Cassini makes frequent flyby's of moons at Saturn. If one similarly put a probe in retrograde heliocentric orbit in the Asteroid Belt, how frequent could one expect to make a near flyby, given the maneuverability of a (solar powered) Cassini class spacecraft? Several times per year?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know about how many, but the relative speed would be pretty high. A quick google suggests an average asteroid velocity of 25kms, so your probe is going to go past them at a relative velocity of 50kms. New Horizons sped past pluto at 11kms for comparison. You're not going to get much science done in the single second your probe and asteroid are within 25km of each other. $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Discussion of density of the asteroid belt: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/26712/… $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Dec 5, 2016 at 14:28


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