Opportunities for ballistic soft landing in binary asteroids

Celik, O. and Sánchez, J. P. (2017) Opportunities for ballistic soft landing in binary asteroids. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 40(6), pp. 1390-1402. (doi: 10.2514/1.g002181)

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Remote sensing instrumentation onboard missions to asteroids is paramount to address many of the fundamental questions in modern planetary science. Yet in situ surface measurements provide the “ground truth” necessary to validate and enhance the science return of these missions. Nevertheless, because of the dynamical uncertainties associated with the environment near these objects, most missions spend long periods of times stationed afar. Small landers can be used much more daringly, however, and thus have already been identified as valuable assets for in situ exploration. This paper explores the potential for ballistic landing opportunities enabled by the natural dynamics found in binary asteroid systems. The dynamics near a binary asteroid are modeled by means of the circular restricted three-body problem, which provides a reasonable representation of a standard binary system. Natural landing trajectories are then sought that allow for a deployment from the exterior region and touchdown with minimum local-vertical velocity. The results show that, although landing on the main body of the system would require an effective landing system capable to dissipate excess of energy and avoid bouncing off the asteroid, the smaller companion offers the prospect of simple ballistic landing opportunities.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Celik, Dr Onur
Authors: Celik, O., and Sánchez, J. P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Publisher:American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
ISSN (Online):1533-3884
Published Online:03 April 2017

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