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    1. #1
      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      New NASA mission to an asteroid

      I'm listening to an audio conference NASA is conducting and word is, they're gonna build a spacecraft and [hopefully] launch it by 2016. The mission: send it to an asteroid and bring back a 60 gram sample. I'll post a more detailed news article here (probably by Phil Plait if he writes one) once one is written.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

    2. #2
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      What's so special about 60 grams?

    3. #3
      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      UA wins NASA asteroid project worth hundreds of millions

      The University of Arizona has won a NASA contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to send an unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid that is potentially hazardous to Earth and bring back a sample.

      • University of Arizona asteroid project vies for NASA grant

      The mission, estimated to cost up to $1 billion and last more than a decade, is the largest space contract in the school's history. The UA's largest space contract until now has been the $428 million Phoenix Mars Mission in 2008.

      "This is a critical step in meeting the objectives outlined by President Obama to extend our reach beyond low-Earth orbit and explore into deep space," said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden in a statement released Wednesday. "It's robotic missions like these that will pave the way for future human space missions to an asteroid and other deep space destinations."

      Two other universities were competing against the UA for the chance to lead a space mission.

      The contract is estimated to inject $200 million into state and local economies, primarily in new engineering and other jobs.

      The mission also will involve Arizona State University. UA will oversee the mission, called OSIRIS-REx, and ASU will build a critical instrument, similar to ones already in use on Mars, to analyze the asteroid's composition.

      UA's mission involves sending a spacecraft in 2016 to an asteroid named 1999 RQ36. Scientists have classified the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid as one of the most hazardous to Earth because its orbit places it within 241,000 miles of the Earth at times. Analyzing the object up close and grabbing a sample would enable scientists to do two things: provide more detail on the likelihood of the asteroid colliding with Earth and shed more light on the development of our solar system.

      Asteroids are much smaller than planets, made of rock or metal, and they orbit the sun. The mission would send a spacecraft to circle closer and closer to the asteroid, taking photos and analyzing the surface, then swoop in and scoop up a quick sample. The spacecraft would return to Earth in 2023, landing in the Utah desert, after traveling roughly 3.5 billion miles. UA was competing against the University of Colorado at Boulder and Washington University in St. Louis. Colorado researchers proposed sending an unmanned probe into the atmosphere of Venus, and Washington scientists wanted to use an unmanned robot to collect rock samples from the moon's unexplored polar region.

      The UA mission is part of NASA's New Frontiers, a program of space missions awarded through a competitive process. New Frontiers differs from the larger and more expensive NASA flagship missions, such as the space- shuttle program, in that they are led by a scientist, usually from a university, with support from NASA and private industry.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

    4. #4
      Legend Jeff777's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by SnakeCharmer View Post
      What's so special about 60 grams?
      Your avatar makes me angry.
      Things are not as they seem

    5. #5
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      When are they melting into Europa goddammit.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      When are they melting into Europa goddammit.
      That technology still doesn't exist. Within our lifetime I expect we'll know if there is life there or not.

    7. #7
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      What are the main challenges? All the craft needs to do is have some kind of hot nose that will melt a tunnel through the ice. Apart from that, isn't it just a standard probe, although waterproof? I mean, from an engineering perspective, I don't see any kind of insurmountable conceptual problems that'd stop them from starting the plans today?

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      Dionysian stormcrow's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ninja9578 View Post
      That technology still doesn't exist. Within our lifetime I expect we'll know if there is life there or not.
      I agree Im really glad Im young because science is advancing at such a rapid pace by the time I'm a bit older who knows what we will have discovered about our universe and ourselves?

      Im glad this expedition is under way, in such a shit economy Im surprised this is being funded. Pleasantly surprised of course.

    9. #9
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      Screw asteroids, Moon/Mars base please!

    10. #10
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      Just rent one off Hitler. :/

    11. #11
      Member nina's Avatar
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      They just want to figure out how much gold is on it.

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      What are the main challenges? All the craft needs to do is have some kind of hot nose that will melt a tunnel through the ice. Apart from that, isn't it just a standard probe, although waterproof? I mean, from an engineering perspective, I don't see any kind of insurmountable conceptual problems that'd stop them from starting the plans today?
      There aren't any engineering problems, however there are some bureaucratic problems...

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