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#1 2006-10-30 21:29:19

cIclops
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

NASA Announces Discovery Program Selections

Three missions were selected for concept studies:

-- The Origins Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security (OSIRIS) mission would survey an asteroid and provide the first return of asteroid surface material samples to Earth. Michael Drake of the University of Arizona, Tucson, is OSIRIS's principal investigator. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., would manage the project.

-- The Vesper mission is a Venus chemistry and dynamics orbiter that would advance our knowledge of the planet's atmospheric composition and dynamics. Gordon Chin of Goddard is Vesper's principal investigator. Goddard would manage the project.

-- The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission would use high-quality gravity field mapping of the moon to determine the moon's interior structure. Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., is GRAIL's principal investigator. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., would manage the project.

The three missions of opportunity selected for concept studies are:

-- The Deep Impact eXtended Investigation of Comets (DIXI) mission would use the existing Deep Impact spacecraft for an extended flyby mission to a second comet to take pictures of its nucleus to increase our understanding of the diversity of comets. Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., is DIXI's principal investigator.

-- The Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh) mission would use the high-resolution camera on the Deep Impact spacecraft to search for the first Earth-sized planets detected around other stars. L. Drake Deming of Goddard is EPOCh's principal investigator.

-- The Stardust NExT mission would use the existing Stardust spacecraft to flyby comet Tempel 1 and observe changes since the Deep Impact mission visited it in 2005. In 2005, Tempel 1 has made its closest approach to the sun, possibly changing the surface of the comet. Joseph Veverka of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., is NExT's principal investigator.

More details about the asteroid sample return mission here

more details about the DIXI comet mission


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#2 2007-03-14 08:50:29

cIclops
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

170770main1_osiris_smweb.jpg
Artist's concept of the OSIRIS spacecraft

Proposed Mission Will Return Sample from Near-Earth Object - 9 Mar 2007

A menacing lump of rock and dust in space called 10195 (1999 RQ36) would barely be noticed except for two crucial facts: First, "It's a treasure trove of organic material, so it holds clues to how Earth formed and life got started," said Joseph Nuth of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Second, it regularly crosses Earth's orbit, so it might impact us someday.

Nuth is Project Scientist for the proposed OSIRIS mission, which will "return a pristine sample of the scientifically priceless asteroid RQ36 to Earth for in-depth study," said University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) Director Michael Drake, Principal Investigator for the proposed mission. The mission will be the first to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. NASA Goddard is managing the project. Lockheed Martin is building the flight system, the sampling mechanism, and the sample return capsule. Lockheed Martin is also performing spacecraft operations.

The OSIRIS team recently won a $1.2 million award from NASA to develop a more detailed engineering study of how the mission will accomplish its scientific objectives. OSIRIS will launch in 2011, acquire a sample of RQ36 in 2013, and return it to Earth in 2017.

OSIRIS is both a mythological figure and an acronym. "O" stands for the scientific theme, origins. "SI" is for spectral interpretation, or taking images of the NEO at wavelengths that will reveal its composition. "RI," or resource identification, is surveying the asteroid for such useful resources as water and metals. "S" stands for security, learning how to predict the detailed motion of Earth-approaching asteroids.

"OSIRIS of Egyptian mythology is the god of life and fertility, the god who taught Egyptians agriculture," said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS Deputy Principal Investigator, also with the University of Arizona. "There's an analogy to the proposed 21st century space mission. We're looking at the kind of object that we think brought life to Earth; that is, objects that seeded Earth with early biomolecules, the precursors of life."

Returning a sample to Earth will allow for a much more comprehensive study of the NEO, according to the team. "The equipment in my lab is small, merely desk-sized, but that's not easy to fly. Let alone the enormous synchrotrons, which dwarf cars and are impossible to fly," said Jason Dworkin, also of NASA Goddard, who is the Deputy Project Scientist and a Co-Investigator on OSIRIS. "Furthermore, there are also a lot of steps to prepare a sample. That would all have to be automated and work perfectly on a spacecraft."

"Also, you can't respond to surprises with the limited equipment on board a spacecraft," added Nuth. "About thirty years ago, the Viking landers scooped up a sample of Martian dirt and tested it for signs of microscopic life. The results were contradictory, and ever since then, there's been a controversy over whether there really was life or whether it was just some kind of exotic chemical reaction. If instead we were able to return samples to Earth, we could have tested the sample in other ways. And when technology improves, we just take samples out and test with the latest equipment. That's what we'll be able to do with the sample returned by OSIRIS."

