Planetary protection efficiency by a small kinetic impactor

Joan-Pau Sanchez Cuartielles, Camilla Colombo, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

This paper re-examines the deflection concept with, arguably, the highest technological readiness level: the kinetic impactor. A baseline design for the concept with a 1,000 kg spacecraft launched from Earth is defined. The paper then analyses the capability of the kinetic spacecraft to offer planetary protection, thus, deflecting asteroids on a collision trajectory with Earth. In order to give a realistic estimate, the paper uses a set of more than 17 thousand Earth-impacting trajectories and has computed the largest asteroid mass that could be deflected to a sufficiently safe distance from Earth. By using the relative impact frequency of the different impact orbits, which can be estimated by modeling the asteroid population and the collision probability of the different impact geometries, a figure on the level of planetary protection that such a system could offer can be estimated. The results show that such a system could offer very high levels of protection, around 97% deflection reliability, against objects between 15 to 75 meters, while decreases for larger sizes.

Conference

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

Fingerprint

Asteroids
Earth (planet)
asteroid
kinetics
Kinetics
deflection
Spacecraft
spacecraft
collision
trajectory
Trajectories
Orbits
geometry
Geometry
impactor
modeling

Keywords

  • kinetic impact
  • asteroid deflection
  • earth-impacting trajectories
  • impact geometries
  • planetary protection

Cite this

Sanchez Cuartielles, J-P., Colombo, C., & McInnes, C. (2011). Planetary protection efficiency by a small kinetic impactor. Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania.
Sanchez Cuartielles, Joan-Pau ; Colombo, Camilla ; McInnes, Colin. / Planetary protection efficiency by a small kinetic impactor. 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, Colombo, C & McInnes, C 2011, 'Planetary protection efficiency by a small kinetic impactor' Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania, 9/05/11 - 12/05/11, .

Planetary protection efficiency by a small kinetic impactor. / Sanchez Cuartielles, Joan-Pau; Colombo, Camilla; 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

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T1 - Planetary protection efficiency by a small kinetic impactor

AU - Sanchez Cuartielles, Joan-Pau

AU - Colombo, Camilla

AU - McInnes, Colin

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AB - This paper re-examines the deflection concept with, arguably, the highest technological readiness level: the kinetic impactor. A baseline design for the concept with a 1,000 kg spacecraft launched from Earth is defined. The paper then analyses the capability of the kinetic spacecraft to offer planetary protection, thus, deflecting asteroids on a collision trajectory with Earth. In order to give a realistic estimate, the paper uses a set of more than 17 thousand Earth-impacting trajectories and has computed the largest asteroid mass that could be deflected to a sufficiently safe distance from Earth. By using the relative impact frequency of the different impact orbits, which can be estimated by modeling the asteroid population and the collision probability of the different impact geometries, a figure on the level of planetary protection that such a system could offer can be estimated. The results show that such a system could offer very high levels of protection, around 97% deflection reliability, against objects between 15 to 75 meters, while decreases for larger sizes.

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KW - impact geometries

KW - planetary protection

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Sanchez Cuartielles J-P, Colombo C, McInnes C. Planetary protection efficiency by a small kinetic impactor. 2011. Paper presented at IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, Bucharest, , Romania.