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Extreme Close-Up of Mars's Moon Phobos 104

coondoggie writes "The European Space Agency's Mars exploring satellite will make a number of close-up passes of the Martian moon Phobos. The Mars Express, which the agency launched in 2003, has begun a series of flybys of Phobos, the largest moon of Mars, that will ultimately set a new record for the closest pass to Phobos — skimming the surface at 50 km, or about 31 miles. This is only about 5 times the irregular moon's average radius. The data collected by the satellite could help solve some of the mysteries about the moon, beginning with that of its origin."
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Extreme Close-Up of Mars's Moon Phobos

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  • Re:Typical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:17PM (#31163156)

    You are ignorant. Many of the technologies that we have now owe their existence to space technology. We know more than ever about our own planet's environment, its ecosystem, weather and lifeforms thanks to the exploration of other planets. It is likely that you would not even have a computer, nor access to a global network to post your message on if not for technology developed for space exploration. There is also the simple drive for knowledge, but obviously knowing things isn't your modus operandi.

    What REALLY needs to be cut is military and weapons funding. The invasion of Iraq alone costs around ten billion tax dollars per year for a pointless and unscrupulous occupation.

  • Re:Typical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:20PM (#31163182) Journal
    I support science funding, but a billion dollars can fund a lot of terrestrial science projects, so any space mission better not be a stand-alone one as long as the budget stays so high. I agree putting a man on Mars isn't practical in the short term, but we should still be working towards making a Mars mission become practical. A data-gathering mission should have to fight directly with telescope projects for funding, otherwise it has to provide more direct benefits. For example, the article says it is planned to get samples back to earth by the 2020's. That mission would combine technical progress (getting something off of Mars for the first time) with scientific research, so it is an ideal project.

    As for this mission, knowing more about the composition of the moon can help us if we want to make use of it for future missions (for its gravity or as a base), and the mapping of the Martian surface will help us direct future missions. This is a good mission, and I support its funding. It isn't just about getting pictures of a rock.
  • Re:Typical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:52PM (#31163412) Journal
    I don't agree with the people who hate any spending that has to do with space, but there has to be a balance somewhere. I see the benefit of the Apollo missions and they were worth the cost, but space missions are expensive compared to a lot of earth-based science. This mission seems worth the cost, as it will help us plan future missions, but just as people shouldn't reject spending as soon as they see "space", we shouldn't automatically accept it either. Science will never get as much funding as we would like, so we need to be sure we spend what we've got wisely.
  • Re:"Hollow"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haruharaharu ( 443975 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:13PM (#31164078) Homepage
    Sure there are - you just haven't done much internet dating.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.