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.

25 April 2011

Paper: Ion Beam Shepherd for Asteroid Deflection

Ion Beam Shepherd for Asteroid Deflection

C. Bombardelli, J. Pelaez

We present a novel concept to impart a continuous thrust to an Earth threatening asteroid from a hovering spacecraft without need for physical attachment nor gravitational interaction with the asteroid. The concept involves an ion thruster placed at a distance of a few asteroid diameters directing a stream of quasi-neutral plasma against the asteroid surface resulting into a net transferred momentum. As the transmitted force is independent of the asteroid mass and size the method allows deflecting subkilometer asteroids with a spacecraft much lighter when compared to a gravity tractor spacecraft of equal deflection capability. The finding could make low-cost asteroid deflection missions possible in the coming years.

Cite as: arXiv:1102.1276v1 []

Link: Citation

Link: Paper
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