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"thor" Mars Mission To Seek Underground Water
RNeuhaus
post Jan 26 2006, 03:46 PM
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A new, low-cost mission concept to Mars would slam a projectile into the planet's surface in an attempt to look for subsurface water ice.

"I'm interested in exploring mid-latitude areas of Mars that look like they're made of snow and ice," Phil Christensen, the project's principal investigator, told SpaceDaily.com.

Christensen, of Arizona State University, and colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, are proposing a mission called THOR – for Tracing Habitability, Organics and Resources – as part of NASA's Mars Scout program.

Like last year's Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1, THOR aims to ram a projectile at high speed into the surface of Mars while a host spacecraft remains in orbit and observes the impact and its aftermath. If approved by NASA, the mission would launch in 2011.


That mission would be after MSL's mission. Now it is still a proposal smile.gif It would cost around US$ 450 millions

More details: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/THOR_Mar...ound_Water.html

Rodolfo
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Marz
post Jan 26 2006, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE (RNeuhaus @ Jan 26 2006, 09:46 AM)
THOR aims to ram a projectile at high speed into the surface of Mars while a host spacecraft remains in orbit and observes the impact and its aftermath. If approved by NASA, the mission would launch in 2011.
*


When all you have is an impactor, everything looks like a comet? laugh.gif
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gpurcell
post Jan 26 2006, 05:09 PM
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QUOTE (Marz @ Jan 26 2006, 05:06 PM)
When all you have is an impactor, everything looks like a comet?  laugh.gif
*


Snicker!
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djellison
post Jan 26 2006, 05:12 PM
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I suppose you have MRO there to image the crater afterwards - it could be interesting - I wonder if they'd have imaging capacity on the impactor smile.gif

The orbiter to go with it could be another usefull relay platform smile.gif


Doug
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Chmee
post Jan 26 2006, 05:18 PM
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Strange that this would be named THOR since that was the title of an old Air Force program ("Project THOR") that studied the use of orbiting kinetic weapons that would be dropped on enemy armies (thus acheiving nuclear-style energy without the nasty side and political effects).

see here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Thor
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MahFL
post Jan 26 2006, 06:03 PM
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And what would the chances of say hitting MSL by accident ?
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Canopus
post Jan 26 2006, 06:07 PM
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The search for methane will also be included. Hopefully this mission will be approved.
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RNeuhaus
post Jan 26 2006, 07:05 PM
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Hope that the impactor would make a crater close enough where MSL is driving so after that the MSL would visit the newest crater to study the perfil and probably find some steam of the pristine water steaming out due to great heat caused by the impactor.

Rodolfo
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jan 26 2006, 11:04 PM
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The "Thor" name applied to both projects is obviously a reference to Thor throwing his hammer to produce lightning. (By the way, in Niven and Pournelle's "Footfall", those nasty invading baby-elephant type aliens used Thor-type kinetic weapons with devastating effect against the US Army. BAD aliens!)

It's certainly an interesting Mars Scout idea, and one I would never have dreamed of -- but I wonder just how good its produced science would actually be.
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djellison
post Jan 26 2006, 11:08 PM
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Thor-Able was a precursor to the modern Delta LV's iirc, and there's one about 5 miles from here at the National Space Centre

http://moblog.co.uk/view.php?id=47689

Doug
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mchan
post Jan 27 2006, 02:19 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 26 2006, 03:08 PM)
Thor-Able was a precursor to the modern Delta LV's iirc, and there's one about 5 miles from here at the National Space Centre
*

Before that, Thor was an IRBM, approximately 60 or so that were based in your neck of the woods also. sad.gif
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Guest_exobioquest_*
post Jan 27 2006, 02:23 AM
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I would rather see a mars atmospheric sample return probe for 2011, which seems to have the best science per dollar ratio. But slamming a probe into mars does sounds cheap, a lot cheaper then $450 million!, I mean all you need a very simpler probe with a mission life of 6-9months, and a lot of dead weight, lets see a 1000kg probe going at 4km/s would produce about 8,000,000,000 joules or ~1.9 metric tons of TNT in energy, about the size of a large dumb bomb.
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nprev
post Jan 27 2006, 02:29 AM
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QUOTE (exobioquest @ Jan 26 2006, 07:23 PM)
I would rather see a mars atmospheric sample return probe for 2011, which seems to have the best science per dollar ratio. But slamming a probe into mars does sounds cheap, a lot cheaper then $450 million!, I mean all you need a very simpler probe with a mission life of 6-9months, and a lot of dead weight, lets see a 1000kg probe going at 4km/s would produce about 8,000,000,000 joules or ~1.9 metric tons of TNT in energy, about the size of a large dumb bomb.
*



Hmm. Yes, that much kinetic energy would leave anything Thor... rolleyes.gif

(runs for cover...)


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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Guest_exobioquest_*
post Jan 27 2006, 03:25 AM
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Wait a minute isn't there a free return orbit that will take you to mars back to earth and then back to mars again at regular intervals? If there is then they can do both missions! A atmospheric sample return probe would skim the mars atmosphere fly back to earth and drop off a sample return capsule, and then could fly back to mars and impact. With the atmosphere sample return mission you already get a very aerodynamic space-craft (reduce lost of kinetic energy from atmospheric friction) with a heat shield strong enough to keep the craft in at least one piece before impact, and with navigation equipment accurate enough to guide the craft past mars with 1km of precision or less, accurate enough to also do a impact on mars with a few km of precision for sure.
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dvandorn
post Jan 27 2006, 04:09 AM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Jan 26 2006, 08:29 PM)
Hmm. Yes, that much kinetic energy would leave anything Thor... rolleyes.gif

(runs for cover...)
*

Methinks you obliquely reference the old joke, the punchline to which is "YOU'RE Thor??? I'm tho thor I can hardly thit!"

rolleyes.gif

-the other Doug


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