Capturing small asteroids into a Sun-Earth Lagrangian point
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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)  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.
CitacióLladó, Neus [et al.]. Capturing small asteroids into a Sun-Earth Lagrangian point. "Acta astronautica", 01 Febrer 2014, vol. 95, p. 176-188.
Versió de l'editorhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0094576513003998