Surface elements and landing strategies for small bodies missions – Philae and beyond
The investigation of small bodies, comets and asteroids, can contribute substantially to our understanding of the formation and history of the Solar System. In-situ observations by Landers play a prominent role in this field.The Rosetta Lander – Philae – is currently on its way to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It will land in November 2014 and perform numerous experiments with a suite of 10 scientific instruments.Philae has been designed to cope with a wide range of possible comet properties. The considerations taken during its development are relevant for future Lander missions to small bodies in the Solar System.In addition the paper provides a review of alternative concepts, studied or developed for various missions like Phobos, Hayabusa/Minerva or Géocroiseur/Leonard.Various missions to small bodies in the Solar System, including Landers, are currently studied (e.g., Marco Polo). The paper will address the mission options and compare applicable technologies with the solutions chosen for Philae.