How does a gravity tractor work

Instead of sending an impactor to ram into an approaching object, a gravity tractor device would fly alongside the asteroid for a long period of time (years to decades) and slowly pull it out of Earth’s path. Gravity tractors would be most likely to work on any shape or composition of approaching asteroid, even if it were just a pile of rubble. However, gravity tractors might not be …

The gravity tractor is a proposed method for deflecting asteroids that show a danger of impacting Earth. It consists of a massive (many tons) spacecraft equipped with an ion engine powered by either a solarvoltaic array or a nuclear battery. The tractor flies very close to the asteroid, then fires its thruster to pull somewhat ahead.

Gravity tractor – Wikipedia

Official Site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_tractor

A gravity tractor is a theoretical spacecraft that would deflect another object in space, typically a potentially hazardous asteroid that might impact Earth, without physically contacting it, using only its gravitational field to transmit the required impulse. The gravitational force of a nearby space vehicle, though small, is able to alter the path of a much larger asteroid if the vehicle spends enough time close to it; all that is required is that the vehicle thrust in a consistent direction relativ…

A tiny amount of thrust would suffice to keep the vehicle from falling into the asteroid. Keeping the vehicle relatively close to the asteroid would pull the asteroid behind the …

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What is a gravity tractor?

A gravity tractor is a theoretical spacecraft that would deflect another object in space, typically a potentially hazardous asteroid that might impact Earth, without physically contacting it, using only its gravitational field to transmit the required impulse.

What is the method of towing an asteroid?

The gravity tractor method leverages the mass of the spacecraft to impart a gravitational force on the asteroid, slowly altering the asteroid’s trajectory. ^ Edward T. Lu and Stanley G. Love (10 November 2005), Gravitational tractor for towing asteroids, Nature 438:177–178, doi: 10.1038/438177a.

How much force would it take to move an asteroid?

With these parameters, the required impulse would be: V × M = 0.01 m/s × 10 9 kg = 10 7 N-s, so that the average tractor force on the asteroid for 10 years (which is 3.156×10 8 seconds), would need to be about 0.032 newtons .

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