A huge number of near-earth asteroids (NEAs) orbit the sun, and among them 2,072 NEAs are registered in the Minor Planet Center (MPC) database as potentially dangerous near-earth asteroids (PHAs). These PHAs often come close to Earth’s orbit and therefore the danger posed by PHAs is still a very real and ever-present threat. Faced with potential threats from PHA effects, asteroid defense has been discussed with growing interest. Monitoring for and early warning about those PHAs is the premise of planetary defense.
In a research paper recently published in Space: Science & TechnologyXiangyu Li, of the School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, and co-authors propose the new concept of a monitoring constellation of heterogeneous wide-field near-earth asteroid (NEA) surveyors (CROWN), in which six space-based surveyors would be loosely deployed in Venus-like orbits to detect the NEAs along the direction of the sunlight.
The authors discuss the concept and overall design of the NEA surveillance constellation. In general, an asteroid defense system must obey the circle of OODA, which includes observation, orientation, decision and action.
The proposed CROWN would be an important part of the asteroid defense system, which would be mainly responsible for observation and orientation, i.e. the detection and early warning of the PHAs and tracking and determination of the target’s orbit (OD). The surveillance constellation would contain a mothership and six daughter patrols (optical telescopes in space).
The mothership would provide the maneuverability necessary for transfer and deployment. Six daughter surveyors would be loosely deployed on Venus-like orbits and equipped with the telescopes pointing backwards to the sun to detect NEAs approaching from the sun’s direction.
In addition, the methods and aspects for evaluating the performance of the proposed CROWN are presented. In general, the performance of a surveillance constellation can be evaluated in setup, surveyor and payload aspects. For each aspect, both the power and the costs are considered.
For the constellation, capabilities include surveillance convergence and OD performance. The cost of the setup would include the energy required for transfer, deployment and maintenance. The performance of a single surveyor can be assessed in terms of life cycle costs and relatively favorable cost-benefit ratios. The payload performance indices include sensitivity, accuracy, power consumption, and price.
Finally, the authors introduce the CROWN’s overall mission, which comprises four phases.
Facilitate the development of LEO mega constellations
Xingyu Zhou et al, Near-Earth Asteroid Surveillance Constellation in the Sun-Venus Three-Body System, Space: Science & Technology (2022). DOI: 10.34133/2022/9864937
Provided by Beijing Institute of Technology Press Co., Ltd
Quote: A proposal for monitoring potentially dangerous asteroids near Earth (2022, October 17) retrieved October 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-potentially-hazardous-near-earth- asteroids.html
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