Passive sorting of asteroid material using solar radiation pressure

García Yárnoz, D., Sánchez Cuartielles, J.P. and McInnes, C.R. (2014) Passive sorting of asteroid material using solar radiation pressure. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 37(4), pp. 1223-1235. (doi: 10.2514/1.62412)

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Understanding dust dynamics in the vicinity of asteroids is key for future science missions and, in the long term, for asteroid exploitation. This paper analyzes the feasibility of manipulating asteroid material by means of solar radiation pressure. A novel method is proposed for passively sorting material as a function of its grain size or density, where solar radiation pressure is used as a passive in situ mass spectrometer. A simplified analysis shows that, in principle, this method allows an effective sorting of regolith material. This could have immediate applications for a sample return mission, and for industrial-scale in-situ resource utilization to separate and concentrate regolith according to particle size or composition.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McInnes, Professor Colin
Authors: García Yárnoz, D., Sánchez Cuartielles, J.P., and McInnes, C.R.
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

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