Thermal Analysis and Constraints for the MASCOT Landing Site Selection on the Asteroid Ryugu

Barbara Cozzoni, Michael Maibaum, Maximilian Hamm

Planetary and Space Science
In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 23 June 2021



• Application of Thermal Mathematical Models for landing site selection
• Day-Night temperature is main criteria for landing site selection
• Pre-separation heating strategies will optimize science return
• Thermal models used not only for spacecraft design but also for planning mission phases”

“In June 2018, after 4 years of cruise, the Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 [1-Watanabe S. et al: Hayabusa2 Mission Overview. (2017)] reached the Near-Earth Asteroid (162173) Ryugu. Hayabusa2 carried a small Lander named MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) [2-Ho T. M. et al: MASCOT-The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout on-board the Hayabusa2 mission. (2017)], jointly developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the French Space Agency (CNES), to investigate Ryugu’s surface structure, composition and physical properties including its thermal behaviour and magnetization in-situ. The Microgravity User Support Centre (DLR-MUSC) in Cologne was in charge of providing all thermal conditions and constraints necessary for the selection of the final landing site and for the final operations of the Lander MASCOT on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu.

This article provides a comprehensive assessment of these thermal conditions and constraints, based on predictions performed with the Thermal Mathematical Model (TMM) of MASCOT using different asteroid surface thermal models, ephemeris data for approach as well as descent and hopping trajectories, the related operation sequences and scenarios and the possible environmental conditions driven by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft.

A comparison with the real telemetry data confirms the analysis and provides further information about the asteroid characteristics.”