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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 892395, 8 pages
Research Article

Optimization of Deflection of a Big NEO through Impact with a Small One

1State Key Laboratory of Astronautic Dynamics, Xi’an Satellite Control Center, Xi’an 710043, China
2School of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
3School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710043, China
4Beijing Research Institute of Control and Electronic Technology, Beijing 100038, China

Received 29 July 2014; Accepted 8 November 2014; Published 30 November 2014

Academic Editor: Antonio F. Bertachini A. Prado

Copyright © 2014 Kaijian Zhu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Using a small near-Earth object (NEO) to impact a larger and potentially threatening NEO has been suggested as an effective method to avert a collision with Earth. This paper develops a procedure for analysis of the technique for specific NEOs. First, an optimization method is used to select a proper small body from the database. Some principles of optimality are achieved with the optimization process. Then, the orbit of the small body is changed to guarantee that it flies toward and impacts the big threatening NEO. Kinetic impact by a spacecraft is chosen as the strategy of deflecting the small body. The efficiency of this method is compared with that of a direct kinetic impact to the big NEO by a spacecraft. Finally, a case study is performed for the deflection of the Apophis NEO, and the efficiency of the method is assessed.