Design of a Surface Albedo Modification Payload for Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Mitigation
The development of the Surface Albedo Treatment System (SATS) onboard a spacecraft mission to the near earth asteroid (NEA) Apophis in 2012 is an innovative concept of deflecting NEAs from possible impact with the Earth through altering the Yarkovsky effect, a non-secular force in the solar system due to uneven surface thermal emission most profoundly affecting small rotating bodies subjected to sunlight. Though this force is small, its magnitude can be dramatic if extended over a period of time and if it uses the close approach of an asteroid near Earth to magnify the perturbation. The payload dispenses colored powder called albedo changing particles (ACPs) onto the surface changing its albedo and indirectly the surface temperature which changes the Yarkovsky effect. This study gives an in-depth description of both computational and experimental parts of the design of this system with primary focus on initial ground test setup. The initial experiments proposed to design the SATS is outlined in detail and justified by the mission criterion of interest as well as modeling the actual dispersal on the surface.
Ge, Shen (2011). Design of a Surface Albedo Modification Payload for Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Mitigation. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from