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Space Science

Flares Injure Mars Odyssey 26

Henry writes "The BBC is reporting that NASA's Mars Odyssey has suffered a hit from the recent solar flares. Apparently, the instrument which measures radiation levels has been shut down; it is not known if the damage is permanent."
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Flares Injure Mars Odyssey

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  • So what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheRedHorse ( 559375 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @03:33PM (#7583506)
    From the article:

    "Even if the instrument provides no additional data in the future, it has been a great success at characterising the radiation environment that a crewed mission to Mars would need to anticipate," said Jeffrey Plaut, project scientist for Mars Odyssey.

    It appears the radiation instrument has already given NASA enough data. The Odyssey's true purpose now would be to rebroadcast signals to and from probes planning to land on Mars itself soon.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vellmont ( 569020 )
      You're right that it's not a terrible loss, but if it's permanent, it's unfortunate. Having all the instruments function can be often usefull. For example, if a instrument whose name I forget were still working on Voyager II, we'd know for certain when Voyager II has left the solar system.
    • Its too bad they didn't have any of those instruments on the surface to see how much radiation gets through Mars' atmosphere.
    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Saturday November 29, 2003 @11:09AM (#7587275) Homepage
      it has been a great success at characterising the radiation environment that a crewed mission to Mars would need to anticipate

      Overheard in the Nasa cafeteria:

      Steve:Hey Jim, I was looking over those figures from the Mars Odyssey and I was thinking... those radioation levels... they got pretty high.

      Jim: Hmmm? What about it?

      Steve: Well, I was just thinking, you know? About that manned Mars mission plan we keep kicking around? And I was thinking.... if we had a manned mission out there on the way to Mars during that solar flare.... well... I was thinking they might be dead right now.

      Jim: Hmmm, let me take a look. Hmmmm.... yeah, those numbers *are* pretty high. I dunno, lets ask Bill, he went to medical school.

      Jim: YO! BILL! Take a look at these radiation levels. If we had some Astronauts out there on the way to mars during that big flare, would they be dead?

      Bill: Okey, lets see here...... heh, heh heh, you're kidding, right? Would they be dead? No, they wouldn't be dead. They'd be crispy critters! Would you like some hot-and-spicy sauce with them thar crispy critters? Hahaha! Would you like fries with them thar crispy critters? Oooh boy, "would they be dead?" he asks, that's a good one!


      -
  • hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Danse ( 1026 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @03:55PM (#7583627)

    Haven't they already used the solar flare excuse? I woulda gone with "there was a plasma conduit breach".

  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:42PM (#7584115)
    It's events like this that make one realize how hostile space really is and how primitive our tools are. We are really still in the calamity-prone early stages of an age of space exploration that is not unlike the often hazardous voyages of discovery in the 15th to 17th centuries.

    It seems to me that space exploration will only succeed once it becomes so cheap or reliable to send stuff out, that nobody worries about the loss of intruments or even whole spacecraft.
    • by Wardish ( 699865 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @07:09PM (#7584515) Journal
      Hostile, Yes indeed! But the major problem and the reason it's still so very very hostile is that we've never commited to being there.

      Explorers are always risk takers and so they should be but if we want things to be safe we need to start sending people who aren't risk takers. Colonists who want to go but will work there tails off to reduce the risk because they are THERE and the risk is personal! And by personal I mean thier and their kids hides.

      As for cheap and reliable, those are adjectives that will be appropriate when it is common. They generally don't come first.

      You want cheap, give someone the task of moving 50 megaton's of mass to L4 for a set price. I garruntee that they will find ways to make things much more cost effective because every 5 bucks saved is somone's martini.

      Reliable, we are back to people risking their hides. That and public opinion after some disaster. And have no doubts... Disasters will happen. It's a time to buckle down and solve problems but not at the expense of not getting the job done.

      Ok, I'm done ranting, Mod me down as necessary, I'll go take my medication now...
      • Hostile, Yes indeed! But the major problem and the reason it's still so very very hostile is that we've never commited to being there.

        We have had a pretty much unbroken presence in space since the 1950's. Not, it hasn't been a manned presence, but so what? Putting people into space is unnecessarily risky and has little reward.

        Reliable, we are back to people risking their hides.

        No, we are not. Unlike the age of exploration, we don't have to go ourselves anymore. We can simply lean back while ever
        • We have never HAD to go ourselves. We've always had the choice of not going, and many of us have availed ourselves of that choice. But to get back on point.

          I'm in no way advocating going for no reason. Or even going for the sake of knowledge. As a matter of fact I agree that robotic's, telepresence and various other technological apendages are very useful.

          However. I've been in the business of making things work reliably for a long time. One might say system reliability and survival. And the single
      • by Anonymous Coward
        That's a pretty darn ignorant point of view. You obviously have no idea how nasty the space environment is beyond the safety of the Earth. You suggest that if we were really serious we would just start sending people into the deadly radiation environment because, hey, you expect a few losses at first. We're not at the stage where the Europeans were when they sent out huge ships on discovery (almost all of which stayed within sight of shore). Comparitively speaking, we have dinghys, not sailing ships.

        N

        • "That's a pretty darn ignorant point of view. You obviously have no idea how nasty the space environment is beyond the safety of the Earth. You suggest that if we were really serious we would just start sending people into the deadly radiation environment because, hey, you expect a few losses at first. We're not at the stage where the Europeans were when they sent out huge ships on discovery (almost all of which stayed within sight of shore). Comparitively speaking, we have dinghys, not sailing ships."

          *chu
          • Your sailing ship example is a bit out of context

            Actually I think the dinghy to sailing ship comparison is very much in context. For thousands of years ships could never venture out of sight of the coastline and the sailors slept on shore at night. It took many technologies to be developed as well as thousands of years of experience with the sea to venture out beyond the sight of land.

            Right now we can basically send humans off the 'shore' of earth, but not too far from it. This process is giving us t

  • This just in:

    It appears that there is nobody on the way to mars to repair the damage, subsequently, the repairs will not be completed as previously expected.
  • I'm curious if anyone knows how the ISS handled the recent bombardment....
  • Yep, just another excuse to keep people from seeing, with their own eyes, what's really on Mars. IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!!!

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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