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SCIENTIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR NEO IMPACT MITIGATION M. J.S. BELTON1, E.ASPHAUG2 W. HUEBNER3 , D. YEOMANS4 1 Belton Space Exploration Initiatives, LLC, Tucson, AZ 85716, USA 2 University of California at Santa Cruz, CA, USA 3 South West Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, USA 4 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. USA The time (~50 y) for a sizable probability that a near-Earth object (NEO) capable of causing substantial regional devastation will be found on a collision trajectory is, at the present epoch, shown to be about the same order as the time necessary to assure the development of an appropriate mitigation technology and to learn how to apply it to the incoming NEO. This gives some urgency to a consideration of the scientific foundations on which such mitigation technologies must be based. While programs for the detection of possible impactors are well in hand and ideas on how to apply the energy required to either disrupt or deflect an incoming impactor abound (e.g. in Hazards due to Comets & Asteroids, T. Gehrels, Ed.), little published work exists that addresses the detailed scientific (and technical) requirements for mitigation. In this context, the need for a space exploration program is widely recognized (e.g. in the Spaceguard Survey report, Morrison, 1992; Space Surveillance, Asteroids and Comets, and Space Debris, USAF Science Advisory Board report, 1997) and, more recently, a UK Task Force on NEOs has recommended that a coordinated set of rendezvous missions based on “inexpensive” microsatellite technology be considered. We present the results of a preliminary analysis of scientific requirements (i.e., what must be learned about the impactor population and how well) that includes determination of their mass and size, but most importantly their internal properties such as mass distribution, internal fracture state, composition, material strength, etc. Local investigations, such as drilling and digging, can provide some of these data, but are restricted to a limited depth. On the other hand global investigations using radio and seismic wave propagation and scattering can provide significant complementary information throughout the entire body. Various techniques will be presented. We also discuss the associated priorities of a space-based exploration program optimized to provide a secure scientific foundation for future NEO impact mitigation technologies and techniques. Finally, we discuss the roles of the CONTOUR, Deep Impact, Rosetta, Galileo, NEAR and a new mission concept - DEEP INTERIOR - in this context. We show that while microsatellite missions may have an important role to play in this future exploration, there is a significant set of essential scientific requirements that they may not be able to address adequately.
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