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JPL Explores Sending CubeSats to Phobos

1 Apr 2012, 22:01 UTC
JPL Explores Sending CubeSats to Phobos
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by Douglas Messier Parabolic Arc Managing Editor Imagine retrieving a soil sample from the Martian moon Phobos and returning it to Earth using two spacecraft so small you can hold them in your hands. That’s just one of seven advanced inner Solar System missions using Cubesats that are being explored by Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers [...]

by Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor
Imagine retrieving a soil sample from the Martian moon Phobos and returning it to Earth using two spacecraft so small you can hold them in your hands.
That’s just one of seven advanced inner Solar System missions using Cubesats that are being explored by Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers under a study funded by the NASA Innovative Advance Concepts (NIAC) Program, which looks at technologies that are still about a decade away.

JPL’s Robert Staehle presented the results of his team’s work during the NIAC Spring Symposium in Pasadena last week. Scientists working on 29 other studies presented their work during the three-day gathering.
Staehle said that interplanetary CubeSats could revolutionize the exploration of the inner Solar System at a cost 10 cheaper than NASA’s small Discovery-class missions.
“CubeSats in low Earth orbit have enabled dozens of universities ...

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