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The Design of a Space-based Observation and Tracking System for Interstellar Objects

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2020

Ravi teja Nallapu, Yinan Xu, Abraham Marquez, Tristan Schuler, Jekan Thangavelautham

(Submitted on 3 Feb 2020)

The recent observation of interstellar objects, 1I/Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov cross the solar system opened new opportunities for planetary science and planetary defense. As the first confirmed objects originating outside of the solar system, there are myriads of origin questions to explore and discuss, including where they came from, how did they get here and what are they composed of. Besides, there is a need to be cognizant especially if such interstellar objects pass by the Earth of potential dangers of impact. Specifically, in the case of Oumuamua, which was detected after its perihelion, passed by the Earth at around 0.2 AU, with an estimated excess speed of 60 km/s relative to the Earth. Without enough forewarning time, a collision with such high-speed objects can pose a catastrophic danger to all life Earth. Such challenges underscore the importance of detection and exploration systems to study these interstellar visitors. The detection system can include a spacecraft constellation with zenith-pointing telescope spacecraft. After an event is detected, a spacecraft swarm can be deployed from Earth to flyby past the visitor. The flyby can then be designed to perform a proximity operation of interest. This work aims to develop algorithms to design these swarm missions through the IDEAS (Integrated Design Engineering & Automation of Swarms) architecture. Specifically, we develop automated algorithms to design an Earth-based detection constellation and a spacecraft swarm that generates detailed surface maps of the visitor during the rendezvous, along with their heliocentric cruise trajectories.

Comments: 19 pages, 17 figures, AAS GNC Conferences 2020/Advances in Astronautical Sciences

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Neural and Evolutionary Computing (cs.NE); Systems and Control (eess.SY)

Cite as: arXiv:2002.00984 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2002.00984v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: Jekan Thangavelautham [

[v1] Mon, 3 Feb 2020 19:09:18 UTC (1,352 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/2002.00984

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