Guest: Adam Hibberd; Topics: Adam's orbital tracking software to catch 1I Oumuamua on an intercept mission. Listen to the details and the purpose of such a mission.
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We welcomed Adam Hibberd from Coventry, England to the program for a one segment 67 minute discussion relating to a paper he co-wrote, "Project Lyra: Catching 1I/Oumuamua-Mission opportunities after 2024." Our program started with Adam offering us more information about his math and physics background and how he got interested in orbital trajectories and a mission to study and intercept Oumuamua with an instrument package flyby. Plus his software creation work. Much of our program was spent on technical aspects of such a mission, launch windows, travel time, speeding up travel and related topics. To see a list of topics, please check out the tags/key words I used to describe this program as I have copied them below:
Physics, math, guidance algorithm, OITS (Optimum Interplanetary Trajectory Software), MATLAB, Initiative for Interstellar Studies, GitHub, Project Lyra, Oumuamua, Solar Oberth maneuver (SO), Acta Astronautic, Delta V, KISS (Keck Institute for Space Studies), SLS, Oumuamua intercept mission & timeline, nuclear thermal rocket, alternative Laser Sail, interstellar flight, beam propulsion, 2 I/Comet Borisov, flyby missions, essential instruments, optical camera & telescope, HUBBLE Space Telescope, JWST, The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS Astronomical Observatory), Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, the interstellar medium, hydrogen ice.
We had several callers plus email questions for this program. Fremont John called to discuss the SLS and why not nuclear thermal. Adam suggested an alternative that was discussed, beam power with laser sail. He talked about the difference in travel time to the rendezvous using these alternative propulsion systems compared to the SLS. I followed John's call by asking Adam why even do such an intercept mission? Don't miss what Adam said about the importance of such a mission including the ability to study the interstellar medium, more about Jupiter, and related study objects on the way to the intercept.
Listener Todd sent in an email asking about a mission to Comet Borisov, suggesting it might be closer and easier to reach. Listen to what Adam said about a mission to Borisov rather than to Oumuamua. I asked about waiting for a better target given new astronomical capabilities coming on line such as LSST, plus we were now looking for such fast moving interstellar objects unlike before. Again, you will want to hear Adam's reply to this question.
Marshall called to ask about using Hubble and JWST. Our guest mentioned the KISS observatory, then Linda sent in a note about possibly slowing down and docking with the target. This would not be possible but listen to the specs provided by our guest to help understand why. Adam then provided us with rendezvous (intercept) specs which will help one to understand why such a mission would only be a flyby mission.
After several more email questions, Adam told listeners how they could download his software through MATLAB. He provided his GitHub info in a blog comment so if you are interested in the software and working with it, check it out at the link Adam provided for on our blog. As we were moving toward the end of the program, Adam suggested what might comprise the instrument package for the flyby mission. For sure it would need a high resolution optical camera/telescope. He also said the distance to the fast moving target might be in the range of 100,000 KM. Before we ended, Sandy in NY sent in an email asking Adam about new reports that the object might be comprised of hydrogen ice. Don't miss what our guest said about this.
Please post your comments/questions for this program and Adam Hibberd on our blog. You can reach Adam through me at The Space Show email address.