Deflection of near-Earth asteroids by kinetic energy impacts from retrograde objects

C.R. McInnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous studies of non-nuclear diversion of near Earth asteroids have largely ignored the use of pure kinetic energy impacts, partly due to apparent limits on impact speeds of 10-15 km s−1. Here, I will consider the use of a near-term solar sail to deliver an inert projectile onto a retrograde solar orbit, thus raising impact speeds to at least 60 km s−1. Such high-energy orbits increase the energy liberated during impact by a factor of 40 or more, while reducing the required projectile mass by at least 95%. This considerable reduction in projectile mass allows kilometre-sized asteroids to be diverted with current launch vehicles, near-term technologies and at a cost comparable to a modest deep space mission.
LanguageEnglish
Pages587-590
Number of pages3
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Volume52
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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asteroids
deflection
asteroid
kinetic energy
projectiles
ice ridge
energy
retrograde orbits
solar orbits
deep space
launch vehicles
space missions
cost
costs
orbits
speed
vehicle

Keywords

  • near earth asteroids
  • non-nuclear deflection
  • solar sailing
  • orbital mechanics

Cite this

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Deflection of near-Earth asteroids by kinetic energy impacts from retrograde objects. / McInnes, C.R.

In: Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 52, No. 7, 2004, p. 587-590.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - McInnes, C.R.

PY - 2004

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N2 - Previous studies of non-nuclear diversion of near Earth asteroids have largely ignored the use of pure kinetic energy impacts, partly due to apparent limits on impact speeds of 10-15 km s−1. Here, I will consider the use of a near-term solar sail to deliver an inert projectile onto a retrograde solar orbit, thus raising impact speeds to at least 60 km s−1. Such high-energy orbits increase the energy liberated during impact by a factor of 40 or more, while reducing the required projectile mass by at least 95%. This considerable reduction in projectile mass allows kilometre-sized asteroids to be diverted with current launch vehicles, near-term technologies and at a cost comparable to a modest deep space mission.

AB - Previous studies of non-nuclear diversion of near Earth asteroids have largely ignored the use of pure kinetic energy impacts, partly due to apparent limits on impact speeds of 10-15 km s−1. Here, I will consider the use of a near-term solar sail to deliver an inert projectile onto a retrograde solar orbit, thus raising impact speeds to at least 60 km s−1. Such high-energy orbits increase the energy liberated during impact by a factor of 40 or more, while reducing the required projectile mass by at least 95%. This considerable reduction in projectile mass allows kilometre-sized asteroids to be diverted with current launch vehicles, near-term technologies and at a cost comparable to a modest deep space mission.

KW - near earth asteroids

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KW - solar sailing

KW - orbital mechanics

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2003.12.010

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