Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Hayabusa Earth Flyby Swings Toward Asteroid 85

Posted by michael
from the swing-low-sweet-chariot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As the first of its kind to return asteroid samples to Earth, the Japanese Hayabusa mission took pictures this week during its successful Earth flyby. Eventually headed to the asteroid belt, the probe will feature a novel sample collection 'horn' which hops around on the asteroid's surface and lands intermittently for only a second at a time. The samples will be dust clouds fired up from repeated bullet impacts, since the asteroid's low gravity makes it difficult to 'land' on. When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hayabusa Earth Flyby Swings Toward Asteroid

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:28PM (#9220984)
    Your father has been killed in a duel with an asteroid and you are given his magic horn to avenge his death. Press start to play!
    (Note for the people who don't get the reference, Hayabusa was the last name of the Ninja in the Ninja Gaiden games)
  • by RoboB0B (751580)
    In Soviet Russia the asteroids land on you! I'm sorry I had to.
  • by Roland Piquepaille (780675) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:30PM (#9220998)
    Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon", will act much like its namesake, descending to the asteroid's surface, capturing its prey and returning it to Earth.

    Presumably it'll let go of it before coming back? otherwise it'll be the biggest space sample ever collected.
    • "Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon", will act much like its namesake, descending to the asteroid's surface, capturing its prey and returning it to Earth."

      Presumably it'll let go of it before coming back? otherwise it'll be the biggest space sample ever collected.


      Since the sample is just asteroid fragments broken off by a bullet, it'll hold on to them.

      The worrying mission is ESA's "Rosetta" mission. That one's going to harpoon an entire asteroid.
      • Since the sample is just asteroid fragments broken off by a bullet, it'll hold on to them.
        And in a few centuries the small changes this creates in it's trajectory will cause the asteroid to crash right on the Duke Nukem 4Ever release party.
    • Presumably it'll let go of it before coming back? otherwise it'll be the biggest space sample ever collected.

      ... and maybe the last ...
    • Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon", will act much like its namesake, descending to the asteroid's surface, capturing its prey and returning it to Earth.

      Yes, but will it make the trip in under 12 parces??
    • the European Rosetta mission will harpoon the ... asteroid.

      Let Go! Let Go! No, don't return home!

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:32PM (#9221016)
    Photographing everything in sight.
  • Harpoon? (Score:5, Funny)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:33PM (#9221018) Journal
    When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid
    He beckons! Follow him, men! Death to the white asteroid!
  • Rube Goldberg would be proud!
  • *pop* (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid.

    Imagine the looks on the faces of those in control as the asteroid pops like a balloon... :)

  • oh.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by manavendra (688020) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:35PM (#9221036) Homepage Journal
    I was really confused with that "Swings towards" phase..

    Ah well, one can never tell these days...
  • by another_henry (570767) <slashdotNO@SPAMhenryhallam.cjb.net> on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:37PM (#9221049) Homepage
    Check out this [nasa.gov] awesome photo of the Moon and Earth together, taken by Galileo more than a decade ago during its Earth flyby.
  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:37PM (#9221051) Journal
    The article has an artist's impression [astrobio.net] of Muses-C doing its thing. Takes me back to the old books I used to read that were full of airbrush pictures - artist's impressions of futuristic space missions. There's something inspiring about that style that computer graphics have never been able to replicate.
  • Yes! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I don't care what they actually do - as long as the Japanese space program keeps naming its missions after ninjas, I'm there.
    • You are just gonna love the Donatello mission to Pizza5634 in 2012. Apparently its something to do with checking out the crust.

  • Maybe this article should be under the Anime [slashdot.org] section :-) ?
  • by Arcanix (140337) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:41PM (#9221091)
    Taking off from Kagoshima in southern Japan on its 22 month outbound trip, the Muses-C space probe is scheduled to visit the 1998 SF36 asteroid, 186 million miles from Earth, and bring back a single gram of rock in four years' time.

    I bet on the street you could get at least 100 bones for that gram rock.
  • by beeplet (735701) <beeplet@gmail.com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:43PM (#9221105) Journal
    I'm surprised I never heard of this project before! It's a great idea - astroids contain various minerals that can be used to trace the evolution of the solar system. Of course we have some access to this info from the odd meteorite, but I would guess that rock from the astroid belt will be more "pristine".

    The only drawback I see for this project is that it is only going to sample the surface of the asteroid, which is the region most exposed to cosmic radiation, cratering, and accumulated dust. Naturally there is still something to be learned from that, but I hope this is just a prelude to a more advanced mission to bore larger samples from the asteroides. I imagine that the difficulties in doing that come mostly from stabilizing the spacecraft, given that it's likely the asteroids are actually loosely bound collections of the rubble left over from previous collisions. Of course, if they're not, that would be interesting too.

