Comparative analysis of redirection methods for asteroid resource exploitation
Bazzocchi et al
An in-depth analysis and systematic comparison of asteroid redirection methods is performed within a resource exploitation framework using different assessment mechanisms. Through this framework, mission objectives and constraints are specified for the redirection of an asteroid from a near-Earth orbit to a stable orbit in the Earth-Moon system. The paper provides a detailed investigation of five redirection methods, i.e., ion beam, tugboat, gravity tractor, laser sublimation, and mass ejector, with respect to their capabilities for a redirection mission. A set of mission level criteria are utilized to assess the performance of each redirection method, and the means of assigning attributes to each criterion is discussed in detail. In addition, the uncertainty in physical characteristics of the asteroid population is quantified through the use of Monte Carlo analysis. The Monte Carlo simulation provides insight into the performance robustness of the redirection methods with respect to the targeted asteroid range. Lastly, the attributes for each redirection method are aggregated using three different multicriteria assessment approaches, i.e., the analytical hierarchy process, a utility-based approach, and a fuzzy aggregation mechanism. The results of each assessment approach as well as recommendations for further studies are discussed in detail.