KECK INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES

       



Speakers:

  • "Fantastic Targets and How to Find Them " - Dr. Olivier Hainaut, European Southern Observatory
  • "Getting Close to Long-Period Objects – Lessons Learned from Past Missions" - Dr. Hope Ishii, HIGP / Univ. of Hawai’i at Mānoa
  • "Small but Powerful - State of the Art in Small Satellites " - Dr. Kristina Hogstrom, JPL
  • "Stronger Together - Coordination Among Spacecraft for Novel Exploration Strategies" - Prof. Soon-Jo Chung, Caltech/JPL


Abstract:

Planetary objects with very long periods (referred to as LPOs) include Oort cloud comets, Manx objects and, now, interstellar objects, such as the recently discovered 'Oumuamua. Long-period comets are the most primitive witnesses of the early solar system. Interstellar visitors are suggested to be ejecta from the process of forming extrasolar planets. Hence the scientific value of exploring these objects is unbounded. Encounters with LPOs are challenging to plan, though. These bodies have a broad range of inclinations and encounter velocities are in excess of 50 km/s. The only attempt to explore a comet with a longer period (~75 years) up-close was the encounter with Comet Halley in 1986. Its visit was deemed such an important event that four space agencies worked together to explore it, sending six spacecraft. Similarly, future exploration of LPOs might be best approached by sending a very large number of spacecraft in a coordinated manner. This short course reviews science objectives for LPO exploration and the challenges of approaching these objects up-close, and introduces small satellites and possible architecture for addressing these challenges.

An informal lunch will follow for all attendees. Seating is limited and is first come, first served.