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Catching an Asteroid

22 Apr 2013, 00:04 UTC
Catching an Asteroid
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

In Capturing Near-Earth Asteroids around Earth, Hasnain, Lamb and Ross look at two delta Vs:1) Delta V to nudge an asteroid's heliocentric orbit so the rock passes through the earth's sphere of influence.2) Once in Earth's sphere influence, the delta V to make the hyperbolic orbit an elliptical capture orbit about the earth.They don't try to find minimum delta V to reach an asteroid. Rather they try to determine whether low thrust ion engines can impart the needed delta V within plausible time frames.I want to find asteroids that take the least delta V.A good resource is JPL's NEO Close Approach page. To find orbits that already pass close to earth's sphere of influence, choose Nominal Distance less than or equal to 5 Lunar Distances. To find asteroids that don't need to shed too much velocity once in earth's sphere of influence, Sort by V-infinity:Near the top of the resulting page is 2008 HU4's close encounter in 2015. Here is a picture of 2008 HU4's 2015 fly by:To draw this picture I used position vectors generated by Horizon's Ephemeris page. I asked for position vectors in 3 day increments ranging from a month before to a month after the fly ...

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