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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... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 July, 2013, 20:35
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. Guessing has NO place in science. I... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 July, 2013, 20:40
Continued... It doesn't matter how often you repeat rubbish, it remains rubbish. Yes it can. 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 corrections before landing will play no part. You are joking right? Sadly I suspect you are not. You bas... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by ImMike on 8 July, 2013, 23:06
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 reason. Your posts are full of typos and many sentences you have written make no sense at all. You are also saying things that are completely untrue and passing it off as fact. Instead of admitting you are wrong or even trying understand what other people are saying, you just come back and spout out more incorrect or irrelevant information. I also do not have a PHD. I didn't even finish c... [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 ... [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
Yes I understood what you said. You didn't but I did. How do you manage to be so wrong so often? [list=I][*]That scene was highly exaggerated for dramatic effect. Hollywood movies are not renowned for there scientific accuracy. [*]Do you really think a manned mission would attempt a landing on an asteroid if it had suffered total computer failure? Just because a mission is manned it doesn't mean they will switch off the computers, or are you basing your argument on the scene in Star Wars where Luke uses the Force instead of his computer to attack the Death Star. [*]I repeat YET A... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by ImMike on 9 July, 2013, 1:14
Thanks
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