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LUNAR SENTINEL : Short Warning, Emergency Response, Planetary Defense from the Moon

Author: 
Madhu Thangavelu
Topic: 
Human Exploration & Destination Drivers
Delivered As: 
Poster
Abstract Text: 

While early detection of hazardous objects is the preferred goal of all planetary defense initiatives, currently, detection of all hazardous objects that are This presentation focuses on using our Moon as an emergency layer of defense for planetary defense; mitigating small “city killer” type NEO/cometary fragment threats that are still difficult to detect well in advance using current technologies. Merits and challenges are addressed.
Recent progress in Directed Energy(DE) systems show promising results. The US Navy demonstrated a 30kW laser weapon system with pinpoint accuracy and instantaneous results and this technology continues to ramp up in energy levels and deliverable power, not to mention compact overall system footprint, enabling routine fieldability. Several mobile HEL systems are being tested currently. High energy laser(HEL) beams focused on bodies like water-ice rich cometary surfaces can analyze constituents, provide accurate morphology and could be used to vaporize it.
A Directed Energy system complex mounted on the far-side equator and poles of the Moon could bea versatile solution to mitigate small asteroids, and especially incoming cometary fragments in high energy trajectories[Figure 1]. Interception of PHOs at close range ( HEL systems on the Moon will require crew for assembly and upkeep. It can be a versatile asset including support for extreme range communications, illuminating very faint deep space objects, probing and spectrally characterizing asteroids, mitigating micrometeoritic showers and providing protection from impacting debris as well as beaming propulsion and power for spacecraft.

Co-Authors: 
Giovani. O. Delle Monache, Bradford Behr and Simone Dell'Agnello...
SSERVI Identifier: 
NESF2016-137

About SSERVI
Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."