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China Space Science

Details of Chinese Spacecraft's Asteroid Encounter 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the veni-vidi-vici dept.
the_newsbeagle writes "Chinese aerospace engineers have revealed, for the first time, details about their Chang'e-2 spacecraft's encounter with the asteroid Toutatis last month. They have plenty to boast: The asteroid flyby wasn't part of the original flight plan, but engineers adapted the mission and navigated the satellite through deep space (PDF). Exactly how close Chang'e-2 came to Toutatis is still unclear. The article states that the first reports 'placed the flyby range at 3.2 km, which was astonishingly—even recklessly—tight. Passing within a few kilometers of an asteroid only 2 to 3 km in diameter at a speed of 10,730 meters per second could be described as either superb shooting or a near disaster.' If the Chinese spacecraft did pass that near, it could provide a "scientific bonanza" with data about the asteroid's mass and composition."
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Details of Chinese Spacecraft's Asteroid Encounter

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  • Re:Figures. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:10PM (#42765995)
    Where the fuck did that come from?
  • China! China! ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:31PM (#42766253)

    Passing within a few kilometers of an asteroid only 2 to 3 km in diameter at a speed of 10,730 meters per second could be described as either superb shooting or a near disaster.

    I'm not often a "Yay, China!" kind of guy, but I do admit that's pretty cool; ballsy even. I'm happy for the engineers who stuck their necks out to try it. Pretty neat!

  • Re:Figures. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:31PM (#42766259) Homepage Journal

    Its speculative though. They don't know it got to 3.2 km range. And if your vehicle is disposable and the mission is a bonus, why not take risks?

  • Re:Figures. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:35PM (#42766291) Homepage

    I read it as the American author feeling threatened by the Chinese space programme that is apparently now rivalling or even surpassing NASA. Yes, surpassing. When they get their space station up it will be bigger than the largest US one, putting Skylab in third place behind the Russians.

    It's stupid. We should be congratulating them and thanking them for advancing science and mankind's exploration of space. Maybe work with them on the ISS, or getting back to the moon. Don't feel inadequate, just accept that you are not funding NASA enough to be the leaders at everything and that it really doesn't matter.

  • by thrich81 (1357561) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @04:47AM (#42770089)

    Holy (bleep), did you see the landing sequence of Curiosity? -- that's dancing near the fire! The reason it worked is because of all of those "bureaucratic tests", and there is now a laboratory on Mars which no other nation or agency could have put there. Kudos to the Chinese for the Chang'e-2 mission, but NASA is still so far ahead of anyone else in robot exploration of the solar system, measured by current, operating, successful missions (Cassini, Messenger, Curiosity, New Horizons, etc, etc), that there is really no comparison.

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