Could a space craft hitch a ride on a asteroid ?

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evilellis

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Could a space craft hitch a ride on a asteroid ?<br />Then only the landing and ejecting would be required when you got to your destination.
 
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harmonicaman

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<i>"Could a space craft hitch a ride on a asteroid?"</i><br /><br />It sure could!<br /> <br /><i>"Then only the landing and ejecting would be required when you got to your destination."</i><br /><br />Well, asteroids (for the most part) really aren't going anywhere - they're orbiting the Sun just like the Earth. Hitching a ride on an asteroid would require a significant detour and loss of time in reaching your likely Solar System destination.<br /><br />In my opinion this would not be a practical method to get around from point to point in the Solar System.<br /><br />That being said; there may be special cases where hitching a ride on a comet may provide an unmanned exploratory craft with a free ride to the outer Solar System, but it would take a lot of fuel to match orbits with it as it raced through the inner Solar System!
 
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scull

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I apologize; this has nothing to do with this thread, but I just have to ask. I'm sorry if this sounds naive: If asteroids and comets and such are just orbiting the sun like the earth, what would make them come out of their orbit and strike earth and other planets? And could planets also do the same and start colliding with each other?
 
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scull

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Thanks for answering this for me; I really appreciate it; now I don't have to spend the night googling for answers. <br /><br /><br /><br />
 
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tony873004

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<i>what would make them come out of their orbit and strike earth and other planets?</i><br />They don't come out of their orbits to strike Earth or each other. Their orbits just intersect Earth's orbit or the orbit of other asteroids, and they and the other body simply occupy the same space at the same time and hence, collide.
 
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thalion

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<<I apologize; this has nothing to do with this thread, but I just have to ask. I'm sorry if this sounds naive: If asteroids and comets and such are just orbiting the sun like the earth, what would make them come out of their orbit and strike earth and other planets? And could planets also do the same and start colliding with each other? >><br /><br />The current theory (for many near-Earth asteroids) involves subtle physical effects--like radiation pressure and the Yarkovsky Effect--that over astronomical time periods are able to nudge main belt asteroids out of stable orbits into unstable resonances, where interaction with Jupiter's gravity pumps up the eccentricity of their orbits and sends them on planet-crossing tracks. Close encounters with other planets complicate the picture.
 
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scull

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tony and Thalion--<br /><br />Much thanks for the great info. <br /><br />Cheers--
 
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CalliArcale

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Actually, shuttle_guy, it occurs to me that there may in fact be a reason to hitch a ride on an asteroid. Sure, you're actually increasing the delta-vee requirements, but what if you use the asteroid's substance for radiation shielding and for the manufacture of propellant and other consumables (oxygen, water, etc)? I'm thinking of deep space manned missions. Perhaps if there's an asteroid going where you want to go, building a base on it would be simpler than sending a whopping huge spacecraft.<br /><br />Of course, that presupposes that there *is* an asteroid going the right way, and the odds are against that. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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vogon13

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Clarke (who else?) envisioned a mission to Icarus for solar studies.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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nexium

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Asteroid orbits are not just like Earth. There are some important differences. Shuttle_guy gave the correct answer, that no energy or fuel is saved: If you manuver your craft close to a small asteroid or comet, so that you could make a gentle landing, but you don't; you need little or no additional power to tag along with that asteroid for the next century or so.<br />Landing on the asteroid cuts your radiation exposure by 1/3; lots more if you land in a deep valley on the asteroid. You may want to explore the asteroid and useful supplies can be produced from asteroid material if you brought along the right equipment and know how.<br />A supply rocket that might have failed to dock with your craft can likely land somewhere on the asteroid allowing you to recover the needed supplies. Neil
 
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