Jul 292017

On October 12, asteroid 2014 TC4 will pass *extremely* close to Earth: perhaps 4,200 miles from the surface (but perhaps as far out as 170,000 miles). Fortunately it’s a dinky little guy…no more than 100 feet in diameter, probably smaller. The trajectory is vague because it was only tracked for a few days in 2012, and then it was too small and distant to be seen.

Asteroid Flyby Will Benefit NASA Detection and Tracking Network

An asteroid such as this… smallish, passing close to Earth… would make a *fantastic* early target for interception and capture. Adjust the orbit so it swings past the moon; brake it at closest pass and put the rock into  high Earth orbit. Obviously it’d be better to use Earth and perigee kicks for braking and orbit capture, but just *imagine* the red tape wrapped around that environmental impact statement.




 Posted by at 4:00 pm
  • se jones

    early target for interception and capture

    How early? You gotta mass of over 130,000 metric tons (ISS = 380 t) spinning every 12 minutes, with an earth centric hyperbolic approach of ≈ 7 km/s IIRC. We gotta a lotta work to do in s/c tech to get there. But you know that, I’m just giving you shit.

    12 min rotation means it’s not a rubble pile, which is good (I see that’s actually *slow* for these small bodies), I wonder how much of the asteroid’s mass you’d need to sacrifice for reaction mass if you used RF or optical ablation to stop the rotation? No doubt, somebody’s done that math, but hey it’s funner to SWAG things.

    • publiusr

      I’m hoping one of these things will have a trajectory similar to what Scott wanted (but on its own) and we just have to tweak things a bit

  • Bob