On the ballistic capture of asteroids for resource utilisation

Joan-Pau Sanchez Cuartielles, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

17 Citations (Scopus)
108 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates the concept of capturing in the Earth’s neighbourhood Earth-approaching objects such as asteroids and comets. These objects may provide access to potential resources, as well as be potential scientific mission opportunities. A statistical approach is used to assess the fraction of the near-Earth object population with a given set of Keplerian elements. This is used to estimate the number of objects with the potential to fly-by the Earth with low relative velocities. The circular restricted three-body problem is then used to show that objects approaching Earth at low hyperbolic excess velocities can potentially be gravitationally captured at Earth. The Tisserand parameter, used as an approximation of the Jacobi constant, can be used to delimit the orbital regions from were low-energy transfers should be expected to exist and asteroids could possibly be transported at a minimum expenditure of energy. Finally, a semi-analytical approximation of the gravitational perturbation in the CR3BP is used to assess the feasible asteroid transport fluxes of capturable material that could be achieved by judicious use of Earth gravitational perturbations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2011
Event62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 3 Oct 20117 Oct 2011


Conference62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town


  • near earth objects
  • asteroid capture
  • three body problem
  • gravitational perturbation

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