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Messenger and Mercury exploration

Posted by: binarysunrise - Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:10 pm
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Messenger and Mercury exploration 
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Post Messenger and Mercury exploration   Posted on: Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:10 pm
So, Messenger is scheduled to launch on Monday.

Doesn't it just boggle the mind at times how little we know about space and our solar system? I mean, it's the 21st century :!: We've only mapped 45% of Mercury's surface?

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1540&ncid=1540&e=1&u=/afp/20040730/sc_afp/us_space_mercury_040730183019

How does 30 years go by without sending a probe to Mercury. Shouldn't NASA have long-range plans that keep missions to other planets mapped out?

Does anyone know the history of Mercury's exploration? Why so long? And how do you submit your frequent flyer miles on a 56 million mile trip?

Ah well, someone nudge me in 7 years once it's in orbit....
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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:23 pm
It's really just another example of how space exploration has been conducted thus far, prioritising missions depending on the scientific feedback (and the all important cashflow).

With limited resources and literally a whole universe to explore the National agencies have had to focus on the higher priority missions than investigate the first rock from the sun.

In the end though it's not wholy the agencies fault, there must be a certain amount of prioritising. Probably the only way that this is going to change is if there are more craft "up there" to go to the places that we would like to explore and of course, more money!


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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:50 am
Hm. Does anyone have a good list of the number of exploratory missions (failures and successes) to each planet? I understand the need for prioritising missions in regards to cost and scientific benefits, but surely Mercury was worth returning to before now?

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:55 am
Once more in this message board it is open stated that NASA is doing things because of being financed by taxes and public debth and that these things are not ever really those desired by the people.

At least here are several people desiring other space activities.

Nova, you're right. And in the long run it may be, that the XPRIZE competition will cause privtely funded scientific space missions. I remember having read of two firms asking for allowance for a special project: They wanted to "throw" a special small robot craft out of the ISS and then to launch it for the moon. The robot's mission was to make a map of the lunar surface for commercial pusposes (for details I would look after the article).

This is an example indicating that private scientific missions may be realistic and possible - the map the robot were to make would be more detailed than other maps.

So if the XPRIZE CUP will have increased the altitude of suborbital flights up to orbits above the ISS someone may find a way to use such suborbital flights for "throwing out" a small unmaaned robot probe to launch itself for an interplanetary goal and then return, There might be several small robots required but someone might find a tricky way to do so.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 31, 2004 1:54 pm
I think the general jist of the discussion is that NASA just can't do the kind of exploration we desire by itself. But when private companies, universities, scientific foundations, etc. have access to (relatively) cheap transportation, hopefully there will be an explosion of new probes and satellites. And these new missions will be driven by the needs and desires of the companies, universities, foundations, etc. No more monolithic group prioritizing the exploration of space.

Before reading this thread, I guess I had just never really broken out of the tourism/industrial paradigm of things. The purely scientific exploration possibilities are extraordinary!

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 01, 2004 7:27 pm
JustMeKevin wrote:
I think the general jist of the discussion is that NASA just can't do the kind of exploration we desire by itself. But when private companies, universities, scientific foundations, etc. have access to (relatively) cheap transportation, hopefully there will be an explosion of new probes and satellites. And these new missions will be driven by the needs and desires of the companies, universities, foundations, etc. No more monolithic group prioritizing the exploration of space.

Before reading this thread, I guess I had just never really broken out of the tourism/industrial paradigm of things. The purely scientific exploration possibilities are extraordinary!


You better believe it. Universities are the ones that will end up doing most of the research (since that's one of the things that they are so incredibly good at), but remember that it's still all commercialized: somebody's making money doing it. Ain't capitalism wonderful?

Oh, and we haven't even touched colonization yet! <ecstatic grin>™

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 4:25 pm
Thanks to Tropical Storm Alex, Mercury will have to wait another day. Check Tuesday at 2:16 am for the next window....


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:23 pm
Just curious... does anyone know what kind of launch window the MESSENGER mission has? Is it open-ended, or do we have to launch within a given time frame in order to be lined up properly with Mercury?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:32 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

the most relevant aspect of privte space travel concerning what you say about universities will be that the private way stimulated by the XPRIZE foundation will reduce the costs to a level at which universities and iother scientific institutions will get cheaper what they desire whereas NASA and ESA are unable to give it because they do it at costs to high to be financed by their current fiscal ressources: Consider the fate of the Venus mission of ESA - cancelled because of lack of money but supposingly more expensive than privately might be possible in five to ten years I think.

The universities etc. will get more at less costs the private way - and they will take it.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:37 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Consider the fate of the Venus mission of ESA - cancelled because of lack of money


I'm not sure what you are referring to- the Venus Express (link) certainly wasn't cancelled. Could you be talking about a different ESA mission instead.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:51 am
Tropical Storm... ruined all the fun. It is curious how little we know about our surroundings. Us humans are a tad bit oblivious for the most part, no? Maybe NASA will realize that they will have less to worry about and more time to focus on things such as keeping an extended schedule of missions such as Messenger once they let the private sector take over some of their busywork...

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:19 am
Hello, The Legionnaire,

I suppose, I am wrong. When I observed the discussion one day the chances for Venus Express were bad and the other they got better - so it might have left me confused.

But is Venus Express able to detected atmospheric microbes?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:10 pm
From the ESA Website:

Quote:
Some speculate that perhaps microbes in the atmosphere are responsible. If ESA's Venus Express is given the final go-ahead later this year, it might help solve the mystery.


It might... doesn't sound like they are sure if it can or not.

I've heard that Sweden is supposedly going to launch something to collect some of Venus's atmosphere later this decade, but I was unable to find that on their website so I'm not sure. I've emailed them so we'll find out soon enough.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:28 pm
Hello, eraurocktchick87,

thank you very much. Very nice answer...



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:15 pm
Glad to help, I'll let you know what the SNSB says as soon as I get their reply.

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