technology-news

Can comet flybys damage Mars spacecraft?

Washington, Sept. 25 : Two comets that will pass Mars next year have prompted excitement as well as some concern that some cometary particles could hit the Mars spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet and exploring its surface.


Currently, three operational spacecraft are orbiting Mars: NASA's Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), as well as Europe's Mars Express.

NASA also has placed two functioning rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity, on Mars' surface.

Richard Zurek, MRO project scientist and chief scientist in the Mars Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said that the MRO spacecraft is on the lookout for Comet ISON, Discovery News reported.

MRO is going to look at ISON, with observations scheduled for Sept. 29, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 (when the comet is going t be at it's closest to Mars.

At that time, ISON is going to be roughly 14 times closer and would likely be relatively easy to detect.

Zurek said however, that at at the closest passage distance, there is no concern that cometary particles from ISON will affect the orbiters or Mars.

Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C, said that after ISON, scientists will look for Comet Siding Spring.

According to the best estimates, the comet is going to make a close approach to Mars in October 2014, passing just 76,428 miles from Mars.

Meyer said that the comet does pose risks to spacecrafts that are orbiting Mars.

--ANI (Posted on 26-09-2013)

technology-news headlines

New groundbreaking technique may help cure diseases by 'editing' DNA

Ancient Antarctica was as warm as today's California coast

Domesticated chili pepper originated in Central-east Mexico

Neanderthals carried more copies of potentially detrimental mutations

'Upside-down planet' reveals new method for studying binary star systems

Learn why homo sapiens survived when others could not

New material prevents plastic from ageing

Know if you are an app addict

Animals with bigger brain size more intelligent

Now, a detector to distinguish 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

UV lamp of the future is here

Shrimp-inspired material to make airplanes stronger

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014

Comments

Your e-mail:


Your Full Name:


Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box

Message:

Back to Top