In order to make estimations about the robotic as well as manned missions to the asteroids, comets, planets and other places in the solar system, NASA has launched a new website, referred to as “Trajectory browser”.
This new website was developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. This site “provide a search engine, visualizer and mission summaries for designing trajectories to planets and small-bodies” for the next 25 years.
Scientists can get information about their mission by searching for their destination on the browser. For instance, they can find a trajectory to 150-feet in diameter rendezvous asteroid 2012DA14, which passed close, but safely, by Earth on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. According to the Trajectory Browser tool, a spacecraft could be launched to rendezvous with 2012DA14 on Feb. 24, 2014, Feb. 19, 2018 and again on Feb. 22, 2019. To view an example of these trajectories, go to: http://go.nasa.gov/Z5ZSB3
“The Trajectory Browser website is best used as a first-cut tool to assess the existence of trajectories to small bodies and planets and provide ball-park values on launch date, duration and trajectory requirements,” Cyrus Foster, an aerospace engineer at the Ames Mission Design Center and lead developer of the Trajectory Browser, said in a statement. “The website is flexible enough to provide information about various types of missions such as rendezvous, sample return or flybys and is routinely updated with the latest asteroid and comet discoveries made by astronomers and NASA missions.”
You can work on the trajectories and designing missions yourself on the Trajectory Browser website.