Memorias de investigación
High Fidelity Models for Near-Earth Object Dynamics

Research Areas
  • Aeronautical engineering

Driven by the latest discoveries enabled by recent technological advances and space missions, the study of asteroids has awakened the interest of the scientific community. In fact, asteroid missions have become very popular in the recent years (Hayabusa, Dawn, OSIRIX-REx, ARM, AIMS-DART, ...) motivated by their outstanding scientific interest. Asteroids are fundamental constituents in the evolution of the Solar System, can be seen as vast concentrations of valuable natural resources, and are also considered as strategic targets for the future of space exploration. For long it has been hypothesized with the possibility of capturing small near-Earth asteroids and delivering them to the vicinity of the Earth in order to allow an affordable access to them for in-situ science, resource utilization and other purposes. On the other side of the balance, asteroids are often seen as potential planetary hazards, since impacts with the Earth happen all the time, and eventually an asteroid large enough could trigger catastrophic events. In spite of the severity of such occurrences, they are also utterly hard to predict. In fact, the rich dynamical aspects of asteroids, their complex modeling and observational uncertainties make exceptionally challenging to predict their future position accurately enough. This becomes particularly relevant when asteroids exhibit close encounters with the Earth, and more so when these happen recurrently. In such situations, where mitigation measures may need to be taken, it is of paramount importance to be able to accurately estimate their trajectories and collision probabilities. As a consequence, advanced tools are needed to model their dynamics and accurately predict their orbits, as well as new technological concepts to manipulate their orbits if necessary. The goal of this Thesis is to provide new methods, techniques and solutions to address these challenges. The contributions of this Thesis fall into two areas: one devoted to the numerical propagation of asteroids, and another to asteroid deflection and capture concepts. Hence, the first part of the dissertation presents novel advances applicable to the high accuracy dynamical propagation of near-Earth asteroids using regularization and perturbations techniques, with a special emphasis in the DROMO method, whereas the second part exposes pioneering ideas for asteroid retrieval missions and discusses the use of an ?ion beam shepherd? (IBS) for asteroid deflection purposes.
Mark Rating
Sobresaliente cum laude

Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Dinámica Espacial (SDG-UPM)
  • Departamento: Física Aplicada a Las Ingenierías Aeronáutica y Naval