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  Solar Orbiter/Scooper / Impactor ?

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Author Topic:   Solar Orbiter/Scooper / Impactor ?

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 05-18-2005 05:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We've have projects that have - or will have - visited most of the solar system planets and in a number of cases landed on their surfaces.

But should we - as well - perhaps be discussing ideas for a Sun orbiter,impactor or scooper mission ? We've had missions like Helios and the Skylab solar studies and, of course, many ground based solar observatories.

After all, the Sun is the nearest star.

The orbiter mission speaks for itself .

The impactor would have high aims of returning as much data as possible as it penetrated as far as it could into the Sun's layers.

A scooper would have high ambitions - to say the least !! - of retrieving material from the outer solar layer/s, analysing and returning data to earth !!

Could we do it? what's involved? Costs?

Are our technologies upto some of these missions?

Do we want to do it?

Just some thoughts to think about while lazing on the beaches this summer in the northern hemisphere or shivering in the winter climes of the southern hemisphere!



Posts: 1181
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 05-18-2005 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course, some of those aims can be accomplished to varying degrees without having to travel that far, as with the SOHO and Genesis missions.

It goes without saying that heatshielding would be the biggest challenge with any of the three missions. The scooper also, obviously, would require an impressive flight profile to overcome gravitational limitations, while communications would be a huge hurdle for the impactor.

The biggest question, though, in my mind, is whether the benefits of such a mission over current solar observation missions closer to home would justify diverting funds from planetary missions.

"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

All times are CT (US)

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