NASA will provide a small robotic rover to conduct in-situ measurements of the surface of the asteroid Nereus in September 2003. Nereus is a 1.5km- diameter near-Earth asteroid.

The rover will be aboard the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science's Muses C spacecraft, to be launched on an M5 booster in January 2002.

The Muses C will make a soft touchdown on the surface of Nereus, and, after collecting samples, its ascent stage will take off and head back to Earth. The capsule containing the samples will make a parachute landing on the Earth in January 2006.

The rover will be the smallest flown, with a mass of less than 0.99kg, and will be a direct descendant of the larger, but still-small Sojourner Mars rover. It will carry a visible imaging camera and a near-infra-red spectrometer.

Source: Flight International