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Proceedings Paper

Simulations of directed energy thrust on rotating asteroids
Author(s): Janelle Griswold; Jonathan Madajian; Isabella Johansson; Krysten Pfau; Philip Lubin; Gary B. Hughes; Aidan Gilkes; Peter Meinhold; Caio Motta; Travis Brashears; Qicheng Zhang
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Paper Abstract

Asteroids that threaten Earth could be deflected from their orbits using directed energy to vaporize the surface, because the ejected plume creates a reaction thrust that alters the asteroid’s trajectory. One concern regarding directed energy deflection is the rotation of the asteroid, as this will reduce the average thrust magnitude and modify the thrust direction. Flux levels required to evaporate surface material depend on surface material composition and albedo, thermal, and bulk mechanical properties of the asteroid, and rotation rate. The observed distribution of asteroid rotation rates is used, along with an estimated range of material and mechanical properties, as input to a 3D thermal-physical model to calculate the resultant thrust vector. The model uses a directed energy beam, striking the surface of a rotating sphere with specified material properties, beam profile, and rotation rate. The model calculates thermal changes in the sphere, including vaporization and mass ejection of the target material. The amount of vaporization is used to determine a thrust magnitude that is normal to the surface at each point on the sphere. As the object rotates beneath the beam, vaporization decreases, as the temperature drops and causes both a phase shift and magnitude decrease in the average thrust vector. A surface integral is calculated to determine the thrust vector, at each point in time, producing a 4D analytical model of the expected thrust profile for rotating objects.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 September 2015
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 9616, Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments IX, 961606 (8 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2188476
Show Author Affiliations
Janelle Griswold, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Jonathan Madajian, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Isabella Johansson, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Krysten Pfau, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Philip Lubin, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Gary B. Hughes, California Polytechnic State Univ., San Luis Obispo (United States)
Aidan Gilkes, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Peter Meinhold, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Caio Motta, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Travis Brashears, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Qicheng Zhang, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9616:
Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments IX
Edward W. Taylor; David A. Cardimona, Editor(s)

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