QUOTE (dilo @ Sep 22 2005, 06:40 AM)
Bob, here the PDF version I downloaded from ArXiv...
The proposed method is simple but seems a little bit inefficient to me... in the example they give, it needs a 10 ton spaceship hoovering 50m above a 200m asteroid for 20 years using a nuclear ion drive!
This is a relatively heavy spacecraft and wide deviation angle of thrust reduce it's efficiency... I have impression that a smaller probe anchored to surface and using in-situ material (heating it or escavating and accelerating material) would be more efficient, even if a little bit more complicated to make...
Dilo and Rodolfo:
Thanks for the file (Rodolfo e-mailed it to me, Dilo posted it).
I have to say that it seems like a perfect way to move asteroids, so long as you catch the blighters early. It's *not* a resource-harvesting technology, for which you would need much more push, but is instead a gentle nudge designed to perturb dangerous visitors away from us at low-cost and with few gotchas. As you may gather, I like it!
It'd also be applicable to Martian terraforming via impacts - you could deliver a fair amount of dust onto the poles to start climate change, etc, or even use an asteroid to punch through the surface of Europa prior to some serious oceanic exploration, or a *real* Deep Impact on a comet, or...
In short, anywhere that a decent-sized bang over a timescale of say ~100 years would be a Good Thing. Just don't use squid as pilots!