This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

11 March 2009

Journal Article: Rapid Solar Sail Rendezvous Missions to Asteroid 99942 Apophis

"Rapid Solar Sail Rendezvous Missions to Asteroid 99942 Apophis"
Giovanni Mengali and Alessandro A. Quarta
Vol. 46, No. 1, January–February 2009

Different concepts for eliminating the threat of collision with a near-Earth object have been suggested in recent years. Most of them require that a probe is inserted in orbit around the object to obtain accurate physical and orbital data. Asteroid 99942 Apophis is a member of the Aten group of asteroids, having orbital periods shorter than 1 year. Such an asteroid is used here as a practical example to investigate the characteristics of new mission concepts and as a candidate for a potential space agency project aimed to tag an asteroid either for scientific purposes or for a deflection mission decision. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the potentialities offered by a solar-sail-based rendezvous mission toward Apophis. In particular, rapid transfer trajectories are studied, that is, missions whose transfer times are less than one terrestrial year. We show that a realistic near-term mission option, with a transfer time of about 300 days, requires a solar sail with a characteristic acceleration of 0:5 mm=s2. Asquare solar sail with a side of about 90mis needed for a payload of 50 kg, whereas a greater sail with a side of 160mis called for with a payload of 150 kg. The solar sail performance is compared to that achievable with conventional propulsion

Link: AIAA Paper (1st Page)

Link: AIAA Paper Reference

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