteroid means that the mission has to land very slowly, otherwise bounding might be a problem. This was seen in ESA's Philae mission which was to fire harpoons into the surface of the comet

67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Besides the harpoon, Philea was to fire a downwards thruster to lessen the bouncing of the lander. Unfortunately, both the thruster and harpoon did not work as expected, leading to multiple bounces. Other landers to have landed on asteroids are the Minerva landers, part of the JAXA Hayabusa missions. These were small landers and rovers that investigated the asteroids Itokawa and Rygugu.