Non-Keplerian Orbits for Mars Solar Reflectors
C.R. McInnes (2002), JBIS, 55, 74-84
Keywords: Terraforming, climate control, solar reflectors, solar sails, orbital mechanics
The use of large solar reflectors to increase the insolation of Mars as part of a terraforming effort has been considered by several authors. This paper investigates the orbital dynamics of the problem in some detail and identifies a family of displaced, highly non-Keplerian planetary orbits suitable for the task. The stability proper- ties of this family of orbits and the effect of orbit perturbations are investigated with a sub-group of passively stable orbits identified. Requirements for mirrors utilizing these passively stable orbits are also assessed and operational issues discussed. Finally, the use of static equilibria for solar reflectors on the night-side of Mars is considered and shown to be inefficient, or indeed impossible, due to the significant losses from the system.