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Asteroid mission(s)

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:32 am
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Asteroid mission(s) 
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Post Asteroid mission(s)   Posted on: Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:32 am
As the article "NASA Studies Manned Asteroid Mission" (www.space.com/news/061116_asteroid_nasa.html) reported last week NASA is thinking about sending astronauts to a NEO.

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Stationed at NASA’s Ames Research Center located in California’s Silicon Valley, McKay told SPACE.com that work is underway to evaluate the science enabled by sending crews to asteroids, and to judge how best to assure safe and efficient exploration.


[quote]Quick dash


Clearly, it will be first-things-first in testing the new Constellation architecture. And that means going to low-Earth orbital missions to wring out the systems and procedures. These are likely to be followed in rather quick succession by lunar orbital and landing missions.


“But a very natural, early extension of the exploration capabilities of this new vehicle architecture would be a ‘quick dash’ near-Earth asteroid rendezvous mission,â€


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:47 am
It seems that NASA's plans to fly to an asteroid become more concrete more quickly than I supposed. The article "Orion Hardware Reviewed For Human Asteroid Flight " ( www.space.com/businesstechnology/061227 ... orion.html ) is reporting that [quote]“There are many asteroids that have very low relative velocities with respect to Earth,â€


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:56 am
I think it's kinda silly what they are proposing. Not that they say much about it, but what they say sounds a bit weird to me. Years and years have gone by and NASA practicly abandoned humantravel and only uses robots for their scientific exploration. And for good reasons. And now they want to sent humans to an NEO? And for what? To scoop up a few kilos of dust/soil? That can be done with a very small sattelite as well. Bring it back to the ISS and analyse it there instead of getting throught the atmosphere all over again.

Besides, wouldnt it be more usefull to everybody if they tried some miningequipement if they did send humans to an NEO? You would gather a lot more scientific data ánd more importantly, you can get a start at how practical spacemining can be. And experience is what we need to develope a spacemining industry.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:20 pm
The article talks about hovering the orion space craft near an asteroid, not actually landing on one. From this position astonauts would be able to control a small lander on the surface. This seems a bit of a waste of time IMO, why not just send a robotic craft to do the same job. If you are not going to get the benefits of an astronaut actually on the surface, the limited improvement of sending men on the mission to sit somewhere nearby does not seem worth the extra money and complexity that this would add.

Someone cynical might say that this was just so much spin or a precursor for a pitch for more money for Orion. Why not do the same mission to the moon if it is to test out technology?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:02 pm
I think this manned NEO mission is a good idea. It will capture the public's imagination better than another Moon landing, because the Moon is ho-hum, been there done that, but an asteroid is like WOW! we are really going out into deep space now. Do not under estimate the importance of firing up the public's imagination. We in this forum are a small group and may find it hard to believe that the other 99% of the people on the internet do not give a $#!+ about space flight. Also, technically, you are still in Earth orbit even when you are walking on the Moon, but an asteroid is in an independent solar orbit. Going there with a manned mission would be a real leap IMO. It will test out systems that could be used for longer flights (like to Mars) in a better way than a flight to the Moon.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:47 pm
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
to an NEO? And for what? To scoop up a few kilos of dust/soil? That can be done with a very small sattelite as well.


Not at all. We saw the Japanese try and fail. You just can't replace a good astronaut with a bomb-disposal unit--let alone a R/C toy. On a NEO, an astronaut will have superman strength and be able to manipulate boulders.

A nano-crap can will flounder.


If you must deploy something small--you can control it real time with no delay:

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Resea ... t_999.html


With an astroid deflection mission, you have someone looking over everything. Perhaps a shove, then some position measuring--then another attempt. Multiple sorties on one mission.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:39 am
Hello, Stefan, hello, Andy Hill,

as far as I understand the article I quoted in my recent post as well as the article quoted prior to that the purpose of an asteroid mission would be NOT to reserach the asteroid and get a sample returned simply.

The purpose of such a mission would be different - the purpose would be to get experiences, experimental results and tests what astronuats could do that a robot can't do. One of the aspects would be real-time control of a mini- or micro-probe that wouldn't need to be that much programmed like the japanese probe needed to be. From Earth no real-time control is possible if the asteroid is farther way than a few lightseconds.

The results of such a mission could be reasonable, plausible and publically convincing arguments of engineering and scientific kind that strongly and severely assist a manned mission to Mars.

Regarding tests for the lunar mission an asteroid mission could test the manoeverability of the CEV close to an onject it mustn't crash into. The object wouldn't be virtual or so but very real and it would be as uncontrollable as the Moon.

ProtoPypes of lunar equipment could be tested but the propellant and equipment of a lander would be saved - this would reduce the costs of the tests. In particular no propellant for a Lunar Orbital Insertion and a Trans Earth Injection would be required and it might be that simple manoevers done via the RCS would be sufficient to return to Earth.

It isn't required that the asteroids used for such tests are far away - as said in the first article they would be away a few klunar distances only.

Personally I am thinking of an asteroid orbiting the sun in a time very close to one year - in principle it can't be that much farther away from the sun at its aphelion than Earth.

And asteroid mining seems to be in the minds NASA's and Griffin's mind really since the second article quotes Griffin to mention asteroid mining.

Such a mission is meant to train the ground team here on Earth also as the second article mentions - a traning via an asteroid mission would avoid all risks that a training would involve if the test flight wouild go to the Moon where there is radio interruption each time the CEV disappaers at the far side of the Moon.

...



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:33 am
According to an article at the homepage of the german section of The Mars Society from Sunday afternoon NASA is checking a manned flight to a NEO at present - it would be done before 2020. The article refers to the french journal CIEL & Espace and says that its saying that the plan has proceeded into remarkable details ("recht detailliert" in German.

The maximum distance possible is 7.5 mio km. The orbit should be nearly circular and have nearly the same inclination as the earthian orbit around the sun.

The mission will last three months. Two astronauts would be launched via ARES 1 while the required booster would be launched by an ATLAS 5. The reduced number of astronauts allows for more food etc.

The article says that it would make more sense to approach the asteroid no more than some dizens of meters instead of landing on it - because of the very low gravity. To get to the object jetpacks would be applied. Alternatively the asteroid could be outfitted with cables to secure astronauts against drifting away.

The would be one week in total for EVAs.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:09 pm
I like it. It's not about the research value, it's about the challenge and the benefits it brings; publicity, experience, prestige. We should do it because we can. And for awesomeness.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:21 pm
my concerns would be with seeing some $. IT would have to be very worth their while to pay for such a dangerous mission

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