Simulations of defense strategies for Bennu: Material characterization and impulse delivery

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Assessments of asteroid deflection strategies depend on material characterization to reduce the uncertainty in predictions of the deflection velocity resulting from impulsive loading. In addition to strength, equation of state, the initial state of the material including its competency (i.e. fractured or monolithic) and the amount of micro- or macroscopic porosity are important considerations to predict the thermomechanical response. There is recent interest in observing near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu due to its classification of being potentially hazardous with close approaches occurring every 6 years. Bennu is relatively large with a nominal diameter of 492 m, density estimates ranging from 0.9-1.26 g/cm3 and is composed mainly of carbonaceous chondrite. There is a lack of data for highly porous carbonaceous chondrite at very large pressures and temperatures. In the absence of the specific material composition and state (e.g. layering, porosity as a function of depth) on Bennu we introduce a continuum constitutive model based on the response of granular materials and provide impact and standoff explosion simulations to investigate the response of highly porous materials to these types of impulsive loading scenarios. Simulations with impact speeds of 5 km/s show that the shock wave emanating from the impact site is highly dispersive and that a 10% porous material has a larger compacted volume compared with a 40% porous material with the same bulk density due to differences in compaction response. A three-dimensional simulation of a 190 kT standoff explosion 160 m off the surface of a shape model of Bennu estimated a deflection velocity of 10 cm/s.




Herbold, E. B., Owen, J. M., Swift, D. C., & Miller, P. L. (2015). Simulations of defense strategies for Bennu: Material characterization and impulse delivery. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 103, pp. 173–180). Elsevier Ltd.

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