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17 September 2014 DE-STARLITE: A directed energy planetary defense mission
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This paper presents the motivation behind and design of a directed energy planetary defense system that utilizes laser ablation of an asteroid to impart a deflecting force on the target. The proposed system is called DE-STARLITE for Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and ExploRation – LITE as it is a small, stand-on unit of a larger standoff DE-STAR system. Pursuant to the stand-on design, ion engines will propel the spacecraft from low-Earth orbit (LEO) to the near-Earth asteroid (NEA). During laser ablation, the asteroid itself becomes the "propellant"; thus a very modest spacecraft can deflect an asteroid much larger than would be possible with a system of similar mission mass using ion beam deflection (IBD) or a gravity tractor. DE-STARLITE is capable of deflecting an Apophis-class (325 m diameter) asteroid with a 15-year targeting time. The mission fits within the rough mission parameters of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) program in terms of mass and size and has much greater capability for planetary defense than current proposals and is readily scalable to the threat. It can deflect all known threats with sufficient warning.
© (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Kelly Kosmo, Mark Pryor, Philip Lubin, Gary B. Hughes, Hugh O'Neill, Peter Meinhold, Jonathan Suen, Jordan Riley, Janelle Griswold, Brianna Vail Cook, Isabella E. Johansson, Qicheng Zhang, Kevin Walsh, Carl Melis, Miikka Kangas, J. J. Bible, Caio Motta, Travis Brashears, Shana Mathew, and Justin Bollag "DE-STARLITE: A directed energy planetary defense mission", Proc. SPIE 9226, Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments VIII, 922604 (17 September 2014);


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