Deutsch Intern
    Computer Science VIII - Aerospace Information Technology


    Investigation of small satellite mission ideas to Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) with focus on (99942) Apophis

    NEAlight is a study to analyze the feasibility and challenges of small satellite missions for the exploration of Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), in particular the asteroid (99942) Apophis.

    The asteroid (99942) Apophis, which is approximately 340m in size, will fly by the Earth on April 13, 2029 at a distance of only 6 Earth radii (Link: Animation of the flyby). This near-Earth flyby will provide an almost unique opportunity to study an "Sq-type" asteroid in detail with relatively little effort. Furthermore, due to its size and orbit, the asteroid belongs to the group of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA). A detailed investigation of its physical properties, its internal structure and the influence of the Earth's gravitational force during its flyby offers a unique data set for asteroid research as well as for planetary defense and the development and evaluation of suitable defensive measures.

    As part of NEAlight, three potential concepts for a national small satellite mission to the Near-Earth Asteroid (99942) Apophis are being investigated in depth. The concepts are based on the preliminary results of the SATEX study on the use of small satellites in extraterrestrial applications and the experience of the SONATE-2 mission launched in March 2024. The aim of the investigations is to work out the necessary requirements of the mission scenarios and to define the basic mission architecture as well as the realization possibilities. The concepts will also be used to investigate synergies in the design with perspective small satellite missions to other near-Earth asteroids (NEA) and cislunar missions. The investigation will be carried out at the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Extraterrestrial Studies (IFEX) at the Professorship for Space Technology.

    News release of the University of Würzburg

    Project start: 01.05.2024

    End: 30.04.2025

    Funding code: 50OO2413