What happens if I speed up an Apollo group asteroid?

In summary, the speaker has devised an antimatter bomb and is now considering using Apollo group asteroids as freight trains for the inner solar system. However, their knowledge of orbital mechanics is limited. They mention 2009 HC82, an asteroid with a maximum speed of 56 km/s at perihelion, and wonder if attaching engines to it will alter its orbit or just make it travel faster in the same orbit. They also ask if there is a maximum speed for an Earth-crossing orbit that runs from Ceres to somewhere between Mercury and Venus. The expert summarizer responds that increasing the speed at perihelion will definitely alter the asteroid's orbit, and it doesn't take much extra speed to kick an object out of the
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Okay, having devised the antimatter bomb, I'm moving along to the concept of using Apollo group asteroids as freight trains for the inner solar system, but my knowledge of orbital mechanics is zilch.

For example, (343158) 2009 HC
82 appears to have a max speed of about 56 km/s at perihelion. It's fast, but I want faster!

So, if I attach engines to 2009 HC
82 and add to its speed, will I alter its orbit, or does it just travel faster in the same orbit?

And more generically, is there a maximum speed for an Earth-crossing orbit that runs in from about Ceres to somewhere between Mercury and Venus?
 
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  • #2
You will definitely alter its orbit. If you speed it up at perihelion and then let it coast, it will return to that point, but the rest of the orbit will change.
 
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  • #3
I just used AstroGrav to model this and it doesn't take much extra speed to kick an object out of the solar system, and certainly the speeds I intend to use do not result in orbits, they result in 'Oumuamua-like transits :frown:

So, I'm going to have to use a different mode of transport for the story, asteroid freight trains can work for second class goods, but it's too slow for what I need.
 

1. What is an Apollo group asteroid?

An Apollo group asteroid is a type of near-Earth asteroid that has an orbit that crosses Earth's orbit. These asteroids are also known as Earth-crossing asteroids.

2. How fast do Apollo group asteroids typically travel?

The speed of an Apollo group asteroid can vary, but on average, they travel at a speed of about 25 kilometers per second (15.5 miles per second) relative to Earth.

3. What would happen if an Apollo group asteroid was sped up?

If an Apollo group asteroid was sped up, it would likely have a more elliptical orbit and could potentially cross Earth's orbit more frequently. This could increase the chances of a potential impact with Earth.

4. Can an Apollo group asteroid be sped up intentionally?

Yes, it is possible to speed up an Apollo group asteroid through various methods such as gravitational assists from other objects or using spacecraft to alter its trajectory.

5. What are the potential consequences of speeding up an Apollo group asteroid?

The consequences of speeding up an Apollo group asteroid could include an increased risk of impact with Earth, potential damage to spacecraft or satellites in orbit, and changes to the asteroid's orbit that could affect its future trajectory and potential interactions with other objects in our solar system.

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