Debris and sample transport about asteroids

D. J. Scheeres, E. Asphaug

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The growing interest in asteroids and asteroid science and the decreasing cost of space missions have seriously motivated the issue of utilizing asteroids for their inherent mineral worth. One aspect of mining operations on asteroids explored here concerns the dynamics of debris and samples that may be ejected from the surface during mining or exploratory operations. The fate of such particles lofted from the surface are of great importance, for they may interfere with orbital operations about the body and, in the worst case, populate an asteroid with a transient `atmosphere' that might render orbital operations unsafe for a significant period of time. Conversely, the low escape speeds on asteroids might enhance remote sensing operations. An orbiting craft could sample different parts of the asteroid by shooting a high-speed projectile into a test location, and then collecting or remotely analyzing the material in the resultant ejecta field. This technique has been suggested for use in a number of upcoming asteroid and comet probes. We begin with a brief overview of the relevant dynamics of objects lofted at low speed from the surface of an asteroid, and then analyze the effects of impacts into an asteroid surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference and Exposition on Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space
EditorsR.G. Galloway, S. Lokaj
Place of PublicationReston, VA, United States
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1998 6th International Conference and Exposition on Engineering Construction, and Operations in Space - Albuquerque, NM, USA
Duration: Apr 26 1998Apr 30 1998


OtherProceedings of the 1998 6th International Conference and Exposition on Engineering Construction, and Operations in Space
CityAlbuquerque, NM, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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