OSIRIS samples will be available to the world-wide community, so people with diverse skills and techniques can offer unique insights. "The Stardust mission returned samples of comet Wild 2 with a total weight of just a tenth of a milligram, but it is enough to be analyzed by researchers all over the world," said Dworkin. "OSIRIS will return 150 grams -- about five ounces. We'll take it apart almost atom by atom. It will keep a lot of people busy for a long time."

The mission will also help to better track the orbits of asteroids that might hit Earth by accurately measuring the "Yarkovsky effect" for the first time. The Yarkovsky effect is a small push on an asteroid that happens when the asteroid absorbs sunlight and emits heat. The small push adds up over time, and it is uneven due to an asteroid's various surface materials, wobble, and rotation. There's no sure way to predict an Earth-approaching asteroid's orbit unless you can factor in how the Yarkovsky effect will change that orbit, according to the team. "It's like trying to make a complex, banking shot in a game of pool with someone shaking the table and kicking the legs," said Nuth.

RQ36 is roughly 580 meters in diameter, or about two-fifths of a mile. It orbits between about 83 million and 126 million miles from the sun, swinging within about 280,000 miles of Earth orbit, or roughly 40,000 miles more distant than the moon. The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center has officially classified RQ36 as a "potentially hazardous asteroid."

"It doesn't present any near-term hazard, but the small Yarkovsky push over hundreds of orbits may eventually be enough to cause an 'oops'," said Nuth.

The OSIRIS proposal was among approximately two dozen submitted in response to NASA's Discovery Program 2006 Announcement of Opportunity in April. NASA also selected two other proposed new Discovery-class missions, and three more Discovery-class proposals that would make use of existing NASA spacecraft, for concept development funding. NASA may select one or more investigations to continue into a development effort after detailed review of the concept studies. Decisions about which mission concepts will proceed to development are expected in late 2007.

Bill Steigerwald
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Lori Stiles
University of Arizona


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#3 2007-07-03 16:34:40

cIclops
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Spacecraft New Assignments - 3 Jul 2007

WASHINGTON -- Two NASA spacecraft now have new assignments after successfully completing their missions. The duo will make new observations of comets and characterize extrasolar planets. Stardust and Deep Impact will use their flight-proven hardware to perform new, previously unplanned, investigations.

"These mission extensions are as exciting as it gets. They will allow us to revisit a comet for the first time, add another to the list of comets explored and make a search for small planets around stars with known large planets. And by using existing spacecraft in flight, we can accomplish all of this for only about 15 percent of the cost of starting a new mission from scratch," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Headquarters, Washington. "These new mission assignments for veteran spacecraft represent not only creative thinking and planning, but are also a prime example of getting more from the budget we have."

The EPOXI mission melds two compelling science investigations -- the Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI) and the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization (EPOCh). Both investigations will be performed using the Deep Impact spacecraft, which finished its prime mission in 2005.

DIXI will involve a flyby of comet Boethin, which has never been explored. Boethin is a small, short period comet, or one that returns frequently to the inner solar system, from beyond Jupiter's orbit. This investigation will allow the recovery of some of the science lost with the 2002 failure of the COmet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) mission that was designed to make comparative studies of multiple comets. DIXI will be targeted to fly by comet Boethin December 5, 2008.

The EPOCh investigation also will use the Deep Impact spacecraft to observe several nearby bright stars, watching as the giant planets already known to be orbiting the stars pass in front of and then behind them. The collected data will be used to characterize the giant planets and to determine whether they possess rings, moons, or Earth-sized planetary companions. EPOCh's sensitivity will exceed both current ground and space-based observatory capabilities. EPOCh also will measure the mid-infrared spectrum of the Earth, providing comparative data for future efforts to study the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. This search for extrasolar planets will be made this year, en route to comet Boethin.

Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park, is EPOXI's principal investigator and the leader of the DIXI science team. L. Drake Deming of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md., is EPOXI's deputy principal investigator and leads the EPOCh investigation.

John Mather, Chief Scientist for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said, "EPOXI is a wonderful opportunity to add to our growing body of knowledge of exoplanets. Watching planets go behind or in front of their parent stars can tell us about their atmospheric chemistry."

