Number 19: 24/03/2002
A scientific publication by SGF and NEODyS

Special: the results of ESA's call for proposal

Mission: "Ishtar"

Description of the study :

ISHTAR is a mission that uses Radar Tomography (i.e. the imaging of the interior of a solid body using Ground Penetrating Radar) to probe the target object interior, to study its structure (e.g. homogeneous, porous, fractured or simply a loose aggregate of separate boulders) and to assess the importance of the threat.

The study team

Astrium Ltd M.F. Smith (Study Manager); P.D'Arrigo (System Engineering); B. Parkinson (System Engineering); S. Kemble (Mission Analysis); M Taylor (Mission Analysis); D. Hall (Radar Payload)
Observatoire de Paris-Meudon M.A. Barucci (Science PI); A. Doressoundiram
INAF - Osservatorio di Roma E. Dotto
University of Padova S. Fornasier; M. Lazzarin
LPG, University of Grenoble W. Kofman (Radar Payload)
Open University, Milton Keynes J. Zarnecki, S. Green, A. Ball
Uppsala Observatory and University C. Lagerkvist; L. Stenmark

IASF - CNR R. Orosei (Radar Payload)
Universität Köln M. Pätzold (Radio Science)
Telespazio E. Perozzi
Science Systems C. Lee; F. McQuade
Spaceguard Foundation G. Valsecchi

Scientific objectives:

"ISHTAR (Internal Structure High-resolution Tomography by Asteroid Rendezvous) is a proposed mission to image the interior of an asteroid using a powerful new technology: Radar Tomography (that is, the imaging of the interior of a solid object using ground-penetrating radar). The ISHTAR mission design is centred around this Radar Tomography payload, capable to probe the interior of a small asteroid to depths of 100-200m, combined with an imager for surface characterization and a radio science experiment to measure the asteroid mass.
This unique combination will allow the first detailed characterization of a NEO and will give valuable insights into the origin and evolution processes that govern the NEO population. In particular, ISHTAR will address key issues related to the threat NEOs pose to Earth:

from the article by Paolo D'Arrigo, taken from Tumbling Stone's special issue Link to the full article


Project ISHTAR in the media:

ESA's GSP web site (10/03/2003): "ISHTAR" link 

Tumbling Stone n.15 (25/07/2002) "The ISHTAR project" by Paolo D'Arrigo: link


Downloads (click on the images to download ):

Image: an artist impression of ISHTAR - credits: Astrium Document: a document by Astrium on the ISHTAR mission - credits: Astrium