Questions tagged [asteroid]

Questions about asteroids, bodies in the solar system smaller then planets which orbit the sun.

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How to calculate the max mass and speed of an asteroid capturable by gravity assist?

After reading this question and the answers, I am wondering about the limits of slingshot method to capture an asteroid into a planet orbit. Is it possible to calculate if an asteroid can be captured ...
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9 votes
6 answers
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How could 99942 Apophis, in 2029, be captured and brought into a low Earth orbit?

I'm currently attempting to plan out a mission where, in 2029, during Apophis's close approach to Earth, a rocket is sent up to intercept Apophis and decelerate it, making it orbit the Earth. At it's ...
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11 votes
5 answers
3k views

What processes create an object with an interstellar velocity?

An object like Oumuamua originates in a solar system. This object has roughly the inertia of everything else there. I can imagine stuff on the edge of the accretion zone for a star that...WANDER off......
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3 votes
0 answers
49 views

Positions of asteroids in heliocentric ecliptic (x,y,z) coordinates

I would like to make positions of asteroids in heliocentric ecliptic (x,y,z) coordinates plot for a given date, like in the image below (Matsuoka N. Ryo (CC-BY 4.0)). For that I need so-called state ...
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10 votes
2 answers
202 views

Why are Jupiter's trojans even remotely stable?

The spacecraft Lucy is en route to explore Jupiter's trojan asteroids. Lucy is so named because the trojan asteroids are believed to be fossil remnants from the formation of the solar sytem. ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Smallest known asteroid with moon

The asteroid Didymos is only 780m in "diameter" with a moon, Dimorphos only 170m across. Is Didymos the smallest object known to have a natural satellite? Also, contact binaries where the ...
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4 votes
0 answers
119 views

delta-v for a trip to Bennu asteroid

101955 Bennu has a mean diameter of 490 m (1,610 ft; 0.30 mi) and was the target of the OSIRIS-REx sample return mission. What is the delta-v using a Hohmann transfer orbit to do a round trip from low ...
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  • 573
9 votes
5 answers
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Thorium in space

I am looking at the possibility of future space habitats being powered by Thorium. Main question is where to get Thorium? Could there be a metallic asteroid (like 16 Psyche) that contains Thorium and ...
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4 votes
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In what year was asteroid Donaldjohanson chosen as a target for Lucy?

Asteroid 52246 Donaldjohanson was officially named in 2015. Was it chosen as a target for Lucy before being named?
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  • 4,820
2 votes
1 answer
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How Much Could You Deflect the Path of a 500 meter Diameter Asteroid with 100 STAR48 Rocket Motors

Assume we detected a 500 meter diameter asteroid hurling toward Earth at 10 Km/sec (about half the speed of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs). Assume it has a density of 2.4 g/cm and that we ...
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  • 2,541
25 votes
4 answers
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If an extinction-level asteroid were to be detected, could we avert it?

If an extinction-level asteroid were to be detected on an impact course with Earth, could we avert it effectively with existing technology and systems, such as course adjustment via nuclear missiles? (...
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What took it so long to plan a exploration mission for Trojan asteroids?

There are space probes that flew past asteroids, some came close to it, some orbited and some landed on it and took samples. Those asteroids belonged in the main belt. Now, Lucy will become one of the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
163 views

Can we land on an asteroid and ride on it?

If we could land on an asteroid, not necessarily a human, we would save the fuel consumed for flying the spacecraft and we will benefit by having the systems on it running for a very long time.. If ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Has there ever been an instance of asteroid discovery by radar; seen first by radar rather than being observed after optical discovery?

In a discussion below this answer to Can we use something like RADAR to detect asteroids? I'm complaining that the answer is essentially wrong; Yes, radar is one of the useful tools for detecting and ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Can we use something like RADAR to detect asteroids?

I know that detecting asteroids is difficult because many of them we find are the ones that reflect sunlight but can we use something like RADAR to detect others?
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2 votes
2 answers
96 views

Could a laser array and miniature light sails be used to deflect asteroids that are on a collision path with Earth?

Several projects related to interstellar travel have been proposed, like interstellar travel with miniature light sail starships , or the Breakthrough Starshot project Question. Could a laser array ...
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7 votes
3 answers
1k views

What asteroids have the least delta-v to reach?