The other newly selected Discovery mission of opportunity is called New Exploration of Tempel 1 (NExT). The mission will reuse NASA's Stardust spacecraft to revisit comet Tempel 1. This investigation will provide the first look at the changes to a comet nucleus produced after its close approach to the sun. It will mark the first time a comet has ever been revisited. NExT also will extend the mapping of Tempel 1, making it the most mapped comet nucleus to date. This mapping will help address the major questions of comet nucleus "geology" raised by images of areas where it appears material might have flowed like a liquid or powder. The images were returned by Deep Impact from its encounter with the comet on July 4, 2005. NExt is scheduled to fly by Tempel 1 on Feb. 14, 2011.

Joseph Veverka of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, is NExT's principal investigator.


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#4 2007-07-03 17:21:18

noosfractal
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

I wondered how Deep Impact could study extrasolar planets without an instrument specifically designed for it, but the EPOCh investigation proposal cleverly exploits a focus flaw in one of the cameras ...

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000756/

Nice!


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#5 2007-07-04 01:41:25

cIclops
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Yes a very nice idea, looking for perturbations in giant exoplanet transit times that might be caused by smaller exoplanets. No doubt that this is real science smile


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#6 2007-07-04 02:00:29

noosfractal
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Surprising it got funded really  wink


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#7 2015-07-14 20:22:51

SpaceNut
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

OSIRIS-REx is going to Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid that records the earliest history of our Solar System, and will be bringing a piece of it back to Earth.

Spectrometer delivered for NASA’s asteroid sample return mission

OSIRIS-Rex, the first U.S. mission to return samples from an asteroid, is scheduled for launch in September 2016. It will perform the Earth gravity assist in September 2017. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.

http://www.asteroidmission.org/


http://dslauretta.com/2015/04/28/osiris … y-of-life/

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#8 2015-12-24 15:05:07

SpaceNut
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

What about using balloons?
SOLAR MONTGOLFIERE BALLOONS FOR MARS
http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/adv_tech/ballo … AIAA99.pdf

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#9 2016-08-11 07:35:01

elderflower
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Here's a thought for a Mars mission not involving a lander. Purpose would be to assess the shallow subsurface geology at numerous points of interest, including, I would hope, locations for early landings.
As was done with a spent satellite of the moon and deliberately with one device on a comet, a series of objects (cannon balls?) could be impacted on Mars surface from orbit and the impact ejecta observed from an orbiter. This would enable us to examine potential ice masses or lava flows for example, without landing. Much cheaper!
Depth of penetration would vary depending on the mass and velocity at impact. Different size impactors would give access to different layers in the same area.
The data could be checked by impacting a well examined area, or by moving one of the surviving rovers to an impact site.
I would propose pure iron for the impactors as it wont affect the results. We already know that Mars is covered in it.

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#10 2016-08-11 13:25:15

Void
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

I like it Elderflower.


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#11 2016-08-11 19:59:05

SpaceNut
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Due to the small amount of atmosphere the impactor needs more mass to do the same damage at the terminal velocity that a smaller projectie would do if we raise the entry speed to force more energy to be transfered. One would need to coat the projectile with heat shielding materials in order to keep it from burning up on entry to allow for the greatest amount of mass to be retained for the experiment.. Yes the more sites the better view of resources we will have to make use of....

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#12 2016-08-12 18:21:01

GW Johnson
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

For a really solid object,  like a lump of iron or a monolithic piece of rock,  heat shielding upon entry is less of an issue.  You'll lose about 1/8 inch (3 mm) radial ablation during entry,  even at meteor speeds.  It just has to be something solid enough to survive the differential pressures fore-to-aft during entry. 

It is the not-so-consolidated things like carbonaceous chondrites that break up suddenly during the entry process. We have already seen this for decades with iron meteorites,  and with stony meteorites. 

Use a solid piece of iron or rock, and there is no speed we can achieve that will break the impactor apart.  Use an ordinary rocket stage,  and it will always break apart. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#13 2016-08-12 21:53:26

Void
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Ya, I should stop reading this stuff, it makes me return.

So, if you were to do the iron balls, I would suppose that that might be in many locations.  I support the use of the iron impactors for the reasons Elderchild mentioned.

Buy the dialog here made me wonder if you could also use an alternate impactor, composed of an iron or steel shell, and a reactive alkali metal core.  For the cases where you might want to further study evidence revealed by the iron impactors of a buried ice deposite.

