Gravitational Tractor Strategies

Many asteroids and comets are composed of piles of disconnected rubble. Deflection strategies that rely on kinetic impact or deflection by explosion would not necessarily work on these types of asteroids, since any impact would only deflect the fragment that it directly hit. One alternative type of deflection strategy involves slowly moving these asteroid rubble piles by moving a massive spacecraft near the asteroid and letting the gravitational attraction of the spacecraft slowly pull the asteroid out of threatening orbit. since both the asteroid and the spacecraft would have a mutual gravitational attraction, the asteroid could be slowly pulled in one direction if small rockets on the spacecraft are used to counter the attraction toward the asteroid, and slowly pull it out of a path dangerous to Earth. This strategy would take several years to be effective.

Continue reading here: Other Strategies

Was this article helpful?

0 0