I think the question needs very little clarification - specific asteroids and/or their asteroid orbit type would answer it. My own interest is in what would best suit targeting for asteroid mining on ...
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2 votes
0 answers
80 views

Is there an estimate for the average mass of all meteoroids and asteroids hitting Earth's atmosphere in one year?

I wonder how much mass is entering Earth's atmosphere every year in the form of meteoroids and asteroids. This excludes micro-meteoroids, dust particles, molecules etc. Quick search result talks only ...
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6 votes
1 answer
244 views

How can we mine Near Earth Objects?

After skimming this Worldbuilding SE answer, I wonder if any companies or space agencies have plans in place to mine Near Earth Objects(NEOs) in the future.
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2 votes
0 answers
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Why is the Southern Hemisphere of Mars is heavily struck by asteroids while the northern part is relatively smooth?

The northern hemisphere of Mars is smooth with flats lands but areas particularly below the Tharsis rise is heavily cratered, also Hellas basin, one of the largest impact craters is located in the ...
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1 vote
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Nomenclature of Interstellar Objects and Stars [closed]

I tried searching the answer to this on Google for hours and visited the IAU website as well, but it didn't really clarify my doubt. I was reading about Black Widow Pulsar, which is an "eclipsing ...
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0 votes
2 answers
152 views

Likely ways to move asteroids

Asteroids for mining and to make habitats: what are likely ways to move them? Orion project nuclear explosions might be plausible, but would probably be expensive, use very heavy materials from Earth, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
180 views

Horizons ephemeris - how did they calculate that “Keplerian GM” value?

I’ve been playing with the NAIF’s SPICE library for some time (CSPICE in particular). In order to obtain the state vector of an asteroid from its osculating elements, I’m calling the “conics_c” ...
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17 votes
8 answers
5k views

Why do many comets & asteroids keep moving through the solar system, but space ships need fuel to do so?

Why do many comets & asteroids keep moving through the solar system (for centuries), after they were dislodged from their parent bodies after a cosmic event/explosion? But a space-shuttle ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Minimum delta V required to return a piece of metallic asteroid 16 Psyche to Earth?

Suppose somebody sent a rover to Psyche 16 and found massive concentrated deposits of platinum-group metals near the surface, and turned it into a 10 ton sphere of platinum/iridium/osmium/gold alloy ...
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0 votes
0 answers
35 views

If I know the masses, positions, and velocities of two objects, how do I calculate their trajectories under gravity?

I was thinking about the effect of a near-miss with an asteroid upon the orbit of the earth around the Sun. My goal is to figure out a formula I could use for a visualization I'd like to build to get ...
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2 votes
2 answers
143 views

Spinning 16 Psyche at Mars L1 to envelop Mars with a magnetosheath?

16 Psyche is theorized to be the remnant iron core of an early small protoplanet that might have had it's surface and mantle stripped away through violent asteroid impacts. Some modeling of possible ...
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5 votes
2 answers
191 views

Gravitational force of asteroid Bennu

How can the gravitational force of Bennu (being so weak) hold the spacecraft in orbit?
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17 votes
5 answers
3k views

How hard is it to fly through the tail of a comet? Has it been done?

The line between comets and asteroids is somewhat blurred (see below) but when we see a big bright tail we at least like to call it a comet. This question is about exploration of the tails of big-tail-...
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2 votes
0 answers
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What are the challenges for delivering bulk asteroid commodities to Earth? [closed]

I think nickel-iron is an extraordinary and perhaps unique resource that is (by Earth market standards) valuable even as a raw and unprocessed commodity - perhaps several thousand US$ per ton for high ...
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8 votes
1 answer
517 views

How can stellar images be "subtracted" from a sequence of exposures? (difference imaging)

The press release UH ATLAS telescope discovers first-of-its-kind asteroid from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii shows an image of an "active asteroid" among a field of stars. ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Atmospheric entry of asteroid mining products

This is a more general question than How to get processed asteroid metals back to Earth in a safe manner That question was actually a quick check to see if a particular idea was plausible. Instead, ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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What programs simulate the orbit of an asteroid over long periods of time?

I am trying to simulate the orbit of an asteroid over a long period of time in order to see the change in the orbit due to a constant force applied to the asteroid. Initially, I used GMAT to simulate ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Would capture of a uranium-rich asteroid open new possibilities?

It seems that energy production in space is a limiting factor. We can use photovoltaics, but they're of minimal value past Mars, and many interesting places (like the moon) have very long nights. The ...
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0 votes
0 answers
50 views

What is the force of asteroids that hit Mars?