    And slightly off topic - I think this comparison is funny:

    The material in the belt ... ranges in size from dust particles to rock chunks as big as Alaska.

    Exactly how do you compare a large, roughly spherical mass to "the size of Alaska"? Maybe they mean the surface area is the same? The surface area of Alaska is about 1.5 million km-squared; the surface area of Ceres, the largest asteroid, is about 11 million km-squared - that's more like the total area of the US (9.6 million km-squared)!

    Or maybe they meant to compare the radii? If Alaska were circular, it would have a radius of 690 km. The radius of Ceres is 466 km. Interestingly, a better comparison in this case would be the size of France (effective radius of 420 km), and France is of course the international standard for measuring astronomical objects... Did you know that the base of Olympus Mons is also about the size of France?
    • Of course we have some access to this info from the odd meteorite, but I would guess that rock from the astroid belt will be more "pristine".

      Wouldn't that be disappointing: spend hundreds of millions of dollars only to find out that you have stuff that is identical to meteorites.

      Many meterorites were once asteroids that got smashed up in collisions.

      But even if so, I suppose it is a better way to waste money than a futile war in Iraq. *duck*
      • But confirming that the material from the meteorites is the same as asteroid sample is useful and not at all disappointing.
        Its another theory proven or disproven, all of which advances our knowledge of the universe.
      • Also, don't forget that this gives us an opening into asteroid mining, which would be much more practical than mining large bodies like the moon. Harpoon an asteroid, and gradually correct it's course until it makes a controlled re-entry, then just tear it apart for resources on the surface. Or leave it in orbit and use the materials there to build more structures in space without the expense of having to move materials out of a gravity well.
    • Exactly how do you compare a large, roughly spherical mass to "the size of Alaska"?

      This is not the first time this type of analogy is made... like in Armageddon the President is told that the rock is the "size of Texas". The president understands this as opposed to something specified in square kilometers.

      I envision just a simple projection... if you dug down the rock halfway in Alaska/ Texas the borders of the rock and the state would roughly coincide. Actuyally I think it is a pretty useful measure - I
      • Quite true. It only jumped out at me because it seemed odd to compare a 3-dimensional object to a two-dimensional one. If they had specified how deep under alaska to measure in the 3rd dimension to obtain a volume of the same size, it would have made more sense.

        I also noticed it because the tendancy of science writers to compare large things with "the size of France" has become a running joke [sciam.com]. In addition to the Olympus Mons example, you might be interested to know that the Ross Ice Shelf [vims.edu] (the largest ice
  • When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid.

    This gives me a mental image of the scene in Mission to Mars, where the crew snagged the satellite that was conveniently in orbit around Mars (and crash-landed it to the surface). Although not an identical scenario, this really is the stuff of sci-fi movies, in this particular case.

  • I call BS! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shakamojo (518620) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:59PM (#9221209)
    I know that that image is probably "enhanced" by an artist, but come on! The sun is glaring in the lens, yet the moon and earth are full, meaning the sun would be BEHIND the spacecraft... even if it is artistic license, they should try to make the image a little more realistic, it's still spectacular...
    • Well, the image isn't to scale. Actually, the solar panels on the spacecraft are 100's of 1000's of meters long so the earth and moon are just illuminated by the reflecting sunlight.

      Come on, you remember that day when is was light all around the world don't you?
    • Obviously they are using the gigantic super-reflecto mirror to direct the light from the sun onto the moon and earth. Duh...
  • Welcome our new asteroid hopping overlords.
  • by CHaN_316 (696929) on Friday May 21, 2004 @06:02PM (#9221227)
    "The samples will be dust clouds fired up from repeated bullet impacts, since the asteroid's low gravity makes it difficult to 'land' on. When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface."

    -NOW- who's weaponizing space? Looks like the Japanese and Europeans. This is a threat to our national security! We have a space harpoon capability gap! Mr.President, we recommend making a space harpoon that is two times bigger than the european's space harpoon... to deter them from attacking more asteroids.
  • by tslack2000 (781916) on Friday May 21, 2004 @06:03PM (#9221235) Homepage
    Certainly taking this to the next level as compared with the NEAR [jhuapl.edu] (Nasa Probe) that was not designed to bring back material.

