Author Topic: Threats from Space: Efforts to Track and Mitigate Asteroids and Meteors I & II  (Read 5375 times)

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7434
  • Liked: 484
« Last Edit: 04/12/2013 12:25 AM by yg1968 »

Offline mlindner

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1590
  • Liked: 215
  • Ann Arbor, MI
I didn't like how they harped on how important the manned mission to NEOs was to deflecting NEOs. We've already sent probes to NEOs, a deflection mission would involve sending probes to an NEO. The idea of sending humans to the incoming NEO to mount some kind of construction for pushing the meteor I find somewhat amusing.

I loved the idea of crowd sourcing the effort by putting out rewards for people to find meteors. That is probably the most bang for the buck thing they could do.

Online QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6220
  • Liked: 1203
  • Australia
I didn't like how they harped on how important the manned mission to NEOs was to deflecting NEOs. We've already sent probes to NEOs

and they returned information that was basically inconclusive. We know what questions we should have been asking as a result of sending probes to NEOs, but we've yet to answer those questions. After a dozen iterations or so we might know enough to sensibly talk about deflection. Sending human investigators will get much better data and a lot faster.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone is going to be sent to visit an asteroid (let alone a comet), and even if they are, that alone won't be enough.
When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8258
  • Liked: 607
I didn't like how they harped on how important the manned mission to NEOs was to deflecting NEOs. We've already sent probes to NEOs

and they returned information that was basically inconclusive. We know what questions we should have been asking as a result of sending probes to NEOs, but we've yet to answer those questions. After a dozen iterations or so we might know enough to sensibly talk about deflection. Sending human investigators will get much better data and a lot faster.


No. This is a complete misstatement of the issue.

The problem is not that there is insufficient data from individual NEOs. The problem is that every asteroid we've visited is different. Every. Single. One.

What that implies is that if they share common characteristics, then there may be many different types, meaning that the best way to gather data is to go to a lot of them. You cannot do that with people.
« Last Edit: 03/23/2013 01:00 AM by Blackstar »

Online QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6220
  • Liked: 1203
  • Australia
What that implies is that if they share common characteristics, then there may be many different types, meaning that the best way to gather data is to go to a lot of them. You cannot do that with people.

Yes, they need to go to all the different types.

Why does it always have to be an either/or question when it comes to humans vs robotic?

You get different data from each. I wasn't claiming you could do without the robotic probes, but mlindner was claiming you could do without sending humans.

No-one can sensibly claim that any number of today's probes will return the kind of data we'd get from sending humans.

When discussing Mars, the answer is often given: build better robots, or wait until AI is available (yeah right). The implication being that there's no rush. When talking about planetary defense, that logic simply doesn't work. We need all the available data, and as quickly as practical.
When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Offline mlindner

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1590
  • Liked: 215
  • Ann Arbor, MI
What that implies is that if they share common characteristics, then there may be many different types, meaning that the best way to gather data is to go to a lot of them. You cannot do that with people.

Yes, they need to go to all the different types.

Why does it always have to be an either/or question when it comes to humans vs robotic?

You get different data from each. I wasn't claiming you could do without the robotic probes, but mlindner was claiming you could do without sending humans.

No-one can sensibly claim that any number of today's probes will return the kind of data we'd get from sending humans.

When discussing Mars, the answer is often given: build better robots, or wait until AI is available (yeah right). The implication being that there's no rush. When talking about planetary defense, that logic simply doesn't work. We need all the available data, and as quickly as practical.


Huh? Pray, what information can a human gain by being there that a probe with multispectral imagery and spectroscopy can't get? (Don't mention sample return, a robot can do that too, it just hasn't been done yet.)

I'm for manned exploration of Mars, but not for scientific reasons. Exploring asteroids with humans is a waste of resources. Robotic spacecraft will always be better than humans at scientific data gathering, mostly because of the multiplicative effect. If you send a human, only that human gets to gather that information. Whereas with complex imagery and complex sensors you can spread the information over a wealth of scientists.

Indeed what Blackstar said, we need some kind of spacecraft that can asteroid hop. Ideally you want something that can land as a rover/lander and also take off and fly through space again. This is possible if you land on very small asteroids which lowers the fuel requirements.
« Last Edit: 03/23/2013 01:35 AM by mlindner »

Online QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6220
  • Liked: 1203
  • Australia
Huh? Pray, what information can a human gain by being there that a probe with multispectral imagery and spectroscopy can't get?

