Solar Yacht can change the trajectory of a potentially dangerous asteroid

Flotilla of spacecraft theoretically capable asteroid shield from the sun, causing it to move in a different direction.
Several of these "boats", collected in a single fleet — and Apophis is not terrible, French scientists said.

The idea, proposed by the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), was announced at the symposium, which was held at the New York College of Technology. It involves the launch of devices operating on a "solar sail" (by the pressure of sunlight) to the asteroid Apophis.

The asteroid was discovered in 2004. According to calculations of astronomers in the 2029-meters, he has to go away 36,8-37,6 thousand miles from Earth. There is a theoretical possibility that the collision of a celestial body with the Earth in 2036. It is estimated to be 1 in 250,000. In 2068, the odds are 1 in 333,000.

Affect the trajectory of Apophis in several ways — for example, pitting his spaceship as proposed a year ago experts Roscosmos. However in this case is difficult to calculate the new direction of the asteroid. A simpler and cheaper version of its destruction by nuclear weapons could lead to unpredictable consequences in the form of randomly flying debris.

CNES project based on another method — uses the Yarkovsky effect. It lies in the fact that the thermal radiation from the heated during the day and cooling at night asteroid's surface creates a weak jet momentum of the celestial body additional acceleration.

Yarkovsky effect is negligible for ultra-body due to weakness and super heating — because of their gravity. It has the greatest value for mid-sized asteroids, what is Apophis.

Sent to him "solar boat" can create a single "shield" that will change the volume of the incoming light, so — will affect the trajectory of the asteroid. Actual launch can take place with the help of Russian carrier rockets in 2016 and 2019, respectively. It is possible that the machine may require additional fuel engines for the best maneuver.

By the way, until scientists determined a possible way to eliminate the threat, NASA is developing "spy asteroid." They should be an infrared space telescope, moving on a trajectory similar to the orbit of Venus. It will track and study celestial bodies passing in the vicinity of the Earth.

With the help of the device is planned for 2020 to catalog 90% of potentially hazardous objects with a diameter of 140 meters.


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