Roberto Gorelli points our attention at a recently published meteor related paper.
Meteoroid Stream Formation Due to the Extraction of Space Resources from Asteroids
By Logan Fladeland, Aaron C. Boley, and Michael Byers
Abstract: Asteroid mining is not necessarily a distant prospect. Building on the earlier mission Hayabusa, two spacecraft (Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx) have recently rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroids and will return samples to Earth. While there is significant science motivation for these missions, there are also resource interests. Space agencies and commercial entities are particularly interested in ices and water-bearing minerals that could be used to produce rocket fuel in deep space. The internationally coordinated roadmaps of major space agencies depend on utilizing the natural resources of such celestial bodies. Several companies have already created plans for intercepting and extracting water and minerals from near-Earth objects, as even a small asteroid could have high economic worth.
The low surface gravity of asteroids could make the release of mining waste and the subsequent formation of debris streams a consequence of asteroid mining. Proposed strategies that would contain material during extraction could be inefficient or could still require the purposeful jettison of mining waste to avoid the need to manage unwanted mass. Since all early mining targets are expected to be near-Earth asteroids due to their orbital accessibility, these streams could be Earth-crossing and create risks for Earth and lunar satellite populations, as well as humans and equipment on the lunar surface.
Using simulations, we explore the formation of mining debris streams by directly integrating particles released from four select asteroids. Radiation effects are taken into account, and a range of debris sizes are explored. The simulation results are used to investigate the timescales for debris stream formation, the sizes of the streams, and the meteoroid fluxes compared with sporadic meteoroids. We find that for prodigious mining activities resulting in the loss of a few percent of the asteroid’s mass or more, it is possible to produce streams that exceed the sporadic flux during stream crossing for some meteoroid sizes.
The results of these simulations are intended to highlight potential unintended consequences that could result from NewSpace activity, including for the future development of international space law. Although the 1967 Outer Space Treaty established that celestial bodies may not be subject to “national appropriation”, it did not directly address the extraction of space resources by commercial actors. Based on one of several possible interpretations of the Outer Space Treaty, in 2015 the United States enacted domestic legislation according its citizens the right to possess and sell space resources. Luxembourg established its own domestic legal framework in 2017 and provided financial incentives for space mining companies to incorporate in Luxembourg. Russia has recently announced that it is exploring similar legislation. These three countries might regulate their companies responsibly, but how will the international community respond if space mining companies incorporate in flag-of-convenience states? Will new international rules be adopted to prevent negative human-caused changes to the space environment?
You can download this paper for free: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1911/1911.12840.pdf (10 pages).
Older meteor library news:
- Estimating trajectories of meteors: an observational Monte Carlo approach – II. Results, by Denis Vida, Peter G. Brown, Margaret Campbell-Brown, Paul Wiegert and Peter S. Gural. (27 November 2019).
- Estimating trajectories of meteors: an observational Monte Carlo approach – I. Theory, by Denis Vida, Peter S. Gural, Peter G. Brown, Margaret Campbell-Brown and Paul Wiegert. (11 November 2019).
- Meteor shower activity profiles and the use of orbital dissimilarity (D) criteria, by Althea V. Moorhead. (25 October 2019).
- A fireball and potentially hazardous binary near-Earth asteroid (164121) 2003 YT1, by Toshihiro Kasuga, Mikiya Sato, Masayoshi Ueda, Yasunori Fujiwara, Chie Tsuchiya, and Jun-ichi Watanabe. (18 October 2019).
- Spectral and orbital survey of medium-sized meteoroids, by Pavol Matlovic, Juraj Tóth, Regina Rudawska, Leonard Kornoš and Adriana Pisarcíková. (7 August 2019).
- Rising from Ashes or Dying Flash? Mega Outburst of Small Comet 289P/Blanpain in 2013, by Quanzhi Ye (叶泉志) and David L. Clark. (19 June 2019).
- Discovery of a Meteor of Interstellar Origin, by Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb. (10 June 2019).
- A Mathematical Model for Simulating Meteor Showers, by M. Cardinot and A. Namen. (4 June 2019).
- The 2019 Taurid resonant swarm: prospects for ground detection of small NEOs, by David Clark, Paul Wiegert and Peter G. Brown. (28 May 2019).
- Analysis of the June 2, 2016 bolide event over Arizona, by Csaba Palotai, Ramanakumar Sankar, Dwayne L. Free, J. Andreas Howell, Elena Botella and Daniel Batcheldor. (25 May 2019).
- Identifying Interstellar Objects Trapped in the Solar System through Their Orbital Parameters, by Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb. (5 May 2019).
- Meteor Shower Modeling: Past and Future Draconid Outbursts, by A. Egal, P. Wiegert, P. G. Brown, D. E. Moser, M. Campbell-Brown, A. Moorhead, S. Ehlert and N. Moticska. (1 May 2019).
- Meteoroid structure and fragmentation, by M. D. Campbell-Brown. (24 March 2019).
- Solar cycle variation in radar meteor rates, by M. D. Campbell-Brown. (26 February 2019).
- A New Meteoroid Model, by Valeri V. Dikarev, Eberhard Grün, William J. Baggaley, David P. Galligan, Markus Landgraf, Rüdiger Jehn. (12 February 2019).
- Lunar impacts, by Costantino Sigismondi. (12 February 2019).
- Lunar impact flashes, by C. Avdellidou and J. Vaubaillon. (10 February 2019).
- The Geminid parent body: (3200) Phaethon, by Patrick A. Taylor, Edgard G. Rivera-Valentín, Lance A.M. Benner, Sean E. Marshall, Anne K. Virkki, Flaviane C.F. Venditti, Luisa F. Zambrano-Marin, Sriram S. Bhiravarasu, Betzaida Aponte-Hernandez, Carolina Rodriguez Sanchez-Vahamonde and Jon D. Giorgini. (10 February 2019).
- Sun approaching asteroids and meteor streams, by Quanzhi Ye and Mikael Granvik. (10 February 2019).
- Waiting to make an impact: A probable excess of near-Earth asteroids in 2018 LA-like orbits, by C. de la Fuente Marcos and R. de la Fuente Marcos. (18 December 2018).
- What mechanisms dominate the activity of Geminid Parent (3200) Phaethon?, by LiangLiang Yu, Wing-Huen Ip and Tilman Spohn. (6 November 2018).
- The Draconid meteoroid stream 2018: prospects for satellite impact detection, by Auriane Egal, Paul Wiegert, Peter G. Brown, Danielle E. Moser, Althea V. Moorhead and William J. Cooke (21 September 2018).
- Modeling the measurement accuracy of pre-atmosphere velocities of meteoroids, by Denis Vida, Peter G. Brown and Margaret Campbell-Brown (15 July 2018).
- The Mayas and Eta Aquariids in AD 250-909, by J.H. Kinsman and D.J. Asher (31 July 2017).