The Castalia mission to Main Belt Comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro

Snodgrass, C. and Jones, G.H. and Boehnhardt, H. and Gibbings, A. and Homeister, M. and Andre, N. and Beck, P. and Bentley, M.S. and Bertini, I. and Bowles, N. and Capria, M.T. and Carr, C. and Ceriotti, M. and Coates, A.J. and Della Corte, V. and Donaldson Hanna, K.L. and Fitzsimmons, A. and Gutiérrez, P.J. and Hainaut, O.R. and Herique, A. and Hilchenbach, M. and Hsieh, H.H. and Jehin, E. and Karatekin, O. and Kofman, W. and Lara, L.M. and Laudan, K. and Licandro, J. and Lowry, S.C. and Marzari, F. and Masters, A. and Meech, K.J. and Moreno, F. and Morse, A. and Orosei, R. and Pack, A. and Plettemeier, D. and Prialnik, D. and Rotundi, A. and Rubin, M. and Sánchez, J.P. and Sheridan, S. and Trieloff, M. and Winterboer, A. (2018) The Castalia mission to Main Belt Comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro. Advances in Space Research, 62 (8). pp. 1947-1976. ISSN 0273-1177. (doi: (Full text available)


We describe Castalia, a proposed mission to rendezvous with a Main Belt Comet (MBC), 133P/Elst-Pizarro. MBCs are a recently discovered population of apparently icy bodies within the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which may represent the remnants of the population which supplied the early Earth with water. Castalia will perform the first exploration of this population by characterising 133P in detail, solving the puzzle of the MBC’s activity, and making the first in situ measurements of water in the asteroid belt. In many ways a successor to ESA’s highly successful Rosetta mission, Castalia will allow direct comparison between very different classes of comet, including measuring critical isotope ratios, plasma and dust properties. It will also feature the first radar system to visit a minor body, mapping the ice in the interior. Castalia was proposed, in slightly different versions, to the ESA M4 and M5 calls within the Cosmic Vision programme. We describe the science motivation for the mission, the measurements required to achieve the scientific goals, and the proposed instrument payload and spacecraft to achieve these.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Comets; Asteroids; Main Belt Comets; Spacecraft missions
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Physical Sciences
Faculties > Sciences > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Stephen Lowry
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2018 12:25 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2018 12:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year