Sigh. I know NTRS is down but that's not excuse for ignorance.
When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Offline deltaV

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1328
  • Liked: 84
  • Change in velocity
There was a thread a while ago that discussed the robots vs. humans topic ad nauseum: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28472.0 .

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8258
  • Liked: 607
Yes, they need to go to all the different types.

Why does it always have to be an either/or question when it comes to humans vs robotic?

You get different data from each. I wasn't claiming you could do without the robotic probes, but mlindner was claiming you could do without sending humans.

No-one can sensibly claim that any number of today's probes will return the kind of data we'd get from sending humans.

When discussing Mars, the answer is often given: build better robots, or wait until AI is available (yeah right). The implication being that there's no rush. When talking about planetary defense, that logic simply doesn't work. We need all the available data, and as quickly as practical.


http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12842

"HUMAN MISSIONS TO NEAR-EARTH OBJECTS
During its deliberations, the committee was briefed on the possibilities of human missions to near-Earth objects. This subject also received attention during meetings of the Human Space Flight Review Committee and was mentioned as part of its ďFlexible PathĒ option in its final report.

In the future, NASAís Exploration Systems Mission Directorate may conduct human missions to one or more near-Earth objects. The committee identified no cost-effective role for human spaceflight in addressing the hazards posed by NEOs. However, if human missions to NEOs are conducted in the future, the committee recommends that their scientific aspects be maximized to provide data useful for their characterization."

Offline ChileVerde

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1176
  • Liked: 3
  • La frontera
"However, if human missions to NEOs are conducted in the future, the committee recommends that their scientific aspects be maximized to provide data useful for their characterization."

According to the new article on Space Politics, Mr. Bolden is saying that humans to a NEO by 2025 is the plan.  I don't see how that can possibly be true, but if it is, I hope that some thought is being given to maximizing those scientific aspects.

Quote
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/03/21/combating-the-perception-of-a-lack-of-consensus/

ďThatís what the President told us to do, and thatís what the Congress told us to do,Ē [Bolden] said of the 2025 asteroid mission. ďAnd itís also something that I think is important, and Iím the NASA administrator. It is the right thing to do.Ē

[Comments]

Quote
Egad
March 21, 2013 at 9:13 am ∑ Reply   

Just to be clear, did you (Jeff) take Mr. Bolden to mean that NASAís HSF activities are aimed toward an asteroid visit ca. 2025? And that we should be interpreting what theyíve said about crewed SLS flights (EM-3 and EM-4) in that timeframe (2023 and 2025) in that light? What about the first cargo flight in 2029?

Quote
Jeff Foust
March 21, 2013 at 9:25 am    

Yes, Bolden was clear that a human asteroid mission by 2025 was a current goal of NASA. He did not discuss yesterday specifics about how to achieve that goal beyond the development of SLS and Orion.

Edit: A bit more reportage from the same conversation:

Quote
http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/bolden-no-lack-of-consensus-on-nasas-stragetic-direction

Bolden: No Lack of Consensus on NASA's Strategic Direction
Laura M. Delgado
Posted: 22-Mar-2013
Updated: 22-Mar-2013 05:41 PM

<snip>

In response to a criticism that has been made since the goal was announced that the specific destination asteroid has not been named, Bolden said that when President Kennedy announced men would land on the Moon before the end of the decade, he did not say they would land on the Sea of Tranquility.  "I canít tell you which asteroid, but there will be one in 2025," Bolden asserted.

More edit:  From Congressional testimony the day before the above conversation

Quote
http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/2013/03/20/bolden-addresses-hearing-asteroid-threats/

A U.S House of Representatives hearing was held March 19th, 2013 covering the recently popular subject of asteroids and meteorite strikes.

The hearing, titled "Threats from Space: A Review of U.S. Government Efforts to Track and Mitigate Asteroids and Meteors", was held before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The text below is an excerpt from a prepared statement from NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden.

<snip>

Quote
Finally, NASA is working to accomplish an astronaut visit to an asteroid by 2025. This mission, and the vital precursor activities that will be necessary to ensure its success, should result in additional insight into the nature and composition of NEOs and will increase our capability to approach and interact with asteroids.
« Last Edit: 03/23/2013 03:37 PM by ChileVerde »
"I canít tell you which asteroid, but there will be one in 2025," Bolden asserted.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3932
  • Liked: 230
Pray, what information can a human gain by being there that a probe with multispectral imagery and spectroscopy can't get? (Don't mention sample return, a robot can do that too, it just hasn't been done yet.)

