Risk to spacecraft from Martian impact?

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willpittenger

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Assuming that 2007 WD5 does hit Mars as current calculations show it might, what are the risks that one of the orbiters or rovers will be hit by debris? Also, the rovers could be in the direct impact zone.<br /><br />It would also be unfortunate if both orbiters happened to be on the wrong side of Mars and had no view of the impact. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi willpittenger.<br /><br />The orbiters are likely to be far too high to be hit by impact ejecta, & both MERs look as<br />though they are too far away to be damaged.<br /><br />One likely location is to the west of Opportunity, too far away for Oppy to be physically <br />effected, but close enough to observe weather changes, dust clouds, etc.<br /><br />Spirit, if still operational will be on the other side of Mars.<br /><br />The impact if it happens looks like a daytime one, from early to late morning <br />dependent on exact location.<br /><br />It would be a shame to miss the moment of impact with Mars Express & MRO.<br /><br />Even if they do not observe the actual impact, they will observe the immediate aftermath, possibly<br />a plume if it exists, certainly dust clouds & then the fresh crater, with exposed bedrock<br />& ejecta to be analysed by the onboard cameras & spectrometers. Will be something<br />interesting for the HiRISE to look at. <br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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cbased

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Are there tools available to measure the spectrum of the dust/materials ejected? It may produce some interesting data...<br />Also how cool would it be to have some seismological equipment on MERs...
 
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holmec

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I wouldn't be surprised if an impact would cause the whole martian atmosphere to be saturated with dust and debris affecting both rovers. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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cookie_thief

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If it impacts, I know EXACTLY where they'll be sending the MSL.
 
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franontanaya

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It would be cool to know the composition of 2007 WD5.<br /><br />If it's icy or loose debris, maybe there could be disrupted fragments that still hit or burn in the atmosphere. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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3488

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I too would love to know that.<br /><br />I would doubt that ice plays a significant part of its makeup. <br /><br />Perihelion is just outside Earth's orbit.<br /><br />I wonder if the MRO HiRISE could see the asteroid. Certainly not much before closest <br />approach as the Sun & 2007 WD5 will appear too close to one another.<br /><br />However the elongation will increase quickly, so once the path of 2007 WD5 is confirmed,<br />it should be possible to turn MRO to look at this object with HiRISE & CRISM.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi cookie_thief,<br /><br />It would a great place to send the MSL. Loads of freshly exposed bedrock deep down & fresh <br />ejecta.<br /><br />IMO, if the impact happens, this will be a future landing site for sure, even if not MSL.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi Cbased,<br /><br />Yes the CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars) <br />onboard the MRO & OMEGA (Visible and Infrared Mineralogical Mapping <br />Spectrometer) on board Mars Express, can do remote <br />chemical sensing. Also THEMIS aboard the Mars Odyssey.<br /><br />Al three instruments would be able to determine the nature of newly exposed bedrock & ejecta.<br /><br />Getting ground truth from a lander would be pretty useful too. Perhaps either the MSL<br />or even the test bed Mars Pathfinder with the Marie Curie Rover (Sojourner's twin). That would<br />be an effective mission. However the landing ellipse would be far too large to ensure such a <br />pin point landing for either.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>IMO, if the impact happens, this will be a future landing site for sure, even if not MSL.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Only if there is money available. Remember what happened to the probe NASA was going to send to Halley's comet. "No unique science" was the excuse then. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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brandbll

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Question: Could it be possible for Oppurtunity to even make the trip to this new crater? I guess i really have no idea how far the rover has gone or the potential to go, so take that into consideration when answering my question. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="3">You wanna talk some jive? I'll talk some jive. I'll talk some jive like you've never heard!</font></p> </div>
 
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windnwar

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According to the Mars Rover Mission page, as of December 5, Oppurtunity has 7.2 miles on it. Spirit has 4.6 miles on it. <br /><br />I seriously doubt it'll be able to make it to the crater of an impact as if it is close enough to make it, it'd probably be destroyed by the impact given the rate of travel they have made. We need something that moves alot faster if we are going to try an cover the distances needed. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font size="2" color="#0000ff">""Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein"</font></p> </div>
 
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3488

Guest
Also if the impact is confirmed, Oppy could start driving towards the impact site, to <br />lessen the distance.<br /><br />IMHO, I am not sure that the potential destruction of Oppy is worth it.<br /><br />If the impact is in the region that is from west to the north west of Opportunity's<br />location, than firstly Opportunity will be safe, as will be outside the zone of fall out.<br /><br />However MER B Opportunity will be close enough to first hand witness many side effects, <br />particularly dust clouds & may be worth pointing the PanCam in the direction of the <br />impact at the time, just to see if elevated lighting levels from the flash & maybe catch <br />the top of the plume over the horizon (not very likely due to the curvature of Mars). <br /><br /><img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> Happy Christmas everyone. <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /><br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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franontanaya

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It would be cool too to send an express atmospheric sample return, doing a low flyby and try to catch some of the particles still floating in the atmosphere. Maybe cheaper than a lander+launcher sample mission. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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cbased

Guest
Thanks Andrew. Great answer. I guess the whole scientific community will be disappointed if we won't have a hit. We've got instruments to analyse the aftermath of the impact. All we need is the impact itself.<br />Has anyone heard if there were any orbit calculation corrections (i.e. updated probability of the impact) - the last I saw was 1 to 75.<br />
 
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h2ouniverse

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Btw, even if it's a near miss, it will be instructive. The way 2007WD5 will be deflected by Mars gravity may teach a lot.
 
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windnwar

Guest
It might be a bit interesting seeing it deflected but we all would much rather see it hit. The data from that would be very cool. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font size="2" color="#0000ff">""Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein"</font></p> </div>
 
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