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17728Fwd: Acta Astronautica : Planetary Defense From Space: Part 1-Keplerian Theory

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  • Frits Westra
    Dec 15, 2004
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      Acta Astronautica
      Volume 55, Issue 12 , December 2004, Pages 991-1006


      Planetary Defense From Space: Part 1-Keplerian Theory

      Claudio Maccone


      A system of two space bases housing missiles is proposed to achieve the
      Planetary Defense of the Earth against dangerous asteroids and comets. We
      show that the layout of the Earth?Moon system with the five relevant
      Lagrangian (or libration) points in space leads naturally to only one,
      unmistakable location of these two space bases within the sphere of
      influence of the Earth. These locations are at the two Lagrangian points
      L1 (in between the Earth and the Moon) and L3 (in the direction opposite
      to the Moon from the Earth).

      We show that placing bases of missiles at L1 and L3 would cause those
      missiles to deflect the trajectory of asteroids by hitting them
      orthogonally to their impact trajectory toward the Earth, so as to
      maximize their deflection. We show that the confocal conics are the best
      class of trajectories fulfilling this orthogonal deflection requirement.

      An additional remark is that the theory developed in this paper is just a
      beginning of a larger set of future research work. In fact, while in this
      paper we only develop the Keplerian analytical theory of the Optimal
      Planetary Defense achievable from the Earth?Moon Lagrangian points L1 and
      L3, much more sophisticated analytical refinements would be needed to:
      1. Take into account many perturbation forces of all kinds acting on both
      the asteroids and missiles shot from L1 and L3;
      2. add more (non-optimal) trajectories of missiles shot from either the
      Lagrangian points L4 and L5 of the Earth?Moon system or from the surface
      of the Moon itself;
      3. encompass the full range of missiles currently available to the US (and
      possibly other countries) so as to really see "which asteroids could be
      diverted by which missiles", even in the very simplified scheme outlined

      Outlined for the first time in February 2002, our Confocal Planetary
      Defense concept is a Keplerian Theory that proved simple enough to catch
      the attention of scholars, representatives of the US Military and popular
      writers. These developments could possibly mark the beginning of an "all
      embracing" mathematical vision of Planetary Defense beyond all learned
      activities, dramatic movies and unknown military plans covered by secret.

      Copyright © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.