What will DS1 do on its mission?
DS1 will fly by the asteroid, turning as it flies so that the MICAS camera array will point at the right point to take pictures during the flyby (and making sure the camera doesn't point at the Sun). The goal of the asteroid encounter is to demonstrate that DS1 can do a very close flyby of a target body (the asteroid) using AutoNav and MICAS, which are both being used on DS1 for the first time. In addition, the Ion Propulsion System will play a role in this flyby, although the conventional technology attitude control system will also play a major role.
The flyby should be 11 km from the asteroid, which is very close. This provides an opportunity for the Autonomous Navigation subsystem to execute a "bold encounter" Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) to get even closer and lower the flyby altitude to 5 km. At either altitude, this is the closest flyby distance ever attempted by NASA for any body in the solar system.
While in the asteroid's vicinity, DS1 will collect science data and demonstrate the science technologies using the MICAS imagers and the PEPE and IDS sensors to photograph the asteroid and characterize its environment. The use of autonomous control software (AutoNav in this case) to do the bulk of the planning for this flyby is a big step forward. This difficult maneuver will require that DS1 has an understanding of its location, speed and heading, and that it fires its attitude control rockets in precisely the right manner at the right time. This is the kind of task that will in the future be handled by autonomous agents like the remote agent and autonav. However, it will not be this time.
What new technologies are being tested on DS1?
How does DS1 take pictures?
What is the difference between DS1 and NASA's autonomous spacecraft?
What is AutoNav?
How do scientists know what the path of an object in space will be?
What is an asteroid, a planetoid, a meteoroid a micrometeoroid?
How does solar electric propulsion (ion propulsion) work?
What is a remote agent?
What is MICAS?
What is PEPE?
What is a flyby?
What is attitude control?
Why will the Sun damage MICAS?