Yeah, as simonbp put it succinctly in another thread, just spend a day or two examining the asteroid spectroscopically to figure out where you need to sample, and then collect the samples.  Astronauts won't add much except for a lot of costs and constraints.  Big bodies like Ceres and Vesta might be different, but for this purpose lots of robotic probes are the way to go.

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7434
  • Liked: 484
During the hearing, Holdren referred on a number of occasions to this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Near-Earth-Objects-Finding-Them-Before/dp/0691149291/

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8258
  • Liked: 607
During the hearing, Holdren referred on a number of occasions to this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Near-Earth-Objects-Finding-Them-Before/dp/0691149291/

Yeah. Someone at HQ had a box of them and made sure that they got distributed. It's a good overall summary of the subject, although it's relatively slim. Yeomans is one of the top experts on this subject.
« Last Edit: 03/23/2013 03:37 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8258
  • Liked: 607
I don't see how that can possibly be true, but if it is, I hope that some thought is being given to maximizing those scientific aspects.

There are actually a couple of more important steps before that one.

Offline ChileVerde

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1176
  • Liked: 3
  • La frontera
I don't see how that can possibly be true, but if it is, I hope that some thought is being given to maximizing those scientific aspects.

There are actually a couple of more important steps before that one.

See my new .sig .
"I canít tell you which asteroid, but there will be one in 2025," Bolden asserted.

Online QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6220
  • Liked: 1203
  • Australia
Yeah, as simonbp put it succinctly in another thread, just spend a day or two examining the asteroid spectroscopically to figure out where you need to sample, and then collect the samples.  Astronauts won't add much except for a lot of costs and constraints.  Big bodies like Ceres and Vesta might be different, but for this purpose lots of robotic probes are the way to go.

What's your time frame? There's currently neither the robotic sophistication nor the human spaceflight capability to do that.

When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Offline ChileVerde

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1176
  • Liked: 3
  • La frontera
During the hearing, Holdren referred on a number of occasions to this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Near-Earth-Objects-Finding-Them-Before/dp/0691149291/

And, I just found out elsewhere, he said in that same hearing,

Quote
Statement of Dr. John P. Holdren
Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Executive Office of the President of the United States
to the
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
United States House of Representatives
on
March 19, 2013

<snip>

And of course NASA is committed to carrying out the President's goal of conducting a human mission to an asteroid by 2025. That mission will benefit from current efforts to detect, track, and characterize NEOs by speeding the identification of potential targets for exploration. And in return, such a mission will generate invaluable information for use in future detection and mitigation efforts.

So on March 19 and 20 Bolden and Holdren, both high officials with relevant responsibilities, said three times (Bolden twice, Holdren once) that the plan is to do Asteroid 2025. Maybe we should pay attention to that.

Edit: Spell
« Last Edit: 03/23/2013 11:12 PM by ChileVerde »
"I canít tell you which asteroid, but there will be one in 2025," Bolden asserted.

Offline spectre9

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2401
  • Liked: 32
  • Australia
The best way to get to an asteroid is to invest in detection.

That way mission options open.

So are they funding detector spacecraft or are they just promising a NEA mission in around 15 years when they're all retired and it's not their problem?  ::)

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4640
  • Liked: 1509
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility
    • Milton Train Works LEGO site
The best way to get to an asteroid is to invest in detection.

That way mission options open.

So are they funding detector spacecraft or are they just promising a NEA mission in around 15 years when they're all retired and it's not their problem?  ::)

We need a LOT of detection. Then we need a swarm of investigative automation and then we need some tests on how to change asteroid orbits enough to make them miss...  I don't know for sure we need humans in there.

Maybe NASA should sign up for all the data PRI can produce.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3932
  • Liked: 230
Yeah, as simonbp put it succinctly in another thread, just spend a day or two examining the asteroid spectroscopically to figure out where you need to sample, and then collect the samples.  Astronauts won't add much except for a lot of costs and constraints.  Big bodies like Ceres and Vesta might be different, but for this purpose lots of robotic probes are the way to go.

What's your time frame? There's currently neither the robotic sophistication nor the human spaceflight capability to do that.

Asteroid sample return has been demonstrated on a very small scale by Habayusa.  Making that work better and on a larger scale and applying it to many NEAs is certainly going to be much cheaper and faster than than sending humans to a similar number of NEAs.

Tags: