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Landing on asteroids may cause avalanches


Posted on Friday, 5 July, 2013 | Comment icon 26 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf


Image credit: NASA

 
The surface of an asteroid may not be quite as stable a place to land a spacecraft as previously thought.

NASA's current manned space exploration objective is to send humans to an asteroid as a stepping stone towards a mission to Mars, however in order to do so it will be necessary to step foot on the surface of one - something that has never been attempted before. Microgravity experiments conducted to simulate what might happen however have started to reveal some troubling details relating to the unstable nature of the rubble and dust the astronauts would be walking on.

To a far greater extent than on the Earth, loose particles in microgravity have the potential to turn in to an avalanche very quickly, indicating that the surface would be less than stable. "A lander touching down on the surface on one side of a small, rubble-pile asteroid could perhaps cause an avalanche on the other side, by long-range transmission of forces through chains," said researcher Dr Naomi Murdoch.

"Results from a microgravity experiment suggest that the rubble and dust covering asteroids and comets can feel changes in force-chains between particles over much larger distances than on Earth, making these surfaces less stable than previously imagined."

  View: Full article |  Source: Ras.org

  Discuss: View comments (26)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by ImMike on 8 July, 2013, 2:08
Ok... I created an account just to say this. danielost, you have no idea what you are talking about. Unless English is your second language, your father did you the biggest favor of your life by keeping you in second grade. Your last post made absolutely no sense. Also your gravitational field was never and will never be greater than the earth. I don't care how many feathers you stick to yourself or how big of a lunch you had that day.
Comment icon #18 Posted by danielost on 8 July, 2013, 19:15
Dwarf your mad at me for making a guess and using the words if, might and maybe. The article that your so proud of used the words, might couse an avolance. That makes that a guess. So by your attack on me, that article was a waste of space. To the other person, I am the only one on this thread that is using his immaganation. Dwarf has a phd and assumes anyone with out one is stupid. I don't know well enough to say why you think I am stupid. But I would GUESS it is because dwarf thinks I am. Now the gravity field is much smaller than earths. If the rock is small enough there might be a chance f... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 July, 2013, 20:35
Dwarf your mad at me I not mad with you. It may be personal for you, it's not for me. I am, however, bored with your posts. I'm bored with them because you repeatedly make statements of fact which are are no such thing and are usually totally wrong. I am bored with them because I have better things to do than correct the nonsensical idiocy you see fit to post in the science sections. I am bored them because you make yourself look foolish with the nonsense you post but don't take responsibility for your own actions, but instead try to blame everyone else. for making a guess Guessing has NO plac... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 July, 2013, 20:40
Continued... But, as I have said twice now. It doesn't matter how often you repeat rubbish, it remains rubbish. A robot can not land as a human could, Yes it can. because of the minute corrections you have to make. The corrections required for landing are the same whether carried out by computer or by an astronaut. Physics remains the same in both cases. It neither knows nor cares whether the vehicle is manned or not. Beside these manoeuvres are totally irrelevant, it is the force imparted on the asteroid at the point of landing (or impact) which matter (go and read the original article). The ... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by ImMike on 8 July, 2013, 23:06
To the other person, I am the only one on this thread that is using his immaganation. Dwarf has a phd and assumes anyone with out one is stupid. I don't know well enough to say why you think I am stupid. But I would GUESS it is because dwarf thinks I am. Now the gravity field is much smaller than earths. If the rock is small enough there might be a chance for an asternaut may lounch himself into space. I said what I did based solely on what you have written. This thread is the first time I've read what either of you have posted so I don't know why you would think I would take his side for no r... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by danielost on 9 July, 2013, 0:00
That is your problem. I said a robot cannot land a ship like a human can. I was not talking about the weight of the ship. I was talking about the pilot of the ship. Did you see the movie apallo thirteen. The scene in which they use the earth as a target to align the ship for its return course. The humans were bouncing that ship all over the place. The final line was we had to learn how to fly all over again. What made that manouver so hard is that there were two humans at the control, instead of one computer. If the domputer had bee up the manouver would have been smooth. Everything else I sai... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by danielost on 9 July, 2013, 0:02
Immike dwarf didn't like the way I said it not what I said.
Comment icon #24 Posted by JMPD1 on 9 July, 2013, 0:05
Welcome to UM ImMike. Keep your eyes and ears open and you can learn some neat things here. There are some extremely clever and sharp folk hereabouts!
Comment icon #25 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 9 July, 2013, 0:31
That is your problem. I said a robot cannot land a ship like a human can. I was not talking about the weight of the ship. I was talking about the pilot of the ship. Yes I understood what you said. You didn't but I did. Did you see the movie apallo thirteen. The scene in which they use the earth as a target to align the ship for its return course. The humans were bouncing that ship all over the place. The final line was we had to learn how to fly all over again. What made that manouver so hard is that there were two humans at the control, instead of one computer. If the domputer had bee up the ... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by ImMike on 9 July, 2013, 1:14
Welcome to UM ImMike. Keep your eyes and ears open and you can learn some neat things here. There are some extremely clever and sharp folk hereabouts! Thanks


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