Mitigation of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids

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M. J. S. Belton
Cambridge University Press, Sep 6, 2004 - Science - 414 pages
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It is known that large asteroids and comets can collide with the Earth with severe consequences. Although the chances of a collision in a person's lifetime are small, collisions are a random process and could occur at any time. This book, which was first published in 2004, collects the latest thoughts and ideas of scientists concerned with mitigating the threat of hazardous asteroids and comets. It reviews knowledge of the population of potential colliders, including their numbers, locations, orbits, and how warning times might be improved. The structural properties and composition of their interiors and surfaces are reviewed, and their orbital response to the application of pulses of energy is discussed. Difficulties of operating in space near, or on the surface of, very low mass objects are examined. The book concludes with a discussion of the problems faced in communicating the nature of the impact hazard to the public.

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Recent progress in interpreting the nature of the nearEarth object population
Earth impactors orbital characteristics and warning times
The role of radar in predicting and preventing asteroid and comet collisions with Earth
Interior structures for asteroids and cometary nuclei
What we know and dont know about surfaces of potentially hazardous small bodies
About deflecting asteroids and comets
Scientific requirements for understanding the nearEarth asteroid population
Physical properties of comets and asteroids inferred from fireball observations
Seismological investigation of asteroid and comet interiors
Lander and penetrator science for nearEarth object mitigation studies
Optimal interception and deflection of Earthapproaching asteroids using lowthrust electric propulsion
Close proximity operations at small bodies orbiting hovering and hopping
Mission operations in lowgravity regolith and dust
Impacts and the public communicating the nature of the impact hazard
Towards a national program to remove the threat of hazardous NEOs

Mitigation technologies and their requirements
Peering inside nearEarth objects with radio tomography

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About the author (2004)

Donald Yeomans manages NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office and JPL's Solar System Dynamics Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

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