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Space Science

MUSES-C Launched 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."
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MUSES-C Launched

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  • by robslimo ( 587196 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @12:54PM (#5919665) Homepage Journal
    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?
    • FYI, old spy satellites used to drop rolls of film. I'm not sure about the mechanism though.

    • Still no complete answer, but I found this link:

      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: 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 wil
    • Soviets Did This (Score:3, Interesting)

      by karnat10 ( 607738 )
      Back in 1970, in SOVIET RUSSIA, they successfully returned samples from the moon to earth, no astronauts involved. Check it out here: sc=1970-072A
  • 1 gram? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChiefArcher ( 1753 ) * on Friday May 09, 2003 @01:13PM (#5919835) Homepage Journal
    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)

    • 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.

      • Re:1 gram? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by g4dget ( 579145 )
        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.
        • 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.

          • 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? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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.
  • by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @01:24PM (#5919953) Homepage Journal
    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.

User hostile.