Laser-induced spallation of minerals common on asteroids

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Anthony , N , Frostevarg , J , Suhonen , H , Wanhainen , C & Granvik , M 2021 , ' Laser-induced spallation of minerals common on asteroids ' , Acta Astronautica , vol. 182 , pp. 325-331 .

Title: Laser-induced spallation of minerals common on asteroids
Author: Anthony, Niklas; Frostevarg, Jan; Suhonen, Heikki; Wanhainen, Christina; Granvik, Mikael
Contributor organization: Department of Physics
Particle Physics and Astrophysics
Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences
Planetary-system research
Date: 2021-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 7
Belongs to series: Acta Astronautica
ISSN: 0094-5765
Abstract: The ability to deflect dangerous small bodies in the Solar System or redirect profitable ones is a necessary and worthwhile challenge. One well-studied method to accomplish this is laser ablation, where solid surface material sublimates, and the escaping gas creates a momentum exchange. Alternatively, laser-induced spallation and sputtering could be a more efficient means of deflection, yet little research has studied these processes in detail. We used a 15-kW Ytterbium fiber laser on samples of olivine, pyroxene, and serpentine (minerals commonly found on asteroids) to induce spallation. We observed the process with a high-speed camera and illumination laser, and used X-ray micro-tomography to measure the size of the holes produced by the laser to determine material removal efficiency. We found that pyroxene will spallate at power densities between 1.5 and 6.0 kW cm(-2), serpentine will also spallate at 13.7 kW cm(-2), but olivine does not spallate at 1.5 kW cm(-2) and higher power densities melt the sample. Laser-induced spallation of pyroxene and serpentine can be two- to three-times more energy efficient (volume removed per unit of absorbed energy) than laser-induced spattering, and over 40x more efficient than laser ablation.
Subject: 114 Physical sciences
Laser spallation
High-Speed Imaging
Asteroid redirection
X-ray microtomography
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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