Large Constellations and Formations for Exploring  Interstellar Objects and Long-Period Comets Large Constellations and Formations for Exploring  Interstellar Objects and Long-Period Comets

Large Constellations and Formations for Exploring Interstellar Objects and Long-Period Comets

October 29 - November 2, 2018
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

This workshop will investigate the best strategies for exploring planetary objects with very long periods such as ‘Oumuamua, the first interstellar visitor ever observed, and comets coming from the Oort cloud.  Long-period comets are the most primitive witnesses of the early solar system. Interstellar visitors are suggested to be extrasolar planet fragments ejected upon catastrophic collisions. Hence the scientific value of exploring these objects is unbounded.

The exploration of long period objects (LPOs) is challenging for many reasons:

  1. the orbital properties of these bodies are not known with enough lead time to develop a mission;
  2. they have a broad range of inclinations;
  3. the encounter velocities are in excess of 50 km/s, hence the encounters may be very short;
  4. LPOs may be outgassing or surrounded by debris. 

The premise of this study is that the challenges identified above may be addressed by flying a very large number of spacecraft in a coordinated manner.  Constellations, formations, and swarms of small spacecraft have been identified as game changers for enabling new space science. In recent times, there has been a tremendous development in regards to the technology maturation level achieved by smallsats.

This workshop will explore how smallsats, and in particular advanced distributed spacecraft architectures, can be used to address the many challenges intrinsic to small body encounters in excess of 50 km/s and enable wholesome science investigations over a short observation window. 

Schedule Coming Soon...

List of Workshop Participants Coming Soon...

Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (5 pages pdf, 181KB) that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Please note that with enough notice, you can reserve rooms for attendees at the Athenaeum, which has been recognized as a Platinum Club of America. Newly refurbished, it is conveniently located on the Caltech Campus. Contact Janet Seid if you would like to check the availability of this option.

Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Wilson Avenue. Turn right into the North Wilson Structure and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosk located inside the North Wilson Structure or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in an unmarked spot in the North Wilson Structure located on Wilson Avenue.

Maps and General Information on Pasadena

Directions and Maps