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Capturing small asteroids into a Sun-Earth Lagrangian point
Lladó, Neus; Ren, Yuan; Masdemont Soler, Josep; Gómez Muntané, Gerard
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de Matemàtica Aplicada I; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. EGSA - Equacions Diferencials, Geometria, Sistemes Dinàmics i de Control, i Aplicacions
In this paper we address the feasibility of capturing small Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) into the vicinity of the Sun-Earth L-2 libration point using a continuous-thrust propulsion system assumed to be attached to the asteroid. The vicinity of this libration point is a gateway to the Earth-Moon neighborhood and using it for capture, or for transit, small NEAs could be interesting for mining or science purposes.; Due to limited maneuver capabilities and security concerns, only NEAs with very small mass, and not representing a potential hazard, are analyzed. First, the NEAs are pruned from JPL NEAs (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2012) [1] database and their diameter and mass are estimated using two different methods based on physical properties. Then, fuel-optimal continuous-thrust transfer orbits from the original positions of the NEAs to the Sun-Earth L-2 libration point are computed. For this trajectory optimization, the initial seeds are generated by means of a global optimization procedure based on a differential evolution algorithm. Next, these initial seeds are refined with a fourth order Runge-Kutta shooting method, and finally we list the candidate NEAs to be captured using a continuous-thrust propulsion system including the key parameters defining their transfer trajectory. (C) 2013 IAA. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Peer Reviewed
Àrees temàtiques de la UPC::Matemàtiques i estadística
Lagrangian points
Asteroid mining
Libration point
Trajectory optimization
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Spain

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