Asteroid Dynamics

Team: 89


Area of Science: Physics - Astrophysics

Mentor: Charles McClenahan, Ph.D.

The many-body problem has, for decades, evoked many inherent difficulties when physicists tried to solve it for a system. With the development of fast computers however, the solutions of a many-body problem can now be computed given a set of conditions. The many-body problem will be modeled by a group of asteroids, whose orbits will be affected by each other, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, and the sun. Occasionally, an asteroid will deviate from its normal orbit. What will be its trajectory, and most importantly, will it collide with the Earth? The program will calculate the likelihood of digressions from normal orbits within a certain time frame and their most probable trajectories in a 3-D frame. It can also display the motion of the bodies between these events. The physics used will include, but not be limited to Newtonian mechanics with calculus and the Monte Carlo method for initial conditions. The program will be written in C++ and its libraries.

Team Members:

  Luwen Huang

Sponsoring Teacher: Anita Gerlach