17 September 2014 Effects of asteroid rotation on directed energy deflection
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Abstract
Asteroids that threaten Earth could be deflected from their orbits using laser directed energy or concentrated solar energy to vaporize the surface; the ejected plume would create a reaction thrust that pushes the object away from its collision course with Earth. One concern regarding directed energy deflection approaches is that asteroids rotate as they orbit the Sun. Asteroid rotation reduces the average thrust and changes the thrust vector imparting a time profile to the thrust. A directed energy system must deliver sufficient flux to evaporate surface material even when the asteroid is rotating. Required flux levels depend on surface material composition and albedo, thermal and bulk mechanical properties of the asteroid, and asteroid rotation rate. In the present work we present results of simulations for directed energy ejecta-plume asteroid threat mitigation. We use the observed distribution of asteroid rotational rates, along with a range of material and mechanical properties, as input to a thermal-physical model of plume generation. We calculate the expected thrust profile for rotating objects. Standoff directed energy schemes that deliver at least 10 MW/m2 generate significant thrust for all but the highest conceivable rotation rates.
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Isabella E. Johansson, Tatiana Tsareva, Janelle Griswold, Philip Lubin, Gary B. Hughes, Hugh O'Neill, Peter Meinhold, Jonathan Suen, Qicheng Zhang, Jordan Riley, Carl Melis, Kevin Walsh, Travis Brashears, Justin Bollag, Shana Mathew, Johanna Bible, "Effects of asteroid rotation on directed energy deflection", Proc. SPIE 9226, Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments VIII, 922607 (17 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2061368; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2061368
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