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Title: Impact hazard mitigation: understanding the effects of nuclear explosive outputs on comets and asteroids

Abstract

The NASA 2007 white paper ''Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives'' affirms deflection as the safest and most effective means of potentially hazardous object (PHO) impact prevention. It also calls for further studies of object deflection. In principle, deflection of a PHO may be accomplished by using kinetic impactors, chemical explosives, gravity tractors, solar sails, or nuclear munitions. Of the sudden impulse options, nuclear munitions are by far the most efficient in terms of yield-per-unit-mass launched and are technically mature. However, there are still significant questions about the response of a comet or asteroid to a nuclear burst. Recent and ongoing observational and experimental work is revolutionizing our understanding of the physical and chemical properties of these bodies (e.g ., Ryan (2000) Fujiwara et al. (2006), and Jedicke et al. (2006)). The combination of this improved understanding of small solar-system bodies combined with current state-of-the-art modeling and simulation capabilities, which have also improved dramatically in recent years, allow for a science-based, comprehensive study of PHO mitigation techniques. Here we present an examination of the effects of radiation from a nuclear explosion on potentially hazardous asteroids and comets through Monte Carlo N-Particle code (MCNP) simulation techniques. MCNP is amore » general-purpose particle transport code commonly used to model neutron, photon, and electron transport for medical physics reactor design and safety, accelerator target and detector design, and a variety of other applications including modeling the propagation of epithermal neutrons through the Martian regolith (Prettyman 2002). It is a massively parallel code that can conduct simulations in 1-3 dimensions, complicated geometries, and with extremely powerful variance reduction techniques. It uses current nuclear cross section data, where available, and fills in the gaps with analytical models where data are not available. MCNP has undergone extensive verification and validation and is considered the gold-standard for particle transport. (Forrest B. Brown, et al., ''MCNP Version 5,'' Trans. Am. Nucl. Soc., 87, 273, November 2002.) Additionally, a new simulation capability using MCNP has become available to this collaboration. The first results of this new capability will also be presented.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
992222
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-09-05563; LA-UR-09-5563
TRN: US1007706
DOE Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: AMOS '09 ; September 1, 2009 ; Maui, HI
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99; ACCELERATORS; ASTEROIDS; CHEMICAL EXPLOSIVES; CHEMICAL PROPERTIES; COMETS; CROSS SECTIONS; ELECTRONS; EPITHERMAL NEUTRONS; KINETICS; MILITARY EQUIPMENT; MITIGATION; NASA; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVES; PHYSICS; RADIATIONS; SAFETY; SOLAR SYSTEM; VALIDATION; VERIFICATION

Citation Formats

Clement, Ralph R C, Plesko, Catherine S, Bradley, Paul A, and Conlon, Leann M. Impact hazard mitigation: understanding the effects of nuclear explosive outputs on comets and asteroids. United States: N. p., 2009. Web.
Clement, Ralph R C, Plesko, Catherine S, Bradley, Paul A, & Conlon, Leann M. Impact hazard mitigation: understanding the effects of nuclear explosive outputs on comets and asteroids. United States.
Clement, Ralph R C, Plesko, Catherine S, Bradley, Paul A, and Conlon, Leann M. Thu . "Impact hazard mitigation: understanding the effects of nuclear explosive outputs on comets and asteroids". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/992222.
@article{osti_992222,
title = {Impact hazard mitigation: understanding the effects of nuclear explosive outputs on comets and asteroids},
author = {Clement, Ralph R C and Plesko, Catherine S and Bradley, Paul A and Conlon, Leann M},
abstractNote = {The NASA 2007 white paper ''Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives'' affirms deflection as the safest and most effective means of potentially hazardous object (PHO) impact prevention. It also calls for further studies of object deflection. In principle, deflection of a PHO may be accomplished by using kinetic impactors, chemical explosives, gravity tractors, solar sails, or nuclear munitions. Of the sudden impulse options, nuclear munitions are by far the most efficient in terms of yield-per-unit-mass launched and are technically mature. However, there are still significant questions about the response of a comet or asteroid to a nuclear burst. Recent and ongoing observational and experimental work is revolutionizing our understanding of the physical and chemical properties of these bodies (e.g ., Ryan (2000) Fujiwara et al. (2006), and Jedicke et al. (2006)). The combination of this improved understanding of small solar-system bodies combined with current state-of-the-art modeling and simulation capabilities, which have also improved dramatically in recent years, allow for a science-based, comprehensive study of PHO mitigation techniques. Here we present an examination of the effects of radiation from a nuclear explosion on potentially hazardous asteroids and comets through Monte Carlo N-Particle code (MCNP) simulation techniques. MCNP is a general-purpose particle transport code commonly used to model neutron, photon, and electron transport for medical physics reactor design and safety, accelerator target and detector design, and a variety of other applications including modeling the propagation of epithermal neutrons through the Martian regolith (Prettyman 2002). It is a massively parallel code that can conduct simulations in 1-3 dimensions, complicated geometries, and with extremely powerful variance reduction techniques. It uses current nuclear cross section data, where available, and fills in the gaps with analytical models where data are not available. MCNP has undergone extensive verification and validation and is considered the gold-standard for particle transport. (Forrest B. Brown, et al., ''MCNP Version 5,'' Trans. Am. Nucl. Soc., 87, 273, November 2002.) Additionally, a new simulation capability using MCNP has become available to this collaboration. The first results of this new capability will also be presented.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2009},
month = {1}
}

Conference:
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