I would expect that the iron or steel shell would break apart, or could be engineered to break apart in a specific way, and that would expose a metal like Sodium to the substances of Mars in the impact location.  I might think that a night side impact would be best for this, because you could hope to detect the flash, if there is one, and might analyze the light spectrum of that, to hope to determine what chemical reaction occurred.  I am open to rebuttal, if anyone feels that this is not a worthwhile thing to speculate on.


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#14 2016-08-13 05:21:13

elderflower
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

I considered explosives, but not an Alkali metal. I thought that the extremely strong signal from an explosive would mask any small signals from any organics that might be at the impact site, so I abandoned that idea. I think the same would apply to use of an alkali metal in obliterating some of the signals from the spectra given out by the ejecta- you would get something like high pressure sodium lighting.
Consequently I went for an iron impactor as we would, for sure, get an iron signal at almost any point on Mars regardless of the impactor. It's rusty! Also Iron would be likely to withstand atmospheric entry- provided it is sufficiently massive.

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#15 2016-08-13 06:57:58

SpaceNut
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Another off shot of an impactor is to make use of siesmic units on the surface to make core and other measurements from these.

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#16 2016-08-13 18:08:24

Void
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

I think you want to probe a salt pan if you are looking for extinct life or existing life.
http://themis.asu.edu/news/salt-deposit … -highlands
salt1_0.jpg

Salt deposits found in Martian highlands

Scientists using a camera designed and operated at Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility have discovered the first evidence for deposits of chloride minerals - salts - in numerous places on Mars. These deposits, say the scientists, show where water was once abundant and may also provide evidence for the existence of former Martian life.

A team of scientists led by Mikki Osterloo, of the University of Hawaii, used data from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter to discover and map the Martian chloride deposits. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Developed at Arizona State University, THEMIS is a multi-wavelength camera that takes images in five visual bands and 10 infrared ones. At infrared wavelengths, the smallest details THEMIS can see on the Martian surface are 330 feet (100 meters) wide.

The scientists found about 200 individual places in the Martian southern hemisphere that show spectral characteristics consistent with chloride minerals. These salt deposits occur in the middle to low latitudes all around the planet within ancient, heavily cratered terrain. The team's report appears in the March 21, 2008 issue of the scientific journal Science.

Besides Osterloo, the team includes Philip Christensen, Joshua Bandfield, and Alice Baldridge of Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility; Victoria Hamilton and Scott Anderson of the University of Hawaii; Timothy Glotch of Stony Brook University; and Livio Tornabene of the University of Arizona.

Osterloo found the sites by looking through thousands of THEMIS images processed to reveal, in false colors, compositional differences on the Martian surface. As she explains, "I started noting these sites because they showed up bright blue in one set of images, green in a second set, and yellow-orange in a third."

Says team member Christensen, "THEMIS gives us a good look at the thermal infrared, the best part of the spectrum for identifying salt minerals by remote sensing from orbit." When plotted on a global map of Mars, the chloride sites appeared only in the southern highlands, the most ancient rocks on Mars.

Lay of the Land

Christensen goes on to characterize the sites' geological setting. "Many of the deposits lie in basins with channels leading into them," he says. "This is the kind of feature, like salt-pan deposits on Earth, that's consistent with water flowing in over a long time."

Christensen, a Regents' Professor of Geological Sciences at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, designed THEMIS and is the instrument's principal investigator.

Osterloo notes, "The deposits range in area from about one square kilometer to about 25 square kilometers," or about 0.4 square mile to about 10 square miles. She adds, "Because the deposits appear to be disconnected from each other, we don't think they all came from one big, global body of surface water." Instead, she says, "They could come from groundwater reaching the surface in low spots. The water would evaporate and leave mineral deposits, which build up over years."

The scientists think the salt deposits formed mostly in the middle to late Noachian epoch, a time that researchers have dated to about 3.9 to 3.5 billion years ago. Several lines of evidence suggest that Mars then had intermittent periods of substantially wetter and warmer conditions than today's dry, frigid climate.

Looking for Life

Up to now, scientists looking for evidence of past life on Mars have focused mainly on a handful of places that show evidence of clay or sulfate minerals. The reasoning is that clays indicate weathering by water and that sulfates may form by water evaporation. The new research, however, suggests an alternative mineral target to explore for biological remains.

Says Christensen, "By their nature, salt deposits point to a lot of water, which could potentially remain standing in pools as it evaporates." That's crucial, he says. "For life, it's all about a habitat that endures for some time."

