NASA spacecraft avoids potential collision with Martian moon

WASHINGTON — A NASA Mars orbiter performed a maneuver to avoid a “high probability” of colliding with the Martian moon Phobos next week, the agency said March 2.
The Feb. 28 maneuver came a day after spacecraft controllers identified a potential collision between the Martian Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft and the moon Phobos on March 6. The orbits of the spacecraft and the moon intersect, and on that day the two would have passed through the same point within seven seconds of each other.
Given the size of Phobos, an irregularly-shaped body 27 kilometers across on its longest axis but modeled by spacecraft controllers as a sphere 30 kilometers across, “they had a high probability of colliding if no action were taken,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.
MAVEN fired a thruster Feb. 28 that increased the spacecraft's speed by 0.4 meters per second. That maneuver means that MAVEN and Phobos will now move the same put in place their orbits two . 5 minutes apart, far off apart to avoid any potential for a collision sufficiently.

"Kudos to the JPL navigation and tracking groups for seeing out for possible collisions every day of the entire year, also to the MAVEN spacecraft team for perfectly undertaking the maneuver," said Bruce Jakosky, the main investigator of the quest, in the affirmation.

The occurrence is the very first time that MAVEN has already established to go to avoid a collision with a moon or other spacecraft. Unlike NASA's other two Mars orbiters, Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which orbit near the earth, MAVEN is within an elliptical orbit that is out beyond the orbit of Phobos.
"MAVEN's highly elliptical orbit, crossing the altitudes of other orbits, changes the possibility that someone shall should do a collision-avoidance maneuver," said Robert Shotwell, Mars program key engineer, in a 2015 JPL affirmation about tracking Mars missions. "We keep track of all the orbiters a lot more carefully now. There's still a minimal probability of requiring a maneuver, but it's something we have to manage."

While much less crowded than Globe still, the increasing amount of Mars spacecraft poses an evergrowing task to spacecraft controllers. Furthermore to Mars Odyssey, MAVEN and mro, NASA monitors the Western Mars Exhibit and ExoMars Track Gas Orbiter spacecraft, and India's Mars Orbiter Objective, or Mangalyaan, spacecraft. They keep tabs on the defunct Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft also, which remains in orbit.

That problem can be more challenging by 2021 with the slated introduction of several more spacecraft planned for start in the middle-2020 launch windowpane. China, India and the United Arab Emirates are planning to start Mars orbiters then. Furthermore, lander missions are designed by China, NASA and esa.

SpaceX may establish its first Red Dragon lander objective in 2020 also. That mission was scheduled for launch in 2018, however the company last month that it could be delayed to 2020 as it targets its Falcon Heavy and Crew Dragon programs, and a commercial human circumlunar mission SpaceX announced Feb. 27 for release when late 2018.

NASA spacecraft avoids potential collision with Martian moon NASA spacecraft avoids potential collision with Martian moon Reviewed by Usa Tv on March 04, 2017 Rating: 5

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