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Architecture for Mitigating Short-Term Warning Cosmic Threats: READI ProjectEarth is being constantly bombarded by a large variety of celestial bodies and has been since its formation 4.5 billion years ago. Among those bodies, mainly asteroids and comets, there are those that have the potential to create large scale destruction upon impact. The only extinction-level impact recorded to date was 65 million years ago, during the era of dinosaurs. The probability of another extinction-level, or even city-killer, impact may be negligible, but the consequences can be severe for the biosphere and for our species. Therefore it is highly imperative for us to be prepared for such a devastating impact in the near future, especially since humanity is at the threshold of wielding technologies that allow us to do so. Majority of scientists, engineers, and policymakers have focused on long-term strategies and warning periods for Earth orbit crossing Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), and have suggested methods and policies to tackle such problems. However, less attention has been paid to short warning period NEO threats. Such NEOs test current technological and international cooperation capabilities in protecting ourselves, and can create unpredictable devastation ranging from local to global scale. The most recent example is the Chelyabinsk incident in Russia. This event has provided a wakeup call for space agencies and governments around the world towards establishing a Planetary Defense Program. The Roadmap for EArth Defense Initiative (READI) is a project by a team of international, intercultural, and interdisciplinary participants of the International Space University's Space Studies Program 2015 hosted by Ohio University, Athens, OH proposing a roadmap for space agencies, governments, and the general public to tackle NEOs with a short warning before impact. Taking READI as a baseline, this paper presents a technical description of methodologies proposed for detection and impact mitigation of a medium-sized comet (up to 800m across) with a short-warning period of two years on a collision course with Earth. The hypothetical comet is on a highly-inclined orbit having a high probability for Earth impact after its perihelion. For detection, we propose a space-based infrared detection system consisting of two satellites located at the Earth-Moon Lagrange points L1 and L2 coupled with space observatories, like the James Webb telescope and the Centennial telescope. These telescopes are supported by ground-based telescopes, like the Arecibo and Green Bank telescope, in the search for NEOs. Upon detection, the comet is tracked constantly using space- and ground-based telescopes. The deflection system is two-pronged, firstly involving the use of a high energy Directed Energy Laser Terminals (DELT) placed at Sun-Earth Lagrange points L4 and L5 so as to initiate and increase the ablation rate of the comet and deviate it from its collision trajectory, and secondly by the Hypervelocity Comet Intercept Vehicle (HCIV), a space-borne system combining a kinetic impactor with a thermonuclear device. The policy and international collaboration aspects to implement these methods are also outlined in the paper. The techniques mentioned could also be applied to mitigate medium-to-large sized asteroids (up to 2km across).
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Nambiar, Shrrirup P.
(International Space Univ., Inc. Strasbourg, France)
Hussein, Alaa
(International Space Univ., Inc. Strasbourg, France)
Silva-Martinez, Jackelynne
(International Space Univ., Inc. Strasbourg, France)
Reinert, Jessica
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Gonzalez, Fernando
(European Space Agency Cologne, Germany)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2016
Publication Date
March 5, 2016
Subject Category
Ground Support Systems And Facilities (Space)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: IEEE Aerospace Conference 2016
Location: Big Sky, MT
Country: United States
Start Date: March 5, 2016
End Date: March 12, 2016
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, PHM Society
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 289972.01.01.01
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Laser Applications
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