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InSight Surface Operations, 26 Nov 2018-
post Yesterday, 08:45 PM
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On Apollo, did they fly the third stages into the Moon to test the seismometers? Anything missions beginning with a Mars gravity assist soon? Too much of a Planetary Protection hurdle to jump?
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post Yesterday, 10:05 PM
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You intentionally target missions away from Mars so the upper stage has a tiny chance of - over 50 years - hitting the planet. You then use TCM 1 to tidy that up and put the spacecraft on a trajectory to intercept the planet. Upper stages are just not cleared for planetary protection.
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post Today, 02:09 AM
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On the airless Moon, the energy of an artificial impactor would be perfectly known. On Mars, you'd also have to reckon with the loss of energy during entry be something of an unknown, and with an elongated object whose attitude is not controlled, that might be quite an uncontrolled variable.
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Phil Stooke
post Today, 02:37 AM
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For Curiosity, the cruise stage and several balance masses struck the surface, and presumably it will be the same for Percy. So impacts are likely but may be too far away to be detected.

Edit: China's landing site is in Utopia Planitia, closer to InSight than Jezero is. I don't know if it will drop hardware during the descent, and I hope it will not crash but there could be a signal from that landing attempt.


... because the Solar System ain't gonna map itself.
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