MASCOT Lander is an asteroid lander where MASCOT stands for Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout. This lander was built by the German Aerospace Center with French and Japanese space agencies. It is aimed to explore the asteroid Ryugu. This asteroid has a top shape with a very circular equatorial bulge.
Generally, fast rotating asteroids have this shape so it is very unusual for Ryugu as it rotates at a relatively slow speed. MASCOT Lander weighs around 10 kilograms with a 3 kg payload. It has a single energy source that allows 12 hours mission duration.
Quick Facts: –
- It is connected with the main Hayabusa 2 spacecraft via a Mechanical and Electronic Support Structure, also known as the “MESS”.
- It is the interface between lander and the orbiter and also includes a mechanism which is used to drop the MASCOT on the asteroid.
- The main purpose of the Hayabusa 2 mission is to know more about the origin of the Solar System.
- MASCOT Lander was launched on December 3, 2014. It was part of a sample return mission.
- It is currently on board and will reach its destination in October 2018.
- It will fly over the asteroid Ryugu and collect samples from the surface that can be sent back to the earth.
- It has three internal mechanisms: a preload release mechanism, a separation mechanism and the mobility mechanism.
- There are two omnidirectional patch antennas that are used to establish communication with Hayabusa 2.
- These antennas forward the data to the Earth ground stations.
- During its on-asteroid operational phase, this lander is powered by a primary battery.