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A multi-criteria assessment of deflection methods for dangerous NEOs

Sanchez Cuartielles, J.P. and Colombo, C. and Vasile, Massimiliano and Radice, Gianmarco (2007) A multi-criteria assessment of deflection methods for dangerous NEOs. In: New Trends in Astrodynamics and Applications III. AIP Conference Proceedings, 886 (1). American Institute of Physics/Springer Verlag, New York, pp. 317-336. ISBN 978-0-7354-0389-5

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Over the last few years, the possible scenario of an asteroid threatening to impact the Earth has stimulated an intense debate among the scientific community about possible deviation methods. In this paper we present a comparative assessment of some of the more feasible mitigation schemes reviewed in the literature (i.e. solar collector, nuclear blast, kinetic impactor, low-thrust propulsion and mass driver). For each strategy, a multi-criteria optimization method has been used to construct a set of Pareto optimal solutions, minimizing both the mass of the spacecraft and the warning time, while simultaneously maximizing the deviation. A dominance criterion has then been defined and used to compare all the Pareto sets. The achievable deviation at the MOID, either for a low-thrust or for an impulsive manoeuver, has been computed through a set of analytical formulas. The variation in the orbit of the NEO has been estimated through a deviation action model that takes into account the wet mass of the spacecraft on the Earth. Finally, the technology readiness level of each strategy has been used to recompute a more realistic value for the required warning time.