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.

08 August 2009

Rob R. Landis, et al Paper on Human NEO Mission on ScienceDirect

The study of a Human NEO Mission (done by several folks at NASA) was recently published online by ScienceDirect for the Journal Acta Astronautica. Here is the reference

"Piloted operations at a near-Earth object (NEO)"
Rob R. Landisa, Paul A. Abellb, David J. Korsmeyera, Thomas D. Jonesc, and Daniel R. Adamod

Available online 9 June 2009.


In late 2006, NASA's Constellation Program sponsored a study to examine the feasibility of sending a piloted Orion spacecraft to a near-Earth object. NEOs are asteroids or comets that have perihelion distances less than or equal to 1.3 astronomical units, and can have orbits that cross that of the Earth. Therefore, the most suitable targets for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) are those NEOs in heliocentric orbits similar to Earth's (i.e. low inclination and low eccentricity). One of the significant advantages of this type of mission is that it strengthens and validates the foundational infrastructure of the United States Space Exploration Policy and is highly complementary to NASA's planned lunar sortie and outpost missions circa 2020. A human expedition to a NEO would not only underline the broad utility of the Orion CEV and Ares launch systems, but would also be the first human expedition to an interplanetary body beyond the Earth–Moon system. These deep space operations will present unique challenges not present in lunar missions for the onboard crew, spacecraft systems, and mission control team. Executing several piloted NEO missions will enable NASA to gain crucial deep space operational experience, which will be necessary prerequisites for the eventual human missions to Mars.

Our NEO team will present and discuss the following:

• new mission trajectories and concepts;
• operational command and control considerations;
• expected science, operational, resource utilization, and impact mitigation returns; and
• continued exploration momentum and future Mars exploration benefits.

Link: ScienceDirect reference

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