Osiris Rex, Apophis, Lucy discussed on Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast


Flyby of earth, as you say, it's going to be coming within geostationary satellites. It should be visible with the unaided eye. You should be able to see across it'll kind of look like a satellite. You're going to see this giant tumbling rock. You're going to see something that's going to look like an like a satellite moving through the sky. But for very powerful earth based telescopes, this is going to be a wonderful opportunity. And so how does Osiris apex play a role in this I buy? It's going to be trying to so Apophis is going to fly by us in 2029. The mission is going to encounter Apophis in 2029. And it's going to be able to get those high resolution images that tell us what kind of a surface we're looking at. Is this something more like a co op that has a some rubbly surface, but mostly it looks like it's a solid ish object. Or are we looking at another rubble pile? And this radically changes the way we need to think about potential future deflection. If it turns out, every near earth object we look at is yet another rubble pile. Our ideas for deflecting it by, for instance, putting a rocket on an asteroid and pushing no, you're just going to push the rocket through the asteroid as we learn with Osiris Rex. Right. So getting an idea of the density of the solidity, the moment of inertia, all of these different physical parameters allows us to start to contemplate how do we actually deflect these things in the future. It was interesting with the dart mission how much of a change in the orbit of the asteroid actually happened. And when you sort of think about asteroids like Apophis, could we stop them? Could we solve something at the last minute? And what's going to be the best approach? Dart gave us a really good solid foundation. But being able to now take that knowledge and then compare it against another asteroid and another asteroid and keep doing this. I think the other thing that will be really interesting is when the path doesn't make its close flyby, will the tidal forces of getting that close to the earth. If it is a rubble pile, will it elongate will it start to start to change its shape, it would be interesting to see what happens. Things I hadn't thought of and now I need to run calculations on just to figure out well, I think the Roche limit of the earth is much, much closer, like a few tens of thousands of kilometers, but actually GPS satellites or the geostationary orbit is what? 50 ish thousand? I think what it is. 38,000 miles. I forget that I forget the actual geostationary orbit. But it's going to be very close to us. And it'll be interesting to see what happens to the asteroid as it passed. Very exciting. And just a great next use for Osiris Rex now Osiris apex. I love it. All right, so we talked about Osiris Rex and its future. I think that qualifies as an existing mission that is already in a tremendous amount of science. I think you have foiled my hopes to talk about completely upcoming missions. Let's try again. Give me another mission that you are excited about that is happening in the future. So we have Lucy has launched its on its way. It gets to Jupiter's L four in 2027. It gets to its L 5 and 2033. There's going to be an asteroid. We see in 2025. So basically we have a, if it's an odd year, awesome stuff happens in the future. Right. Now, why is Lucy going out to the Trojan regions of Jupiter? We just don't know what these outer objects are like. Are these entirely icy objects? We periodically see centaurs become active like comets become active. Are the Trojans basically the same where they went through some sort of a interaction they could suddenly flare out with activity. Are they rocky? Are they rubble piles? What's going on? We want to know. And so it's going to be able to explore multiple objects, and along the way, pick out an asteroid in the asteroid belt, and it's just amazing to see with all these different missions what kinds of chaos the solar system has created. We just keep finding moons of Jupiter and Saturn that are weirder and weirder and so this raises the question are these larger Trojans going to be more like Ganymede or more like cheery Geary? I want to know if we have more round things or more rubber duckies. And people don't know that and I love to bring up this fact that there are many objects in the Trojan belt as there are objects in the asteroid belt. These are busy places. Yeah. And so you're going to get this and by having all of these objects collected together, you're going to have this opportunity to fly past many different objects and take a really interesting sample of all of them. And as you say, in some cases, they could just be like main belt asteroids, but maybe they're like Kuiper belt objects. Maybe they're like captured comets that got snuffed out and held in Jupiter's gravity. And they've picked this variety of objects and they're part that I find really interesting as well. As they do more observations of these worlds, they keep discovering more moons of the objects, which then gives them more targets to go after. Interrupted 12 at this point. And when you find an object with a moon that moon allows you to get more accurate mass determination and figure out all sorts of other details you wouldn't be able to figure out. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. Now, but Lucy has had a bit of a problem with the solar panels. Yeah, they didn't quite want to lock into place. So they are deployed and I think it's fair to say that they are concerned but not panicked. Yeah, I don't think they're even concerned now. So originally like one locked into place. If you look at the solar panels, there are these giant discs and they unfold almost like an umbrella, but imagine a flat umbrella. And one of them unfolded perfectly. The other one unfolded, but didn't get all the way. And so then they tried pulling it back, putting it forward again, tried a couple of ideas. And in the end, they were able to sort of mess with the tension of the cable that pulls it out. And they were able to get to 90 7% or something. So very close. And based on that, they feel like it's got enough power to reach and handle its mission. The big problem with Jupiter is that it's so far away from the sun. Yes. Your solar panel is experienced. One 25th, the amount of energy that experience in Earth orbit. And so the Jupiter is the limit of where solar powered spacecraft can really flee to. And so they were worried that it wouldn't have enough power when it was actually at the out of the Trojan belt. But it looks like it's going to be fine. So at this point, it's not latched, but they're fine with it.

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