Asteroid deflection and exploitation: possible synergies

Joan-Pau Sanchez Cuartielles, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Abstract

The asteroid and cometary impact hazard has long been recognised as an important issue requiring risk assessment and contingency planning. At the same time asteroids have also been acknowledged as possible sources of raw materials for future large-scale space engineering ventures. This paper explores possible synergies between these two apparently opposed views; planetary protection and space resource exploitation. In particular, the paper assumes a 5 tonne low-thrust spacecraft as a baseline spacecraft for asteroid deflection and capture (or resource transport) missions. The system is assumed to land on the asteroid and provide a continuous thrust able to modify the orbit of the asteroid according to the mission objective. The paper analyses the capability of such a near-term system to provide both planetary protection and asteroid resources to Earth. Results show that a 5 tonne spacecraft could provide a high level of protection for modest impact hazards: airburst and local damage events (caused by 15 to 170 meters diameter objects). At the same time, the same spacecraft could also be used to transport to bound Earth orbits significant quantities of material through judicious use of orbital dynamics and passively safe aero-capture manoeuvres or low energy ballistic capture. As will be shown, a 5 tonne low-thrust spacecraft could potentially transport between 12 and 335 times its own mass of asteroid resources by means of ballistic capture or aero-capture trajectories that pose very low dynamical pressures on the object.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2011
EventIAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action - Bucharest, , Romania
Duration: 9 May 201112 May 2011

Conference

ConferenceIAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action
CountryRomania
CityBucharest,
Period9/05/1112/05/11

Fingerprint

Asteroids
deflection
asteroid
Spacecraft
spacecraft
thrust
Ballistics
Hazards
Orbits
resource
Earth (planet)
hazard
Aerospace engineering
Risk assessment
low pressure
Raw materials
risk assessment
trajectory
Trajectories
Planning

Keywords

  • asteroid deflection
  • impact hazard
  • planetary protection
  • asteroid resources

Cite this

Sanchez Cuartielles, J-P., & McInnes, C. (2011). Asteroid deflection and exploitation: possible synergies. Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania.
Sanchez Cuartielles, Joan-Pau ; McInnes, Colin. / Asteroid deflection and exploitation : possible synergies. Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania.
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Sanchez Cuartielles, J-P & McInnes, C 2011, 'Asteroid deflection and exploitation: possible synergies', Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania, 9/05/11 - 12/05/11.

Asteroid deflection and exploitation : possible synergies. / Sanchez Cuartielles, Joan-Pau; McInnes, Colin.

2011. Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

TY - CONF

T1 - Asteroid deflection and exploitation

T2 - possible synergies

AU - Sanchez Cuartielles, Joan-Pau

AU - McInnes, Colin

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Sanchez Cuartielles J-P, McInnes C. Asteroid deflection and exploitation: possible synergies. 2011. Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania.