Create Your Own Asteroid Mission

2014 Challenge

  • Hashtags:

    #asteroid, #asteroidmission


    [email protected]



    Challenge Description

    How would you send humans to explore an asteroid? How would you send a spacecraft to survey the asteroid belt? And how would you deflect an asteroid that was on a threatening course with Earth?

    Space flight simulators provide the capability to create asteroid mission simulations. See simulators like NASA’s General Mission Analysis Tool and others that can provide 3D visualization of spacecraft, orbital trajectories, and ephemera. Other simulators provide additional simulation capabilities, including Multi-Function Displays, out-of-cockpit views, pod-bay doors, docking, lift-off, and landing or a capability to design launch vehicles and spacecraft by selecting and connecting subsystems. This challenge involves planning, designing, and creating an asteroid mission simulation using one or more of these simulators. Simulations of asteroid surface mission operations can be developed with free open source game engines or the free versions of commercial game engines, provided that the simulations include realistic physics.

    Select a space flight simulator or physics based game engine and study the documentation, Application Programming Interface, video tutorials, and model repository. Develop an asteroid mission and design the spacecraft. Implement the spacecraft and mission with the space flight simulator. Simulate the mission and identify future improvements for the simulation.


    Publicly available space mission simulators have large international communities that provide examples, tutorials, videos, discussion forums, and reusable models and simulations. A mission simulation developed for this challenge can build upon existing models provided that the copyright license allows it and the technologies represented in the model are technically feasible before the simulated start of mission date. A benefit of using publically available simulators is it provides equal opportunities for everyone and it minimizes the possibility of someone modifying the external environment simulation to suit the spacecraft simulation.

    Solution Ideas

    Here are some ways for you to frame this solution:

    Create documented asteroid mission simulations with source files for the simulation, including geometric models, images, textures, scripts, and source code; source files must include comments and associated documentation; and source file documentation must include procedures for executing the simulation, input data ranges, and descriptions of what-if scenarios. Mission simulation documentation can include descriptions and diagrams of the spacecraft and instruments; descriptions and diagrams of the orbital trajectories and results of the simulation including durations, propellant usage, extracted payload; documentation must provide screen-shots of the simulation and explain how it supported the analysis of the mission concept; and documentation must include recommendations for improving the simulation.

    Sample Resources

    Space mission simulators and physics based game engines

    NASA Technical Reports or Research

  • The following projects are solving this challenge:

    • Can we deflect an asteroid that was on a threatening course with Earth using satellite magnets?

      The metallic asteroids are composed of up to 80% iron and 20% a mixture of nickel, iridium, palladium, platinum, gold, and other precious metals. There are those few that are made up of half silicate and half metallic. If a metallic asteroid is happen to be crossing the path of earth here we calc... Visit Project

    • explore-belt-asteroid

      Asteroid belt is a region of the solar system that contains millions of comets, asteroids and small planets. It is located around Mars and Júpiter orbits, but even in Saturn orbit too. The main purpose of this Project is to achieve a space flight to explore the asteroid belt by analizing and cal... Visit Project

    • AstroMonkeys

      Project seeks to aim and place space exploration on new level, to provide us with the needed information on NEA asteroids, while securing the Earth. Visit Project

    • Capture and orbital transfer of Asteroid (2)

      Three challenges when capturing an asteroid in Earth's gravity are attaching a vehicle to the asteroid, halting tumbling, and changing its orbit to intersect Earth's. To attach to the asteroid, we will use a tethered inflatable sail with a flexible capture membrane to contain the asteroid. Tet... Visit Project

    • Hitch hiking guide to Mars

      It will reduce the transfer impulses required in an orbital transfer to get from Earth to Mars. Therefore reducing cost or increasing available weight to use. Why: - Reduce craft mass - Increases available payload weight (for experiments) - Potential to study asteroid - Lowers cost Cha... Visit Project

    • The NEXT step

      Our project aims to provide a new concept for asteroid belt exploration. Looking at the previous asteroid mission each of them visited at most 2 asteroids, ; hence we have thought of a brand new kind of exploration based on more than just a single satellite (such as DAWN was). Starting from this ... Visit Project

    • Apophis Mission

      Our project aims to achieve two goals: 1. Send humans to apophis for an exploration mission 2. Deflect Apophis from its trajectory if it were to endanger earth To fulfill our goals we undertook to design a spacecraft which will allow us to do both. First we thought of using a Ionic Pro... Visit Project

    • skyLAB

      Our project's goal is to destroy threatening asteroid which can enter into Earth's atmosphere. We offer a way to destroy it using resonance. Visit Project

    • cat in space

    • Cat in Space

    • Catching Hathor

      Se plantea una misión para capturar al asteroide Hathor cuando se acerque peligrosamente a la Tierra, y posicionarlo en una nueva órbita donde las probabilidades de impacto sean prácticamente nulas. We propose a mission to catch Hathor asteroid when it will come dangerously to Earth and send i... Visit Project

    • Cat In Space

      Since cats already rule the internet, why can't they also rule the universe? Blast away asteroids as you travel through space! meow meow Visit Project

    • Don't Worry About Asteroids

      #Presentation# The presentation is linked below: (Download to see the high quality picture) Visit Project

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