GTOC 7 – Multi-spacecraft exploration of the asteroid belt

imgressapienza_logoThis edition was organised by Lorenzo Casalino of the Turin Polytechnic and Guido Colasurdo of the Università di Roma “Sapienza”. The problem statement was released to the community on the 20th May 2014.

In a nutshell

A mother spacecraft is sent to the main asteroid belt and carries three low-thrust probes that need to be released at appropriate times and gather science on as many asteroid as possible before returning to the mother spacecraft to deliver their findings.

The Winners

Led by Anastassios Petropoulos, the team from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) won this edition. For the first time the same team gets the third victory in a GTOC.

The Workshop

The GTOC7 workshop was  held in Rome on Friday March 6, 2015. – Presentations


The longest single asteroid sequence valid for a probe and found during the competition had length 14.

It is debated if a sequence of length 15 exists.

A very competitive solution was found by JPL using an Ant Colony Optimization approach. Eventually a different solution turned out to be better and was thus submitted.

The winning solution from JPL is visualized below:

After an initial phase where all possible target asteroids are shown, only the ones that are visited by one of the daughters remain. The Earth orbit is visualized in blue, the mother spacecarft in purple and each one of the daughter as a cross of the same color as the asetroid it will visit.