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Orbital boffins cut four years off NASA mission to shiniest object in the Solar System

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As Professor Proton always says, there is no problem you can't solve if you use your noggin.

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Jolly good! Next up, warp drive or world peace? I'll let you pick, I'll just be watching from over here...

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Joke

An attractive idea?

So what --- did they put a big magnet on the craft, so the asteroid just naturally pulls it to itself?

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Anonymous Coward

2024!!

The future is here, almost, sort of...

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Re: 2024!!

I'm pretty sure I can buy food with a Best Before date later than 2024.

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Happy

Re: 2024!!

Ah, but can you actually eat food that's designed to last that long?

I rememeber reading a few years ago that the US Department of Defense were dead chuffed with themselves for creating the MRE pizza. Yup that's a heat-in-the-bag pizza with a 3 year shelf-life. Yum!

I guess it's a bit like after your plane's crashed in a remote location. And you've run out of other passengers to eat and are forced to [the horror, the horror] eat the airline "food".

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Details?

It would be nice if there were some details on the difference between the two trajectories. I had a quick look at the NASA site and could only see the original press release.

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Shiniest, you say?

"We challenged the mission design team to come up with a snappy backronym," said director Jim Green, "and they totally failed to come through."

So how about ... Mars Assisted-Gravity Psyche Inspection Expedition?

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Re: Shiniest, you say?

s/Psyche/Protoplanet/

I know it works the other way, but it just sounds wrong with the goofy name for the asteroid.

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Three Cheers for astrodynamics

And for Rich Purnell - a steely eyed missile man if ever there was one.

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Orbiting the object?

Object is big enough to put the satalite into a useful orbit?

Or they plan to 'circle' the object instead of 'orbiting' it?

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Re: Orbiting the object?

Object is big enough to put the satalite into a useful orbit?

16 Psyche has an escape velocity of 159m/s and thus a low altitude orbital velocity of about 110ms (260mph). That's not something you'd ignore like Rosetta at 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, but rather a gravity field that will consume tens of meters per second of propellant during capture and potentially hundreds for significant plane changes.

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aks

Re: Orbiting the object?

Any two objects can orbit each other. It's only a question of mass and distance which determines the orbital period. They've been orbiting comets quite happily.

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Re: Orbiting the object?

16 Psyche isn't a small object until you start comparing it with dwarf stars. It represents ~1% of the total mass of the asteroid belt and is iron-rich, meaning that it is very dense for its geometric dimensions. Therefore, relative to its radius it has a significantly larger gravitational sphere of influence than a water/carbon/silicon body of either similar mass or similar dimensions.

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I'm just waiting for the mission design team who designed the new trajectory for Psyche to come back with: "Psych!"

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Anonymous Coward

This is the scrap deal of the century

"Harold! Look what I brought home."

"You dirty little man."

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On it's own 16 Psyche could supply us with Nickel Iron for the next 100,000 years - probably.

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Nonono! We totally need to put it in low(ish) Earth orbit and polish it up to a shiny sphere! It must be done!

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Mushroom

Arrggghhhh....

Is probably the cry from the satellite design team when they just found out they've had a year removed from their design and testing plan. Not to mention redesigning the heat shields and the solar panels and the trusses and the electronics and arrrgghhhhhhhhhh............................

I wonder if they will get more resources (money, people, test facility access) to complete things a year faster? Ah sorry, what was i thinking, management dont give additional resources. They only make "savings"...

(sorry - been in too many projects where schedules get changed without warning, and no compensation of resources ever occurs).

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Re: Arrggghhhh....

It could be worse - we have had a products that is determined to be too expensive to get sales.

At the end of development and no, the developers kept to time and budget.

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Re: Arrggghhhh....

It could be worse.

You never know what you are going to discover trying to put yourself in orbit around an object built predominantly of high quality vacuum manufactured steel. It... may... not... like... it...

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@iglethal

I had the same thought. But a chunk of that year is probably allocated to trying to get the mass down, trying to make it work on the available power, trying to make it fit into the space available, and testing this fragile design. So maybe even the design team will thank you for lifting all those restrictions.

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cunning plan

Cunning plans always make me think of Blackadder.

Which led me to this:

Blackadder: Baldrick, have you no idea what "irony" is?

Baldrick: Yes, it's like "goldy" and "bronzy" only it's made out of iron.

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dvd

Shiniest?

Isn't the shiniest object in the solar system the sun?

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Re: Shiniest?

Isn't the shiniest object in the solar system the sun?

No. I shone my torch at the sun and couldn't get a reflection. My mirror, however, ....

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Re: Shiniest?

I suppose it depends if you define a shiny object as being a reflector or an emitter of light. Ol' Sol is a very good emitter of light, but I'm not sure how reflective of light it is.

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Re: Shiniest?

but I'm not sure how reflective of light it is.

Our deal old Sol is not reflective at all. It is in fact considered a black body :)

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Trollface

Re: Shiniest?

Should we perhaps redefine every other colour as "high-temperature black"? Except pink, of course, which isn't a real colour, therefore it's still a real colour and not "hot black". Dang it, where are all the graphic artist friends I don't have when you need them, to annoy them by claiming all they know how to work with is a variety of shades of black...

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Ummm.

Large nickel iron object in asteroid belt.

Oh look Shiiiiiiiney.

Perhaps they might want to keep that additional thermal shielding, just in case the automated defence systems are still on line. Thats no moon.

/the one with Arthur C.'s work in the pocket please.

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Re: Ummm.

"Thats no moon."

Of course not, it's an asteroid!

And are you suggesting a similar scenario to this?

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