Part of the Cornell Research Division, The Cornell Center for Astrophysics & Planetary Science has published a new webpage for CAESAR, Comet Astrobiology Exploration SAmple Return. A New Frontiers candidate, the spacecraft has a key goal: collect a sample from Comet 67P’s surface and return it to Earth in pristine condition for the “most extensive study of cometary material ever done.”
Newton engineers have designed the CAESAR structure to effectively absorb impact upon landing, a crucial part of the mission. Our engineers conducted tests at Utah Test and Training Range to derive the loads expected on impact. Then, they performed load analyses in order to create the structure while ensuring the survival of critical components.
Along with structural analysis and simulation, Newton has performed additional thermal and structural testing for CAESAR. To achieve its goal of returning a sample from Comet 67P, the CAESAR mission team is comprised of several institutions and led by Steven Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for the mission. The new webpage contains in-depth information about the team, the science behind it, as well as updates and FAQs.