The Trojan Asteroids as Bases to Monitor other Asteroids Potentially Dangerous for Earth

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C. Maccone; L. Bussolino (2002), JBIS, 55, 109-114

Refcode: 2002.55.109
Keywords: Near Earth Objects, asteriods, Hohmann transfer, Lagrangian points

The Lagrangian points L4 and L5 of the Sun-Jupiter system and the Lagrangian point L5 of the Sun-Mars system are considered for the following two types of missions to monitor asteroid hazards to Earth:

(1) Missions going from the Earth to either of the Jupiter Trojans at L4 and L5 by virtue of a Hohmann transfer requiring about 2.5 years of flight. Once there, a reconnaisance mission could determine which one of the Trojans is more suitable to host an optical telescope to detect the NEOs, to be launched in a subsequent mission. Alternatively, the Jupiter Trojans could be used to host a permanent space base for missiles capable of deflecting the trajectory of dangerous NEOs when these are so far away from the Sun that their Sun-centric speed is very low. The deflecting missile performance would therefore be fully optimised, increasing the chance of success of a dangerous NEO's deflection mission.

(2) Missions with the same goals as above, but departing from Mars rather than the Earth. Of course,this set of missions belongs to the far future, when one or more permanent human bases will have been established on Mars, and the relevant launch facilities could be used. However, the basic advantage of such missions with respect to those described at (1) will be the shorter flight time and smaller v that we compute in this paper.

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