MASCOT (mobile asteroid surface scout) is an asteroid lander that was developed as the DLR contribution to JAXA's Hayabusa 2 mission.
A special mechatronic mechanism allows the lander to upright to nominal position and to relocate on asteroid surface by hopping. The target asteroid 1999JU3 Ryugu offers only very little gravity. By accelerating and decelerating an eccentric arm with a brushless DC motor jerk is applied to the overall 10 kg system and MASCOT is able to hop on asteroid surface. As it is important for on board science instruments that MASCOT is oriented in nominal position, the compact mobility subsystem electronics is built redundant and put on a single PCB with envelope size of 95x105x18 mm. Due to space and weight limitations the actuator is not built redundant. On 3rd December 2014 at 05:22 CEST, a JAXA H IIA launch vehicle lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center and the Hayabusa-II spacecraft together with its MASCOT lander began their journey through space. After a cruise of almost four years, Hayabusa-II with MASCOT will reach their target in summer 2018, where MASCOT will descend to the surface of the asteroid.
More information about the technical details can be found at the page about the MASCOT system.
Depiction of Hayabusa2 and MASCOT in mission scenario at asteroid
DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
CAD drawing of the MASCOT system (left) and its electronics box (right) with the mobility motor mounted on.
Next to the motor there is the Harmonic Drive gearing consisting of circular spline (bright green), flex spline (green) and wave generator (dark blue). The eccentric arm (violet) is supported by an extra bearing (bright blue) and attached to the shaft by a screw (red) that also serves as a MLI foil standoff.
Flight model of the motor and eccentric arm (mobility unit MobUnit)
Photo image of MASCOT flight model before integration in the Hayabusa2 mother spacecraft
Logo of the MASCOT mission