Below is a link to an article I was reading (Keeping in mind it was difficult for me to find any other articles of the kind) that talks about how often asteroids hit Mars. Unfortunately, it is very ...
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5 votes
3 answers
383 views

What is the closest asteroid to Earth worth mining?

I found this list, but it doesn't say how close it is to the ground https://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/~lance/delta_v/delta_v.rendezvous.html
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6 votes
1 answer
149 views

Resources on 129 Antigone

I am one of the cast members of an ongoing science-fiction podcast set in an asteroid settlement on 129 Antigone. The settlement is an O’Neill cylinder built from materials harvested from the asteroid,...
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12 votes
1 answer
478 views

Do all dangerous asteroids first pass through keyholes?

Scitech Daily's MIT Engineers Devise the Best Way to Deflect an Incoming Planet-Killer Asteroid Now MIT researchers have devised a framework for deciding which type of mission would be most ...
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  • 148k
53 votes
5 answers
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Does NASA have an end-of-the-world policy?

If an asteroid were detected, shooting towards earth with enough speed and certainty that it would all but guarantee a sequel of the end of the dinosaurs. Observatories and space agencies would almost ...
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6 votes
0 answers
73 views

Could Breakthrough Starshot be used to deflect asteroids and comets?

Would Breakthrough Starshot be able to deflect an asteroid or comet? I have seen thoughts about using the lasers that would launch Breakthrough Starshot to deflect asteroids or comets: https://www....
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1 vote
0 answers
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Would it be possible to make a bubbleworld in an asteroid? [duplicate]

Would it be possible to drill a bore hole into an asteroid, fill it with water tanks and use sunlight to blow a hole large enough to fit a rotating space station inside, seal it off and fill it with ...
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  • 175
4 votes
1 answer
536 views

How big an asteroid could we take out with an ICBM?

Obviously it's not going to be all that big as the intercept would occur only a few minutes before impact and the rubble is still going to hit. However, if the pieces are small enough they go boom in ...
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4 votes
1 answer
197 views

How big would a collection of asteroids near the Moon's L4 point need to be to aggregate naturally into a "stepping stone" for space exploration?

Wouldn't it be useful to catch few meter sized near-Earth asteroids whenever opportunity knocks and "lock them up" at the L4 Langrangian point of our Moon ? Although at the L4 and L5 Lagrangian ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Are the estimated chances of Bennu hitting Earth in the next 200 years still about "1 in 1410" now that OSIRIS REx has scanned it?

This 2016 answer to Does Bennu pose a risk to Earth? And how can OSIRIS-REx's mission save us? says: Does Bennu pose a risk to Earth?: recent calculations produced a cumulative probability of 1 in ...
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  • 148k
2 votes
1 answer
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Could ejecta from asteroid Bennu enter into temporary orbit around it? If so, how?

The New York Times article The Asteroid Was Shooting Rocks Into Space. ‘Were We Safe in Orbit?’ mentions concerns about material ejected from the Bennu entering temporary orbit around the asteroid ...
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  • 148k
2 votes
1 answer
223 views

Could we reverse gravitational slingshot a fast object to slow it down and capture it in an orbit?

I have heard of plans to capture an asteroid in an orbit around the earth, to have it close by so that we could study it more easily. Such objects can have very high velocities, (I assume) possibly ...
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  • 4,234
2 votes
1 answer
143 views

Could a Gravity Tractor be used for mining asteroids?

Recently, I came across the concept of the Gravity Tractor for the first time. And I was intrigued. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_tractor A Gravity Tractor, as I understand it, is a concept ...
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  • 21
5 votes
2 answers
303 views

Bringing an asteroid into reasonably low Earth orbit--can it be done?

Assume plenty of delta-v is available but it's very slow. At first glance it looks easy enough, get capture and spiral in. However, we have that big bully in the sky, aka Luna. Is it possible to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
123 views

Can we use magnetic devices to anchor to asteroids?

One of the challenges about missions to asteroids is staying attached to them when you land. Many asteroids are described as nickel/iron, and we know that both nickel and iron are ferromagnetic. Is it ...
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6 votes
1 answer
117 views

Psyche 16 - What will be learned in 2026?

I've been looking into a lot of the Discovery series missions, and came across the fact that 2 future missions are proposed, one for Jupiter Trojans, another for visiting an asteroid named "Psyche 16"...
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