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Stardust Part II, Deep Impact Revisited? 22

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the expensive-crash-test-dummy dept.
oneill40 writes to tell us New Scientist is reporting that NASA's Stardust spacecraft may be gearing up for another run. Stardust recently made the news by returning samples from the comet Wild 2 and is being looked at to pick up where the Deep Impact mission left off. From the article: "In addition to revealing the comet's interior composition, studies of the crater should shed light on the comet's structure and density. "If the impactor hit something that was very hard, it would produce a smaller crater than if it hit something very soft," Veverka told New Scientist."
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Stardust Part II, Deep Impact Revisited?

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:06PM (#14964927)
    Stardust Part II, Deep Impact Revisited

    Wasn't that just on Cinemax?

    • Should this article be called, Deep Impact Reloaded? I mean, they are trying another shot, right?

      I wonder if they're trying to deflect this thing from/to earth, and using the crater gag as a coverup? Who's got the conspiracy thoeries?
  • by all204 (898409)
    This seems to me like a good way to get some usefull science on the cheap. (Mind you 30 million is not all that cheap.) I always thought that just leaving a satellite like that just to 'drift' after all is said done, if it was still operational, was a waste.
    • Well the whole point of the Stardust mission was to bring a sample back. All the other probes aren't designed to be able to return and this allows them to be lighter and simpler. So while it does seem like a waste to let those probes just drift off, it's still fairly practical. Also even though their primary mission is over, that doesn't mean they are completely wasted. VoyaGER was still sending us interesting data even as it left our solar system. Stardust, though, as a sample-retrieving probe, should
      • Well, according to TFA it sounds like multiple missions aren't in the cards, since it only flew by earth to drop the sample. It apparently has enough fuel for this new mission, but probably not for others.
        • Well, according to TFA it sounds like multiple missions aren't in the cards, since it only flew by earth to drop the sample. It apparently has enough fuel for this new mission, but probably not for others.

          Yeah, but even getting a second mission out of it is huge.

          To get the science of the original mission, and then a (relatively) paltry $30 million for a follow-up mission they didn't even originally plan for is pretty good.
          • I concur. The best part is using this second mission to help remedy problems with a previous one (namely the bad camera focus and obscuring dust cloud of Deep Impact).

            The more time goes on, the more I tend to think that NASA (really JPL, I guess) does its best work with probes and should be given a much larger portion of its budget to starting more (not necessarily more expensive) projects of this nature. The track record has been great, and the low cost means the occasional snafu isn't devistating.
      • Voyager still is sending interesting data back, which is why there was a recent fuss about the proposal end the mission (end the operational funding, stop allocating deep space network time to receiving it's data). I never did hear how that ended, or if a decision has been made.
    • I was skeptical that they'd find anything interesting to do with Stardust when they first announced they were looking for proposals, but I'm pleasantly surprised.

      Additionally, the original sample return may also have been captured some extra-solar particles in the aerogel collector on Stardust. Scientists expect to be able to identify these based on how deeply embedded they are (ie, velocity with which they struck the collector). Some of you may recall the Genesis project was supposed to collect particles

  • by necro81 (917438) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:35PM (#14965190) Journal
    The article states that the extended mission would go down like this: the Stardust mothership is in a solar orbit. In 2007 it could fire its thrusters to head back towards earth by early 2009. A gravity assist from earth could fling it out to comet Tempel 1 for a 2011 rendezvous.

    It'd be awesome if they can pull it off, and pretty cheap as such missions go (since the craft is already built and in space). However, I have to wonder, will the spacecraft still be in working order come 2011? I don't think it was designed to have much of a mission life once it had sent away the sample return. Anyone know?
    • The EO-1 satellite was launched on the cheap in 2000 with a one-year mission. It is still working.
    • With the way the 2 rovers are going I'd say anything is possible at this point. 3 month terminal life expectancy going on 2 years and no signs of stopping in site (well except for a lame weal)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      However, I have to wonder, will the spacecraft still be in working order come 2011? I don't think it was designed to have much of a mission life once it had sent away the sample return. Anyone know?

      The consumables (ie propellant) and solar arrays, along with the pointing system for the high gain antennas are more the drivers for lifespan. As long as those are OK, you'll likely have a usable spacecraft.
      • Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda is a 29-year old white male with a stocky build and a goatee. He responded to my ad to be interviewed for this article wearing only leather pants, leather boots and a leather vest. I could see that both of his nipples were pierced with large-gauge silver rings. Questioner: I hope you won't be offended if I ask you to prove to me that you're a nullo. Just so that my readers will know that this isn't a fake. CmdrTaco: Sure, no problem. (stands and unbuckles pants and drops them to his a
    • Let's just hope the guys who designed the Mars rovers are the same guys that designed this craft.
  • Wasn't that a kickass asteroids clone on the Amiga ? :D

    Ohhhh how I miss that useless toy of a computer. The pirate intros were better than the games themselves!
  • Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda is a 29-year old white male with a stocky build and a goatee. He responded to my ad to be interviewed for this article wearing only leather pants, leather boots and a leather vest. I could see that both of his nipples were pierced with large-gauge silver rings.

    Questioner: I hope you won't be offended if I ask you to prove to me that you're a nullo. Just so that my readers will know that this isn't a fake.

    CmdrTaco: Sure, no problem. (stands and unbuckles pants and drops them to his ankle

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