Publications by Neil Bowles


CASTAway: An asteroid main belt tour and survey.

Advances in Space Research Elsevier 62 (2017) 1998-2025

NE Bowles, JP Sanchez, C Snodgrass, JA Arnold, P Eccleston, T Andert, A Probst, AC Vandaele, D de Leon, G Naletto, V da Deppo, IR Thomas, N Thomas, A Nathues, L Jorda, B Carry, SF Green, H Haack, KL Donaldson Hanna, J Leif Jorgensen, A Kereszturi, FE DeMeo, JK Davies

CASTAway is a mission concept to explore our Solar System’s main asteroid belt. Asteroids and comets provide a window into the formation and evolution of our Solar System and the composition of these objects can be inferred from space-based remote sensing using spectroscopic techniques. Variations in composition across the asteroid populations provide a tracer for the dynamical evolution of the Solar System. The mission combines a long-range (point source) telescopic survey of over 10,000 objects, targeted close encounters with 10 – 20 asteroids and serendipitous searches to constrain the distribution of smaller (e.g. 10 m) size objects into a single concept. With a carefully targeted trajectory that loops through the asteroid belt, CASTAway would provide a comprehensive survey of the main belt at multiple scales. The scientific payload comprises a 50 cm diameter telescope that includes an integrated low-resolution (R = 30 – 100) spectrometer and visible context imager, a thermal (e.g. 6 – 16 μm) imager for use during the flybys, and modified star tracker cameras to detect small (~10 m) asteroids. The CASTAway spacecraft and payload have high levels of technology readiness and are designed to fit within the programmatic and cost caps for a European Space Agency medium class mission, whilst delivering a significant increase in knowledge of our Solar System.


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