NEO-MAPP project concentrates on two topics:
a) Maturation or adaptation to specific use cases of existing modelling capabilities.
b) Development of instruments, technologies and related data exploitation models to support NEO missions.
Multiple communities are now interested in NEOs for very different reasons ranging from science to planetary defence and commercial objectives (e.g., mining, resource extraction & exploitation). Given the shared scientific and technological basis, all of these communities require knowledge and modelling capabilities of asteroid properties, as well as the capability to perform close proximity operations and make relevant measurements. The multi-disciplinary approach at the heart of NEO-MAPP is perfectly suited for providing the significant improvements required in each of these aspects.
The most threatening NEOs – in terms of collision frequency with the Earth – are the smaller ones, i.e. below 1 km in size. Yet, they are also the population least known to us, as ground observations cannot provide adequate information at these sizes.
Building on the expertise of NEO-MAPP participants, who have been and are currently involved in small-body space missions as well as EC-funded NEO-related projects, the NEO-MAPP consortium is ideally set to further advance NEO scientific research and payload technologies. NEO-MAPP will not only address two of the three sub-topics indicated in the present call but will also dedicate considerable resources to developing important and innovative synergies between the two sub-topics. As such, NEO-MAPP will provide significant advances in our understanding of NEOs while at the same time build upon and sustainably increase expertise of European scientists and engineers in both planetary defence efforts and small-body exploration.
The main goal of NEO-MAPP is to provide significant advances in both our understanding of the response of NEOs to external forces (in particular a kinetic impact or a close planetary approach), and in the associated measurements by a spacecraft (including those necessary for the physical and dynamical characterization in general).