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SPIKE: Evolving Design & Mobility for Asteroid Exploration

posted on 19.06.2020 by Felicity Aldava, Jekan Thangavelautham
This talk was presented on 2020 April 18 at the 2019-20 NASA Arizona Space Grant Symposium. The event was virtually available via Zoom.

Submitted abstract:
There are 2 million asteroids in the solar system that vary in shape, size, composition, and origin. These small bodies can provide critical insight into the origins of the solar system. Sampling the surface and subsurface of these bodies is one of the best ways possible to attain this insight. Current missions can only perform touch and go and have only been able to collect a few samples from a small body. The SPIKE (Spacecraft Penetrator for Increasing Knowledge of NEOs) craft is a unique spacecraft that is a hybrid lander and flyby spacecraft with one or more booms to hop to places on an asteroid. This study aims to use Evolutionary Algorithms to optimize the number of booms to facilitate ‘walking’ over the asteroid surface. The resulting designs can consist of multiple booms to help understand mobility in low-gravity conditions and provide new pathways for exploration beyond touch and go.

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Arizona/NASA Space Grant Consortium