Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MUSES-C Launched

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the lead-time dept.

Space 13

Anonymous Coward writes "If all goes well, Japans MUSES-C asteroid probe will be bringing back samples from an asteroid in less than five years. Launched friday afternoon at 1:29 pm (local time) the probe should reach its target in June of 2005. The MUSES-C probe will collect surface samples of asteroid 1998SF36 totaling 1 gram, including sand and stone fragments, two years later before returning to the Earth in June 2007, researchers said."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How will they retrieve the samples? (3, Interesting)

robslimo (587196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919665)

OK, Apolloa 17 brought samples back from the moon, but astonauts more or less hand carried them back. How are the Japanese exepecting to get their samples back? I never heard of a space probe designed to return anything back to earth, so I'm curious. Are they going to drop the craft back to earth on a trajectory that minimumizes re-entry heating?

Re:How will they retrieve the samples? (2, Informative)

molo (94384) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919883)

FYI, old spy satellites used to drop rolls of film. I'm not sure about the mechanism though.

-molo

Re:How will they retrieve the samples? (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 11 years ago | (#5924286)

The USSR used parachutes, homing beacons, and xenon strobes for the moon samples they collected, iirc.

Re:How will they retrieve the samples? (3, Informative)

robslimo (587196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920072)

Still no complete answer, but I found this link:

http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc011698.html

Excerpt: Muses-C spacecraft will also fire explosive charges into the asteroid, collect the samples that are ejected from the impacts, and return the samples to Earth in a capsule for
laboratory analysis


and this:

http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/enterp/science/lunapla.h tm l

In this mission, the spacecraft will land on the asteroid surface, sample the surface rocks/soils and encapsulate them into a container. We will recover the samples carried by the entry capsule which will provide us with many findings of primitive bodies in the solar system.

-robSlimo

Soviets Did This (3, Interesting)

karnat10 (607738) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920142)

Back in 1970, in SOVIET RUSSIA, they successfully returned samples from the moon to earth, no astronauts involved. Check it out here:

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog? sc=1970-072A

Re:How will they retrieve the samples? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5924383)

This is how:

1. MUSES-C (now "Hayabusa") will autonomously fly by an asteroid (relative speed of 10 meter/hour, I think),

2. MUSES-C extends its sample collection nozzle,

3. then MUSES-C slowly approaches the surface of an asteroid and make a soft impact with its nozzle,

4. at this time, it fires a pellet gun onto the ground,

5. and collect a cloud of dust particles raised by the bullet with the nozzle,

6. and repeat this for 3 times at a different location on the asteroid,

7. now return to the Earth and drop the sample with re-entry capsule.

It takes about 4 years to complete the experiment.
During that time, ISAS will be testing five new technologies: (a) new M-V rocket (the last one failed; this one is an improved version), (b) ion-engine navigation (never done by Japanese), (c) autonomous navigation to an asteroid, (d) sample-extraction from an asteroid, and finally (e) sample-return to the Earth.

If they can actually accomplish all, that's almost miracle IMO. Even if they can achieve the first two (one already done; (b) is ready to be tested), that is major success to those Japanese guys.

Of course, the media won't be so kind if the sample-return mission fails though. They just don't understand what pushing the limit means.

1 gram? (4, Interesting)

ChiefArcher (1753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919835)

for the millions of dollars this thing is probably costing... and only 1 GRAM!?!? geez.

You think they'd think of something better to do.

Something cool would be..
A) Collect a few pounds
B) Fly back to earth orbit...
C) Catch up with the ISS
D) Grab said payload
E) Transport it back to earth on the next shuttle mission..

IANARS (I am not a rocket scientist)

ChiefArcher

Re:1 gram? (1)

jwriney (16598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920853)

Hell, why stop there? Why not transport the whole probe up to the ISS in a Progress or two, have the astronauts assemble it Erector-set style and hand-carry it outside, and let it launch itself from the station?

Now that's cool, and a halfway worthwhile use of all that hardware we've got floating up there.

--riney

Re:1 gram? (2, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5921701)

A space shuttle launch costs more than the launch for this probe. Furthermore, astronauts are not qualified to assemble this probe, they would be unable to perform the necessary testing, and their time in orbit costs so much per hour that that wouldn't be cost-effective either.

Re:1 gram? (1)

jwriney (16598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5926184)

Note that I said "in a Progress or two". Progress flights cost from 20 to 50 million, much cheaper than a shuttle flight which I didn't mention.

Not to mention, astronauts have pulled off some damn complex assembly operations on orbit - like, for example, assembling the space station they're living in. It's just a matter of giving them the right procedures.

--riney

Re:1 gram? (1)

Suidae (162977) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947086)

astronauts have pulled off some damn complex assembly operations on orbit - like, for example, assembling the space station they're living in. It's just a matter of giving them the right procedures.

And paying them to practice those procedures here on Earth over and over and over and over, for months on end, tying up very expensive training facilities and lots of support people, etc. Astronauts are about the most expensive labor you can get.

Re:1 gram? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5921238)

The probe is going into orbit around the sun so I bet when it comes back it will be moving far too fast to get into a low earth orbit where it could be grabbed by a spacecraft. You could put a big rocket on it to slow it down ($$$) or just let it rip into the atmosphere for free.

It came from Japan (3, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919953)

Here's what I forsee:

The probe returns, but actually has gathered some hibernating alien eggs. They hatch and infect the lead scientists, and take over their minds. Then the scientists give themselves cool names like, Dr. Destructo, and find a secret island base where they can hold the world hostage from.

I've seen this sort of thing happen before, and it's not pretty.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?