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A view of ESA’s smallest future asteroid mission mapping its target body by laser.
The suitcase-sized ESA’s ‘Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer’, or M-Argo will use a multispectral camera and a laser altimeter to look for asteroid resources such as hydrated minerals that could be extracted in future. Other miniaturised payloads are also being considered.
Planned for launch in the 2023-25 timeframe, M-Argo would use its flat reflectarray antenna to return science data to Earth from up to 150 million km away.
To find out more about ESA’s asteroid-related missions and projects, part of its ambitious Space Safety programme, re-watch its programming for international Asteroid Day on June 30, available here.