Tag Archives: Mars

Disambiguating Phobos

phobos

If you’re like me you’re probably getting fairly impatient with all this shilly-shallying around that’s been happening with finding out what’s going on with the Mars moon, Phobos.  That thing has been out there making people who know everything feel less good about themselves than they want to almost since it was first discovered.  Forcing them to use terms such as, ‘poorly understood’, ‘not completely understood’, ‘not yet fully understood’, when they write things about the way it behaves.

Problem is the thing refuses to behave itself the way the people who know how objects in orbit ought to behave.  As I recall it’s the fastest moving object in the Solar System, and I mean FAST.  And it isn’t anywhere near as dense as it ought to be.  Just for beginners.

If there’s an ‘artifact’ anywhere in the Solar System, Phobos probably stands a better chance of being it than anything else anyone knows about does.

NASA Eyes ‘Hedgehog’ Invasion of Mars Moon Phobosby Elizabeth Howell, SPACE.com ContributorDate: 19 January 2013 Time: 10:35 AM ET

http://www.space.com/19342-space-hedgehogs-mars-moon-phobos.html

A daring, “Angry Birds”-like NASA mission could bombard a Martian moon with robotic “hedgehog” probes in the next few decades, scientists say.

The space hedgehogs are actually small, spiky, spherical rovers that form part of a novel mission idea called Phobos Surveyor. The rovers would take advantage of the low gravity on the Mars moon Phobos, its sister moon Deimos, or asteroids in the solar system. Engineers have designed the devices to work in concert with a nearby mother ship.  

The hedgehogs would work well in the low gravity of the 16-mile-wide (27 kilometers) Phobos, a force 1,000 times weaker than the gravity on Mars itself, where NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity rovers currently explore, said researcher Marco Pavone of Stanford University. Gravity on Mars is about one-third that of the Earth.

Okay, fine.  But the fact is, I’d like to see some questions answered about this thing before I get dead, or much more senile than I am already.  I want to know whether that thing is hollow.  And going about it in slow steps, using things that haven’t even been invented yet is going to take a long time. 

We spent all that money during the 1950s and 1960s inventing hydrogen bombs we never got any use out of.  Maybe it’s time to put them to some useful work.  We probably have the technology today to get a hydrogen bomb delivered right there dead center of Phobos within the next couple of years.

Time someone, hopefully the Chinese or the Japanese, launched a hydrogen bomb at phobos to see what happens when it hits.  And whether it shoots back.  Time for some serious disambiguation.

Just saying.

Jules

Edit:  The thing’s obviously not able to defend itself anyway and the chances of it shooting back are almost certainly not all that likely.  Whatever made all those dents in it, the impacts are bound to have generated a lot of heat inside and rattled the eye teeth of the might-have-been computers and defunct Buffalo Bills aiming rockets and pushing buttons of weapons systems.  Knocking a nice hole right in the middle a person could focus a telescope on for a looksee would improve things enough to make it worth the risk and the cost.    Easily enough to make it worth the miniscule risk of it raining down nukes on the Japanese or Chinese launch sites.

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