Optimal Impulse conditions for Deflecting Earth Crossing Asteroids
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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An analysis of the effects of small impulses on Earth impacting asteroids is presented. The analysis is performed using a numerical routine for an exact, two body, analytic solution. The solution is based on two dimensional, two body, Earth intersecting elliptical orbits. Given the asteroid eccentricity, time prior to impact and impulse magnitude and direction, an analysis of impulse to minimum separation distance is generated. Impulse times prior to impact from zero to a few orbits are considered. The analysis is presented as three dimensional plots of minimum separation distance as a function of impulse magnitude, direction, and time prior to impact. The general result is that for long lead times the optimal impulse occurs at the perihelia of the asteroids orbit in the direction of the velocity vector, in the orbital plane. For short lead times the optimal impulse direction becomes more normal to the velocity vector, in the orbital plane, as the asteroid approaches the Earth.
- Celestial Mechanics