Originally Posted by PhotonFanatic
Well it looked from that video like the comet would eventually whizz by earth. Well, you know, close enough. Wouldn't it be easier to just launch a rocket then? Can't you hit the reverse and slow down?
Also if they are from gas and dust, then why don't saturn's rings accrete? It seems like some of the planets could have been far out enough to just be sort of ripped apart, rather than vaporized, thus leaving big chunks like we see here. They say some of the comets are water, which maybe could be part of some long dead planet's ocean?
If only space navigation was that simple... There are a TON of factors when it comes to navigating to just a stationary object in space:
- Fuel usage
- Proper docking/landing without destroying gear
- Delay in ground to space communications
This are just some of the factors I can think of even going to a relatively stationary object like the moon or ISS. Now let's involve a fast moving object like a comet and things get even more dicey. For one, you really don't want to approach a comet head on. I imagine they want to come in at an angle from the side. Then you have to have to figure out what sort of speed and deceleration you need to properly land as well as an accurate topology of the surface to figure out WHERE to land. For instance, landing in an ice chasm would really, really suck. There is also the question of what sort of plating the space vehicle needs to properly function. Lastly, there is the question of whether or not this is a one way ticket or if the vehicle has to be able to get back home if it's primary objective is to collect samples as well as photos. Did I also mention communication takes time? It will not be like a video game where you can just use a joystick or point and click. For instance, the Mars rover has a communication delay of 20 minutes. You have to take into consideration pitfalls, cliffs, possible gas eruptions, ect.