Europa Kinetic Ice Penetrator System for Hyper Velocity Instrument Deposition
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Landing of a payload on any celestial body has only used a soft landing system. These systems use retro rockets and atmospheric components to match velocity and then overcome local gravity in order to land on the surface. This is a proposed system for depositing instrumentation on an icy surface at hypervelocity using the properties of different projectiles and ejecta properties that would negate the need for a soft landing system. This system uses two projectiles, a cylinder with inner aerodynamic surfaces and a payload section with a conical nose and aerodynamic surfaces. The cylinder lands first, creates a region of fractured ice, and directs that fractured material into a collimated ejecta stream. The payload travels through the ejecta and lands in the fractured region. The combination of the ejecta stream and the softened target material reduces the impact acceleration to within survivable levels.