Asteroids and Near Earth Objects
Research on future asteroid mitigation and exploration concepts and on new tools to support future asteroid missions.
The asteroid Apophis can be deflected by a lightweight Kinetic Impactor, before its 2029 passage.
The derivation of a very simple analytical formula (what we call the Asteroid Deflection Formula) that relates the asteroid deflection strategy to the subsequent Earth miss-distance.[1-2]
Trade offs between deflection strategies are not always straight forward. In the case of Apophis the choice between a kinetic impactor or a gravity tractor could not be taken on the basis of simple dynamical considerations.
The compilation of a semantic database named "semantic asteroids" containing information on globally optimal trajectories to a large number of NEOs.
ACT has had a leading role in ESA's "NEO Space Mission Preparation" activities. During the first phase, which was successfully completed in February 2003, six different mission concepts were defined that would gather data on hazardous objects and provide us with a better understanding on how to deal with the threat they represent. By doing so, many questions have been answered, but new ones have been posed and a number of key mission aspects (e.g. enabling technologies, mission scenarios and objectives) that deserve some further consideration have been highlighted. ACT performs internal assessments on some of these aspects. For instance, in the area of trajectory optimization, in the different trade-offs between deflection strategies and in the proposal of new, innovative deflection concepts.
- The Semantic Asteroids
- May we deflect asteroids?
- NEO Space Mission Preparation
- Centrifugal Fragmentation of Asteroids
 Izzo, D., Bourdoux, A., Walker, R., and Ongaro, F., Optimal Trajectories for the Impulsive Deflection of NEOs, Acta Astronautica, 59(1-5), pp.294-300, 2006. (link)
 Izzo, D., Optimization of Interplanetary Trajectories for Impulsive and Continuous Asteroid Deflection, Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics, 30(2), pp.401-408, 2007. (link)
 Murdoch, N., Izzo, D., Bombardelli, C., Carnelli, I., Hilgers, A., and Rodgers, D., Electrostatic tractor for near Earth object deflection, Proc 59th Int Astronautics Conf, 2008. (link)
 Sanjurjo, M., Peláez, J., Izzo, D., Purcell, O., Yam, C.H., and Scheeres, D.J., Asteroid Deflection by Means Of Electromagnetic Forces During an Earth Flyby, 1st IAA Planetary Defense Conference, 2009. (link)
 Izzo, D., Olympio, J., and Yam, C.H., Asteroid Deflection Theory: fundamentals of orbital mechanics and optimal control, 1st IAA Planetary Defense Conference, 2009. (link)