Create Your Own Asteroid Mission

2015 Challenge

Create Project Solving this Challenge

  • Hashtags:

    #outerspace, #asteroidmission, #intermediate


    [email protected]


    Model, Imagery, Data Visualization


    How would you send humans to explore an asteroid? How would you send a spacecraft to survey the asteroid belt? And how would you deflect an asteroid that was on a threatening course with Earth?

    Space flight simulators provide the capability to create asteroid mission simulations. See simulators like NASA’s General Mission Analysis Tool and others that can provide 3D visualization of spacecraft, orbital trajectories, and ephemera. Other simulators provide additional simulation capabilities, including Multi-Function Displays, out-of-cockpit views, pod-bay doors, docking, lift-off, and landing or a capability to design launch vehicles and spacecraft by selecting and connecting subsystems. This challenge involves planning, designing, and creating an asteroid mission simulation using one or more of these simulators. Simulations of asteroid surface mission operations can be developed with free open source game engines or the free versions of commercial game engines, provided that the simulations include realistic physics.


    Develop an asteroid mission and design the spacecraft. Implement the spacecraft and mission with the space flight simulator. Simulate the mission and identify future improvements for the simulation.

    Select a space flight simulator or physics based game engine and study the documentation, Application Programming Interface, video tutorials, and model repository. You can use publicly available space mission simulators that provide examples, tutorials, videos, discussion forums, and reusable models and simulations. A mission simulation developed for this challenge can build upon existing models, provided that the copyright license allows it, as well as technologies represented in the model are technically feasible before the simulated start of mission date. Publically available simulators provide equal opportunities for anyone to use, and it minimizes the possibility of someone modifying the external environment simulation to suit the spacecraft simulation.


    Source files for the simulation
    • Geometric models, images, textures, scripts, and source code
    • Source files should include comments and associated documentation
    • Source file documentation should include procedures for executing the simulation, input data ranges, and descriptions of what-if scenarios
    • Post all source files on GitHub
    Mission simulation documentation
    • Descriptions and diagrams of the spacecraft and instruments
    • Descriptions and diagrams of the orbital trajectories and results of the simulation including durations, propellant usage, extracted payload
    • Documentation should provide screen-shots of the simulation and explain how it supported the analysis of the mission concept
    • Documentation should include recommendations for improving the simulation
    • Post Source code on GitHub with comments

    Sample Resources(Participants do not have to use these resources, and NASA in no way endorses any particular entity listed).

    Space mission simulators and physics based game engines NASA Technical Reports or Research
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