Asteroid deflection by leveraging rotational self-energy

Viale, A. , McInnes, C. , Bailet, G. and Ceriotti, M. (2021) Asteroid deflection by leveraging rotational self-energy. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 58(3), pp. 813-829. (doi: 10.2514/1.A34889)

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A novel concept for the deflection of rotating asteroids is presented, based on the conversion of the asteroid rotational kinetic energy into translational kinetic energy. Such conversion is achieved using an orbital siphon, a tether-connected chain of masses, arranged vertically from the asteroid surface, which exploits the rotation of the asteroid for the delivery of mass from the asteroid to escape. Under the conditions to be discussed, the siphon can be initiated to ensure self-sustained flow of mass from the asteroid to escape. This mechanism is proposed to use a fraction of the asteroid as reaction mass, with the asteroid rotational kinetic energy leveraged to deliver the mass to escape and hence impart a reaction on the asteroid itself. Key parameters, such as velocity change, deflection duration, tension requirements and siphon length, are discussed. Deflection effectiveness is assessed for different release strategies. It is shown that typical velocity changes on the order of 1 cm/s can be achieved within a time window of a decade.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ceriotti, Dr Matteo and BAILET, Dr Rer Nat Gilles and Viale, Mr Andrea and McInnes, Professor Colin
Authors: Viale, A., McInnes, C., Bailet, G., and Ceriotti, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Publisher:American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
ISSN (Online):1533-6794
Published Online:08 March 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.
First Published:First published in Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets 58(3): 813-829
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
306654Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging TechnologiesColin McInnesRoyal Academy of Engineering (RAE)02/08/2019ENG - Systems Power & Energy
172105Ultra-low energy trajectories for near Earth asteroid capture and returnColin McInnesThe Royal Society (ROYSOC)WM150013ENG - Systems Power & Energy