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back to article Leaping hedgehog probes planned for Martian moon Phobos

Researchers at Stanford University and NASA are designing spiky spherical probes to bounce across the Martian moon Phobos and prepare the way for possible astronaut colonization. The plan calls for an orbital control satellite, a coffee table–sized unit dubbed Phobos Surveyor, which would scan the moon's surface using gamma ray …

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WTF?

Is it hostile?

Perhaps it is natural for space exploration to appear as terrifying as possible. If we keep this up we may never find life that would get along with us, not that we would find any on Phobos anyway. What would you think if you saw these bouncing/floating towards you?

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Black Helicopters

Doctor Who

I've seen enough Doctor who to know what they are.

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Silver badge

Can they jump right off?

Given Phobos' low escape velocity (a person could easily throw a ball up fast enough that it never comes down) I wonder if these things could take a run-up at a suitable slope (e.g. Stickney's inner wall) and launch themselves into Martian orbit?

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Joke

Why am I reminded of...

The Muppet show's ...Pigs In Space...

When it comes to naming things after animals that fly high above us?

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Bronze badge

Phobos' gravity well

With no gravity well to speak of, Phobos would be safer and cheaper to land humans on...

I've heard some wags "in the biz" remark that a spacecraft wouldn't so much land on Phobos as dock with it.

Given Phobos' low escape velocity (a person could easily throw a ball up fast enough that it never comes down) I wonder if these things could take a run-up at a suitable slope (e.g. Stickney's inner wall) and launch themselves into Martian orbit?

About the time that the NEAR Shoemaker probe was finishing its mission at asteroid Eros with its famous daring "bumpdown", Eros' gravity was described as so weak that an astronaut standing on its surface would have to avoid jumping so as to not accidentally launch himself into orbit. It's also been suggested that astronauts visiting bodies like Phobos (or Eros) would have to be equipped with modified mountain climbing gear -- spiked overshoes, carabiners, cables, etc. -- as walking in a normal fashion would be nearly impossible owing to the weak gravity.

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Anonymous Coward

Most of it's mass it made up of empty space?

wuh?

Surely /volume/ could be made up of empty space. But the mass per unit volume of a vacuum is pretty low.

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Bronze badge

...And so, the Piranha Brothers began what they called the OTHER Other Other Operation...

...where Dinsdale Piranha threatened NASA with bodily harm unless they sent Spiny Norman to Mars in a rocket...

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Re: ...And so, the Piranha Brothers began what they called the OTHER Other Other Operation...

...This, for the Piranha Brothers, was the turning point.

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Solar Panels

Look like they'll be completly covered in dust after the first roll.

*Wonders if NASA is outsourcing it's probe design to Lucasarts*

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Coat

Re: Why am I reminded of...

Heeedge piiigs iiin spaaace, I believe you mean.

Exit stage left!

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Coat

I'm amazed

Spinning, bouncing hedgehogs on Phobos... Does Stanford and NASA really expect to find gold rings and chaos emeralds there?

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Phobos ... safe?

Oh yes, it starts out safe and boring, but surely we all know where that road ends ... invasion from HELL!

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Devil

Groovy

<BZZZZZZZZZZ>

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Not hedgehogs

Looks more like sea-urchins

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_urchin

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"tested in simulated low-gravity environments"

So, that'll the local council swimming pool then. But that doesn't sound quite as 'rocket science'.

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Video games

I call Sonic!!!

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Re: Video games

Roboticised by Robotnik. The probes then unfold into Scratch and Grounder.

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DJV
Alert

Cavorite!

Yay! Spiky punk versions of "First Men in the Moon" Cavorite sphere!

http://home.earthlink.net/~jparvey/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/cavorite.jpg

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Go

Martian's weight loss programme

Anybody reminded of the Ruum?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ruum :)

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Pint

Re: Martian's weight loss programme

Ruum, I'll drink to that.

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