There may also be a concentrating effect, Christensen adds. "The deposits lie in what are probably sedimentary basins. If you look upstream, you might find only a trace of organic materials because they're thinly dispersed." But over a long period of time, he explains, "The water flowing into a basin can concentrate the organic materials and they could be well preserved in the salt."

Whether or not the Red Planet ever had life is the biggest scientific question driving Mars research. On Earth, salt has proven remarkably good at preserving organic material. For example, bacteria have been revived in the laboratory after being preserved in salt deposits for millions of years.

NASA is currently studying potential landing sites for its Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), a new-generation rover due for launch in fall 2011. Sites featuring clay deposits number heavily in the short-list of candidate places to send the rover.

Christensen says, "Scientists have studied Martian clay mineral sites for years now, and it's natural they should be considered as targets for the Mars Science Laboratory rover. However, the discovery of chloride minerals in topographic basins within the oldest rocks on Mars should also be considered as an alternative mineralogy for MSL or future rovers to explore."

"This discovery demonstrates the continuing value of the Odyssey science mission, now entering its seventh year," says Jeffrey Plaut, Odyssey project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The more we look at Mars, the more fascinating a place it becomes."

Blue marks a deposit of chloride (salt) minerals in the southern highlands of Mars in this THEMIS false-color image which highlights mineral composition differences. Using THEMIS, researchers have found more than 200 such features. These deposits typically lie within topographic depressions and suggest that Mars was much wetter long ago. The black rectangle shows the outline of a closeup view (below); 10 kilometers equals 6.2 miles. (Click on the image for a 5.6 MB version.)

NASA/JPL/Arizona State University/University of Hawaii
With colors close to its natural appearance, the chloride mineral deposit looks bright in tone, like salt pans on Earth. The deposit seems to be emerging as overlying material erodes away. Inset boxes show two areas (below) in greater detail, revealing cracks that formed as the salt deposit dried. One kilometer equals 0.6 mile and 100 meters is 110 yards.

NASA/JPL/Arizona State University/University of Hawaii/University of Arizona
Download Original
.

If I understand guidance will not be very good for these probes, so, maybe a larger salt pan is a good target.

What they might have to offer:
1) Layers of buried organic materials perhaps laid down during flooding.
2) Preservation of the deep layers of organic materials (If existing), by salt.
3) Actual possibility of seasonally habitable moisturized and warmed salt pans in some cases, where you might even hope to find existing life.
4) A water source for humans at not too high a latitude if #3 comes back false.

Your Iron probes should work well for digging a hole, and splashing organic layers around.

But there are lots of salt pans, and each one could endure many hits I am sure, so I would not be shy about using alternate probes which have a flammable metal in their core, to get some additional chemistry information, if that is worth the money.

As for the possibility of existing life, there would have been many challenges to it's continuity, but I think the salt pans are ideal for sheltering life from those upsets.

The upsets I can think of are:
1) Ice ages and arid periods, with possible lower atmospheric pressure for long periods of time.
2) Acid water.
3) Major impactor events which would heat things up, and possibly sterilize the surface.  Unlike the Earth where a thick atmosphere and vast oceans would help to temper such an event, Mars could temporarily turn into a steam autoclave on the surface.  Of course this might also temporarily thicken the atmosphere, and generate liquid water, which are potentially life giving.

The deepest layers of the salt pans might be some protection, and then if liquid water flowed into them of course from that time, life would be encouraged.

Another route for survival earlier in the history of Mars could have been springs, which might have lasted late into the fluvial period.  An Oasis such as that draining into a salt pan might provide some warming, and of course some water, and as for acid water perhaps a buffering of the acidity, as the acid water would flow through underground cracks, and under permafrost and would encounter rocks that were not as acid.

Such springs might have connected with still existing or extinct aquifers, where life might also have held on, to repopulate the salt pans after a hostile event.

And then there exists a possibility that a spore mode in the condition of dry cold salt could have help to preserve life for a better time.

So, now your iron balls might actually provide food to life in the salt pan.  It is not unthinkable that some member of a microbial biological community would specialize in eating iron.

So, I additionally suggest projectiles that would intentionally feed microbes.  Of course solid iron, but perhaps also hollow probes filled with iron particles.

And perhaps iron balls filled with Carbon, so in case a type of microbe specializes in processing Carbon, that could be stimulated.

