METU Team Received the 1st Prize at International Space Mission Idea Contest!

Our team’s asteroid exploration mission idea “PARS: Precursor Asteroid Remote Survey” received the 1st prize at the International Mission Idea Contest (MIC 7) where contestants would propose a mission idea utilizing a micro-satellite under 100kg for deep space science and exploration.

The final for the 7th Mission Idea Contest, which was co-organized by UNISEC Global, University of Tokyo – Institute of Open Innovation and Collaborative Research Organization for Space Science and Technology (CROiSSant), in collaboration with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), was held in Tokyo, Japan on 13th November 2021 in hybrid format.

The evaluation committee considered the originality, impact, engineering and feasibility aspects of the mission idea proposals. The students not only found innovative ideas, but designed a mission and spacecraft as well as investigating the mission feasibility and benefits to society.

Details of the Mission Idea Contest can be found at:

Our team members were (sorted by last name):

Batu Candan (METU Aerospace Eng. Dept. MS Student)

Sefa Cengiz (METU Aerospace Eng. Dept. Graduate)

Mehmet Eşit (ITU MS Student)

Şahin Ulaş Köprücü (METU Physics Dept. MS Student)

Derya Sarmısak (METU Aerospace Eng. Dept. Graduate)

Semra Uzun (METU Aerospace Eng. Dept. MS Student)

Şirin Yakupoğlu (ITU MS Student)

Cansu Yıldırım (METU Aerospace Eng. Dept. MS Student)

Advisors for the team were Mr. Burak Yağlıoğlu (Chief Researcher at TUBITAK UZAY – Space Technologies Research Institute) and Dr. Halil Ersin Söken (Assist. Prof. at METU Aerospace Eng. Dept.).

Our team won the prize with their mission titled “PARS: Precursor Asteroid Remote Survey”. The mission goal is to send a micro-spacecraft to Apophis asteroid, which will fly by the Earth in 2029 with a distance as close as 31000km (closer than GEO communications satellites). The spacecraft will investigate the tidal effects of the fly by on the asteroid and collect data to characterize the asteroid’s shape and surface topology. Details of the mission can be seen in the full presentation:

Mission ideas for 10 finalist teams were evaluated by a team of juries from different institutions around the world, who have led several actual space missions and are experts in the field of small satellite design & development and deep space missions. Our team’s mission idea was highly appreciated as a result of the proposed innovative ideas and the flawless mission design. The full final session can be accessed on youtube for a limited time:

halil ersin soken