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back to article NASA's asteroid hunter creeps up on Vesta

NASA's Dawn has sent back its first photo of asteroid belt giant Vesta, snapped at a distance of 1.21 million kilometres (752,000 miles), and offering a teaser of what we can expect when the spacecraft goes into orbit around the distant body on 16 July. The agency's enhanced image shows Vesta against "a spectacular background of …

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Get Spooks involved.

NASA needs to employ Tariq from BBC's Spooks.

He'll have a high resolution 3d image rendered from that badly pixelated photo in a matter of minutes.

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Looking forward to this one...

and Ceres too - if it's got that much (no doubt fairly grubby) 'fresh' water, sounds like it could be a good place to be.

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title

It's made of Lego!

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Lego!

Asteroid-craft?

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Coming soon to a cinema near you....

Creepers....from SPACE!

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Composed of, surely?

If Ceres has more fresh water than we currently have on Earth, then we need to send a big engine up there to slow down its orbit, bring her alongside Earth as a moon and start extracting that water for use in Africa, India etc. Just sayin.

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Pint

I can see the Daily Mail headline right now...

"African astro-beer run, funded by YOU the taxpayer."

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Moving Ceres

Of course moving Ceres will be a 'no risk' option - there'd be no chance of disturbing the orbits of the other asteroids would there?

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Stop

Re: Moving Ceres

Or disturbing the Earth-Moon system catastrophically. Talk about mankind destroying the planet, that's the endgame!

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Flame

Re: Moving Ceres

If we wanted to seek a real use for it, our best bet might be to bring it into Mars' orbit. From there we can break it into a few hundred thousand smaller pieces which we de-orbit piecemeal - crashing the whole dwarf planet at once would probably break Mars.

Having a bunch of water present on Mars could be helpful, especially if we could convince Mars to just suddenly have a decent magnetosphere and hold an atmosphere. Plus, the added mass of Ceres would marginally increase the surface gravity of Mars.

Some major problems arise for human habitation, even supposing a magnetosphere and atmosphere can be conjured into existence. The planet is largely covered in fine-grained dust - not good for human lungs. We'll need a lot of carbon and associated organic compounds to get that planet sufficiently covered with plant matter to hold the (not sure of the proper word here - regolith applies to moon dirt, does it also apply to Martian soil?) in place and prevent it from choking us.

If we really just want to have fun, we could send our moon to Mars - Mars being largely covered in iron(III) oxide, and the moon largely in aluminum, we could have ourselves quite the thermite bomb. The flame, because if Mars became self-luminous it would have to join Pluto as a declassified planet.

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Anonymous Coward

"plying the seas of space" eh?

I appreciate the need for NASA to make this stuff appeal to the average hack who doesn't care about this sort of stuff but whose coverage might make the vital difference in Washington's decisions about how much money to give them, but there's a difference between being florid and downright inaccurate.

Or is NASA keeping some new aetheric research from us?

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Pint

I don't care what anyone says...

..this stuff is mind blowingly cool. Lots more to come with SpaceX making launches affordable to many. To infinity and beyond.

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Alien

re: plying the seas of space

Actually, NASA and other spaceflight types have been using nautical analogies for many years now; in fact, JFK's early speeches on recently-inaugurated US spaceflight programs featured the phrase "this new ocean" (it was in his famous "Moon Speech" at Rice University, iirc). Also, the terms "astronaut" and "cosmonaut" translate loosely from Latin as "star sailor" and "space sailor".

Btw, it's also interesting to note that a large majority of US astronauts were originally naval aviators or test pilots based at naval air stations, and not from the USAF.

Alien icon, because there are no small icon-sized portraits here of Al Shepard or Pete Conrad.

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Re: re: plying the seas of space

See also the logo of the Planetary Society: http://www.planetary.org/

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Headmaster

Million Kilometres?

Come on. guys. A million kilometres is a gigametre (Gm). Surely it's far more convenient to hear of the photo having been taken from 1.21Gm away, when any 8yr old knows that the Sun is about 149Gm from Earth and the moon is about 390Mm from Earth as a scale reference.

It's hard work parsing all these "millions of kilosomethings" when S.I. provides a nice simple prefix to do the job. If you think I'm wrong, then ask yourself how often you refer to the number of billions (or trillions) of kilobytes on your desktop's hard-drive then??

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Happy

ʇǝıʌos sǝɹnsɐǝɯ puɐ sʇɥbıǝʍ ןɐɹʇuǝɔ ǝɹnʇןnʌ ǝɥʇ

would beg to differ. I'm actually disappointed that Lester, being part of same, chooses to use such those obscure SI units.

1.21 million kilometers should obviously be expressed as 8.75 million brontsauruses standing head-to-tail.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: ʇǝıʌos sǝɹnsɐǝɯ puɐ sʇɥbıǝʍ ןɐɹʇuǝɔ ǝɹnʇןnʌ ǝɥʇ

A fair comment, but how long does that take to travel at the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum?

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Sheep in a vacuum

After Lewis' story yesterday, shouldn't we consider revising the standard and base it on squid, which are at least decimal?

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Basic

Squid aint decimal - they are base 8, as any fule no.....

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Black Helicopters

base 8 squid..

Octalpussy?

< well it looks a bit like one.

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Megaphone

Science!

Aint it wonderful?

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Base 8 Squid???

Hang on, dumb it down for the rest of us plebs - what's that in Wales and Elephants?

BTW that pic reminds me of the arcade classic "Space Wars", I keep expecting to see two small ships appear from the sdes and start shooting each other ;)

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Marooned off Vesta by Isaac Asimov

" the story of three men who survive the wreck of the spaceship Silver Queen in the Asteroid Belt and find themselves trapped in orbit around the asteroid Vesta. They have at their disposal three airtight rooms, one spacesuit, three days' worth of air, a week's supply of food, and a year's supply of water. With typically Asimovian courage and ingenuity, the trapped men manage to use the limited resources at their disposal to rescue themselves. The description of their rescue is heavy with accurate portrayals of the physics and experiences involved with being in space, "

or so wiki remembers for me

izzy had a thing for the World Ceres too. ablative shielding source ?

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