Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time to collect the bets on the size of the hole.

The US manned program is in a bit of a mess right now, cracked shuttle tank, delayed mission, spacewalker bumped with a broken hip from a bike accident, commander of final shuttle flight's wife shot and replacement commander in place - just in case. I won't get into the problems with the funding for the heavy lift rocket right now.
The unmanned programs are doing great though!  Mark your calendar for Valentines day for the next event.  If all works out, the recycled Stardust spacecraft will fly by comet Temple 1 and take some images of the hole that the Deep Impact spacecraft blasted in the comet's surface.  When the copper chunk was shot at the comet in 2005, the debris cloud was too bright from reflected light that the hole couldn't be seen.  The comet has also made another orbit around the sun since then, so the surface could be different also.  Probably not a Bruce Willis "Armageddon" change, but we'll see.
I wonder how many people at the office would understand if you started a betting pool of the size of the dent in Temple 1?  Erase the words "Seahawks vs. Bears" from that whiteboard and put up "Temple 1" crater size bets.  Most of the people would probably stare at you funny, say "huh?" and back slowly away from you. 
This all depends on the fuel remaining, there is just enough to steer the spacecraft and aim the camera at it, and it is approximately 186 million miles away on the other side of the sun, light distance is 40 minutes.  The first images should be here at about 1:30am (PST) on Feb. 15.
My bet?  I'm saying that Safeco Field could fit in the hole.

1 comment:

karthikeyan said...
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