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Deflect an Hazardous Asteroid through Kinetic Impact: Application in 101955 Bennu and 4179 Toutatis

Presentation #512.01D in the session “Asteroid Hazards and Planetary Defense”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
Deflect an Hazardous Asteroid through Kinetic Impact: Application in 101955 Bennu and 4179 Toutatis

Asteroids are the smallest bodies in the solar system, usually with diameters in the order of a few hundred, or even only tens of kilometers. The total mass of all asteroids in the solar system must be less than the mass of the Earth’s Moon. Despite this, they are objects of great importance. They must contain information about the formation of the solar system, since its chemical and physical compositions remain practically constant over time. These bodies also pose a danger to the Earth, as many of these bodies are on a trajectory that passes close to the Earth. There is also the possibility of mining on asteroids in order to extract precious metals and other natural resources. The present work aims to study the use of a kinetic impact technique as a way to deflect asteroids that may present some risk of collision with the Earth at a given moment. This is a very current research topic and is related to planetary defense. It has received the attention of researchers around the world. For this work, we are using the numerical integrator package N-bodies of Mercury, designed to simulate the orbit of bodies of different sizes around a central body. In the work to be developed here, we intend to evaluate in more detail the possibility of diverting the orbits of asteroids 101955 Bennu and 4179 Toutatis, taking into account specific aspects. The idea of ​​using two different asteroids comes from the importance of studying the behavior of asteroids with different orbital eccentricities, in order to determine the accuracy of the model. For this, we use speed variations simulating an impact opposite the direction of the asteroid’s movement (negative Δv) and also in the same direction of the asteroid’s movement (positive Δv). The variations used here were 10 mm/s to 50 mm/s. We also divided the impact point into 22 parts of the asteroids’ orbital period to get more accurate results. We are also monitoring the influence of all the planets in the solar system, applying the asteroid deflection technique considering all the planets in the solar system, a 4-body system (Sun, Earth, Moon and asteroid) and a 5-body system (Sun , Earth, Moon, Jupiter and asteroid), to determine the influence of Jupiter on the results.

  1. J.E.Chambers (1999) “A Hybrid Symplectic Integrator that Permits Close Encounters between Massive Bodies”. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol 304, pp 793-799.

  2. Scheeres, D. J., McMahon, J. W., French, A. S. et al.: The dynamic geophysical environment of (101955) Bennu based on OSIRIS-REx measurements, Nature Astronomy 3, 352-361, 2019.


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