Memorias de investigación
Communications at congresses:
Deflection of Fictitious Asteroid 2017 PDC: Ion Beam vs. Kinetic Impactor

Research Areas
  • Aeronautical engineering

Mission scenarios for the deflection of fictitious asteroid 2017 PDC are investigated. Two deflection options, kinetic impactor (KI) and ion beam shepherd (IBS), are studied and compared on the basis of deflection performance, safety, as well as mission schedule and political aspects. Firstly, we propose the launch of a medium-size rendevous spacecraft equipped with at least two ionic thrusters that can serve as propulsion means for the interplanetary trajectory up to rendezvous with the asteroid and as contactless actuators for a possible follow-up deflection mission. The asteroid, whose uncertainty ellipsoid is initially too large to establish whether (and how) it should be deflected, is reached by the rendezvous spacecraft after a low-thrust interplanetary trajectory of reasonable duration. Following rendezvous the spacecraft is placed in an orbit around the asteroid to estimate its mass, study its structure and composition and, crucially, reduce its uncertainty ellipsoid by ground tracking to confirm or rule out an impact. Assuming that an impact is confirmed two main deflection scenarios are considered based on the actual asteroid size. Ion beam deflection is considered with the possibility of full deflection (the asteroid misses the Earth by a safe margin) or impact location adjustment (the impact footprint is diplaced to the nearest unpopulated region) depending on the asteroid size. The launch of a kinetic impactor mission is also considered with the employment of the rendezvous spacecraft to measure the deflection outcome and possibly to refine the deflection in case it is needed. The deflection performance of the two methods is compared.
5th IAA Planetary Defense Conference - PDC 2017
Tokio, Japón
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Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Dinámica Espacial (SDG-UPM)
  • Departamento: Física Aplicada a Las Ingenierías Aeronáutica y Naval