Scientists design conceptual asteroid deflector and evaluate it against massive potential threat

lunes, 19 de marzo de 2018

The 8.8-ton conceptual HAMMER spacecraft (right) is designed to fit within the Delta IV Heavy, the world’s second highest-capacity launch vehicle in operation, surpassed only by SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. Continue reading:

Options and uncertainties in planetary defense: Mission planning and vehicle design for flexible response

  • Analysis of kinetic impactor capabilities and limitations for planetary defense.•
  • Study of deflection mission options for a large, realistic hazardous asteroid.•
  • Detailed design of a notional dual-role planetary defense spacecraft.


This paper is part of an integrated study by NASA and the NNSA to quantitatively understand the response timeframe should a threatening Earth-impacting near-Earth object (NEO) be identified. The two realistic responses considered are the use of a spacecraft functioning as either a kinetic impactor or a nuclear explosive carrier to deflect the approaching NEO. The choice depends on the NEO size and mass, the available response time prior to Earth impact, and the various uncertainties. Whenever practical, the kinetic impactor is the preferred approach, but various factors, such as large uncertainties or short available response time, reduce the kinetic impactor's suitability and, ultimately, eliminate its sufficiency.


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