Physical limits of solar collectors in deflecting Earth-threatening asteroids
Kahle, Ralph and Kührt, Ekkehard and Hahn, Gerhard and Knollenberg, Jörg (2005) Physical limits of solar collectors in deflecting Earth-threatening asteroids. Aerospace Science and Technology, 10 (3), pp. 256-263. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.ast.2005.12.004.
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This paper investigates the physical limits of a solar collector for orbit deflection of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) on a collision course with Earth. For decades of warning time a small change of NEA orbital velocity Δv by a few mm/s might suffice to alter the collision path into an Earth fly-by and consequently avert a local or even global catastrophe. In principle this can be achieved by a spacecraft that carries a large solar collector. The latter focuses sunlight onto the NEA surface in order to vaporize surface material, hence transferring a continuous momentum to the NEA. We model evaporation process and vapour expansion to show that the functionality exists. From the analysis of focussing misalignments and collector degradation we find that a considerable operational effort is required to maintain operating conditions. The most important result is that the collector lifetime is limited to only a few minutes. Therefore a solar collector might only be applicable to NEAs with size ‹ 250 m if Δv ‹ 0.1 mm/s is required. We also discuss capabilities for the prolongation of collector lifetime and hence an increase of NEA application size range.
|Title:||Physical limits of solar collectors in deflecting Earth-threatening asteroids|
|Date:||09 June 2005|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Aerospace Science and Technology|
|In ISI Web of Science:||Yes|
|Page Range:||pp. 256-263|
|Keywords:||asteroid, orbit deflection, solar collector|
|HGF - Research field:||Aeronautics, Space and Transport|
|HGF - Program:||Space|
|HGF - Program Themes:||W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums|
|DLR - Research area:||Space|
|DLR - Program:||W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums|
|DLR - Research theme (Project):||W - Vorhaben Asteroiden und Kometen (old)|
|Location:||Berlin-Adlershof , Oberpfaffenhofen|
|Institutes and Institutions:||Institute of Planetary Research|
Space Operations and Astronaut Training
|Deposited By:||Dr.-Ing. Ralph Kahle|
|Deposited On:||05 May 2006|
|Last Modified:||14 Jan 2010 20:45|
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