Lasers for Asteroid and Debris Deflection
Editors: Massimiliano Vasile, Edmondo Minisci
In Asteroid and Space Debris Manipulation: Advances from the Stardust Research Network, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc, pages 291-328, Jan/2016. ISBN: 978-1-62410-323-0.
In recent years it has become clear that the increasing population of space debris could lead to catastrophic consequences in the near term. The Kessler syndrome (where the density of objects in orbit is high enough that collisions could set off a cascade) is now more realistic than when it was first proposed in 1978. Although statistically less likely to occur than an orbital collision, an asteroid impact on Earth could have devastating consequences. Asteroids and space debris represent a significant hazard for both space and terrestrial assets; at the same time asteroids also represent an opportunity.
Asteroid and Space Debris Manipulation features material initially developed for lectures presented at the Opening Training School of Stardust, a training and research network devoted to developing and mastering techniques for asteroid and space debris monitoring, removal/deflection, and exploitation. The book covers a range of topics and disciplines developed within Stardust and provides a mixture of fundamental material, practical applications, and examples of key enabling technologies for the future.
One of the key goals of Stardust is to train the next generation of engineers and scientists to turn the threat represented by asteroids and space debris into an opportunity and mitigate, if not remove, the threat of an impact. Stardust integrates multiple disciplines, from robotics to applied mathematics, from computational intelligence to astrodynamics, to find practical and effective solutions to the asteroid and space debris issue.