It is not unreasonable that microbes in a salt pan might live off of the O2 and CO in the atmosphere, and also other Carbon based microbes, so perhaps they could process Carbon.

The results of microbes eating Iron or Carbon might be the emission of gasses, or an unexpected color progression in the materials deposited.

And of course Spacenut could have his seismic data.

I would think it might be an outside option to even go and collect organic samples with a rover, if at some point sufficient indication says that life no longer exists in the salt pans.

*Iron and Carbon and combustible metals could be sterilized by heat and other methods, so, the projectile method to me seems like a good option.

Last edited by Void (2016-08-13 18:45:39)


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#17 2016-08-19 13:25:22

elderflower
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

To deorbit a cannon ball you could attach a small rocket assembly using an electromagnet. When it reaches the desired re-entry velocity just open the circuit. Cannon ball and rocket will separate. Track the right object!

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#18 2016-09-07 18:16:04

SpaceNut
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Came across this article NASA to Land on Asteroid After One Nearly Clobbers Us

Astronomers shared a collective sigh of relief last week when a 100-foot asteroid hurtling toward Earth missed by 50,000 miles—just a fifth of the distance to the moon. As comforting as the avoided terrestrial calamity was, what remains disturbing is that no one knew it was coming.

The near miss came just days before NASA plans to launch an $800 million probe that will land on a much larger asteroid, a remnant from the beginning of the solar system that should provide clues to Earth’s origins.

The mission OSIRIS-REx, is slated to blast off on Sept. 8, from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

-1x-1.png

Damage caused by an asteroid hitting Earth is dependent on several things, including its size and speed, and where and how it hits. This chart projects fatalities based on size.
SOURCE: "Defending Planet Earth," National Research Council, 2010

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#19 2016-09-08 13:25:53

GW Johnson
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Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Spacenut's stolen NASA plot is exactly why asteroid deflection is worthy of a major goal of a space program,  and also a prime justification for actually having one. 

I see on the internet that Osiris-Rex is supposed to launch for a sample return mission to asteroid Bennu,  a possible collision threat a century or so hence,  and Bennu is a big one as these things go.  Launch window reportedly opens about 7PM EDT tonight.  Atlas-5.  Not sure which configuration.

I also see that a second asteroid in two days has passed very close.  This one is bus-sized,  about 23,000 miles out.  The 50,000 mile one mentioned in Spacenut's post is somewhat bigger.  Both are city-buster dangerous,  as was Chelyabinsk except for its shallow trajectory. 

Close shave is right.  We discovered it a day or two before it passed us,  just like the other one.  This is happening all the time.  You just don't usually see it reported.  Sooner or later,  our number will come up,  and I don't mean a small one like the Chelyabinsk thing. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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#20 2016-09-08 16:28:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,913

Re: NASA mission concept studies and missions of opportunity

Mission and Atlas V configuration....
http://www.ulalaunch.com/atlas-v-to-lau … isrex.aspx

Rocket/Payload:A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 configuration rocket will launch the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission for NASA.

Date/Site/Launch Time:Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch window is 7:05-9 p.m. EDT.

Webcast: Live launch coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/09 … oid-bennu/

The OSIRIS-REx mission is expected to last seven years, culminating with the reentry of the spacecraft’s return capsule in September 2023.

About two and a half years of the mission will be spent at the asteroid (101955) Bennu, from August 2018 to March 2021, with sampling of the asteroid expected to occur in 2020.

Bennu was discovered on 11 September 1999 by scientists at the Lincoln Laboratory’s Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program using the Experimental Test Site (ETS) telescope at White Sands, New Mexico. It was provisionally named 1999 RQ36.

An Apollo-class near Earth asteroid orbiting between 134 and 203 million kilometers (83.4 to 126 million miles; 0.897 to 1.36 astronomical units) from the Sun, Bennu has an orbital period of 437 days and a rotation period of 4.29 hours.

The asteroid has a radius of approximately 246 meters (807 feet) and its mass has been estimated at between 60 and 77.6 billion kilograms (59 to 76 million Imperial tons; 66 to 86 million US tons).

Bennu is classified as a B-type asteroid, within the wider C-group of dark-coloured carbonaceous asteroids.

The B-type is believed to be a particularly primitive class of asteroid, dating back to the early Solar System, so studying and sampling it could provide scientists with a snapshot of conditions when the Solar System was forming.

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