Analysis of Communication Interconnectedness in the Proximity of Near-Earth Asteroids
AffiliationNew Mexico State University
space communication networks
asteroid surface to space networking
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AbstractIn this paper we analyze fundamental local-area communication issues related to proximity operations around near-earth asteroids. We are motivated by NASA's plan to send robotic spacecraft to numerous such asteroids in the coming years in preparation for an eventual manned mission. We consider here the case where multiple probes are deposited on the surface of an asteroid and must communicate the data they collect to each other and to earth by using the orbiting `mothership' as a relay. With respect to this scenario, we statistically analyze the ability of surface probes in various locations to communicate with the mothership as well as their abilities to network with one another. For the purposes of this analysis, we assume the simplest possible communications scenario: a surface probe can communicate with the mothership only when it has an unobstructed line of sight. At the frequencies of interest here, line of sight is a necessary condition but it is obviously not sufficient - the end-to-end link margins of our communications system must be high enough to support the desired/required data rates. Nonetheless, this simplistic analysis represents the first step in characterizing the communication system requirement for the asteroid-local portion of the system.
SponsorsInternational Foundation for Telemetering