    While this is an improvement, it still only scratches the surface as it will only bring back "up to one gram of material". Also, consider that the gram of material is from the very surface of the asteroid, which is most likely contaminated by other collisions. Still quite an accomplishment if they can recover the material in 2007 as predicted.
  • Uh, oh (Score:2, Funny)

    by 14erCleaner (745600)
    We'd better hope the asteroid isn't inhabited; first we're going to shoot at the resident aliens, then we're going to bring them back to Earth? Fred Hoyle [wikipedia.org] must be turning over in his grave...
  • ...mission took pictures this week during its successful Earth flyby.

    Scientist 1: "Hmmmm. There are beings on that blue planet."

    Scientist 2: "What are they doing?"

    Scientist 1: "Let's see. One female is dragging around a naked male on a pet leash in the middle of a war."

    Scientist: 3: "I suggest we abort this mission and leave them alone before they find out about us and come here."

    Scientists in unison: "Agreed! Abort."
    • ...I figured these "scientists" would see the International Red Cross, or Jimmy Carter's work on Habitat For Humanity, and correctly assume that friendly relations with Earth were not only possible, but likely.

      But hey, if it pleases you to assume that all alien researchers are stupid fucking idiots, who am I to disagree?
      • Re:That's Funny... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by emtboy9 (99534) <jeff@jefflan[ ]rg ['e.o' in gap]> on Friday May 21, 2004 @07:39PM (#9221881) Homepage
        Why is that so outrageous? Think about it. Earth sends off millions of watts of RF signal every second of every day. We inadvertantly beam out radio stations, television stations, communications, radar, etc etc etc.

        Now, since you assume that aliens, if there are any (personally I think there probably are) are not "stupid fucking idiots" then you would also have to assume that they have means of intercepting signals on one of the most simple forms of transmission available.

        Which means, for as long as the waves make it through space, anyone who gets the signal, decodes it, watches it, or listens to it and eventually understands it will hear Howard Stearn, Talk radio, really bad music, some really good music, several episodes of law and order a day, war movies, disaster movies, murder mysteries, violence in all formes of transmitted media, news feeds from war zones, news feeds from disaster zones, crime scenes, etc etc etc.

        How could they NOT get a very bad picture of earth, just by observing our inadvertant transmissions?

        And again, we ARE talking about a completely alien culture. For all they know, Independence Day was a documentary, showing that Earth will destroy anyone who attacks it from space. Or perhaps the War of the Worlds film will show them that if they land here, they will die of disease. Or worse.

        Maybe they will see "Day after Tomorrow" and decide that since the earth is now under hundreds of feet of ice and snow, we will be easy pickings.

        Then again, they may get wireless or satellite internet access, read slashdot, and fear the /. effect.
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Friday May 21, 2004 @06:22PM (#9221339) Homepage
    Did anyone else, upon reading about a Hayabusa in space, imagine for a moment something like this?

    A Space Hayabusa [hallert.net]

    Please? I'd hate to be the only dork out there....

  • Wow! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I knew the Suzuki Hayabusa was fast, but I didn't realize it could reach escape velocity. Space-faring motorcycles... who'da thunk it.
  • So this probe is going to fire a bullet to collect a sample?

    What happens when the probe is pushed back from the recoil?
  • forgive my lack of physics l33t skillz...

    are the asteroids in question of sufficient mass so as their orbits won't be effected by harpooning, shooting, and horning (?) them?

  • Consider this:

    A large asteroid is basically a several thousand ton chunk of nearly pure iron. Think what that would be worth.

    1. Build a space probe.
    2. Have space probe guide asteroid into Earth orbit.
    3. Safely bring asteroid down to Earth's surface.
    4. Sell asteroid to local scrap iron dealer for $50/ton.
    5. Profit!!

    The best part would be watching the rednecks at the scrap yard trying to fit the asteroid into the car crusher. Implementation of the first three steps is left as an exercise to the read
  • Two probes head toward Earth, dragging asteroids and muttering sterilize...sterilize...
  • Specifically... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Captain_Chaos (103843) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @09:09AM (#9224544)

    Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon",...

    Specifically, a peregrine falcon [extremescience.com], which is the fastest animal in the world. It can reach speeds of 440 kph (275 mph) when diving for its prey. This also accounts for the name of the fastest road bike in the world, the Suzuki Hayabusa [suzukicycles.com]. Impressive stuff...

    • A friend of mine has one of those bikes. He claims he can break any posted speed limit in the US in first gear. (if he really wanted to peg the RPMs that is) I don't know for sure about that but I HAVE seem him blow by me on the highway like I was standing still when I was going over 100. That bike is just wrong.

    • 275mph is a little over the top, this bbc site [bbc.co.uk] says 170mph, and there is also this [theriver.com], which is still lower than 275mph.
      AFAIK, the Suzuki can't do 275mph either !

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

Working...