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View Full Version : A Question About Getting To Ceres Quickly.



BigDon
2014-Nov-07, 02:50 PM
I was wondering if Ceres proves to be "really" interesting how soon a more directed mission to reach it? (Her?)

A level of interest, let's say, that would be generated if Dawn pulled up to Ceres and then told us;

"Hey! There's critters down there! Big enough that even *I* can see them!"

Okay, on the lowest expected orbit, let's say.

I would like to know three things, if anybody can produce an answer at least one other poster agrees with. (:))

1) Using just the available materials at hand, what would be a reasonable timeline from discovery of extra-terrestrial macroscopic life on Ceres to assembly, launch and then arrival of what I can only assume would be the most powerful system immediately available?.

2) Could a system with a New Horizons' level of energy be made up in a reasonable enough time for the extra energy to make up the difference in the delay would make?

3) This should be question two: Or would that much energy require to much fuel to stop at so "close" a distance?

4) What would be the likely sensor suite? Ideal sensor suite would be interesting too.

Shoot, they would probably invent one or two new ones just for the occasion.

Bonus Question:

5) Would it be unreasonable to assume that after it completed its main science mission Dawn would be put into a destructively low orbit to get even closer views before impact?

Ever since I read back in '72 (or so) I hoped that Ceres had both water and seasons that it would have some sort of complex life.

I've been waiting earnestly to find out all this time.

Man, I hope I make it long enough to see this.

antoniseb
2014-Nov-07, 03:39 PM
I was wondering if Ceres proves to be "really" interesting how soon a more directed mission to reach it? (Her?)

... "Hey! There's critters down there! Big enough that even *I* can see them!" ...
I imagine that IF Dawn observed life there, it would probably take a very long time to agree on the sterilization protocols for whatever we sent there. Given that and the design, build, and test time for the instrumentation, even if budget were not an issue, it's hard to picture such a probe arriving before 2030.

BigDon
2014-Nov-07, 04:00 PM
Anton, it never even occurred to me to send a lander, that's how bad an idea I think that is.

I was referring to a more advanced orbiter, with a Keyhole camera and Lord knows what kind of sniffers, mineral determining radars and similar devices.

Even broad categories of orbital sensors I may be unaware of would be fascinating to me.

Jeff Root
2014-Nov-07, 04:34 PM
I suspect it would be a couple of years faster if several nations
were scrambling to get there first. If the US, Russia, China, India,
and ESA all wanted to try to make first contact, or to gain some
kind of precedence of territorial control over Ceres by getting there
second (after Dawn) with the mostest, they would cut corners to
make it possible. Some would probably fail because of it, but
some would probably succeed, and it could shave a little bit of
time off. Maybe one Earth-Ceres synodic period (1.278 years).

If getting there fast is your first priority, then you don't use a
gravity assist, and sacrifice payload weight. That would mean
primarily getting along with lower power, as the power supply
is likely to be the heaviest component of such a mission.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Amber Robot
2014-Nov-07, 05:34 PM
India got their Mars mission together pretty quickly, so I'm guessing, given the political will and financial backing, it could be done in a couple of years.

galacsi
2014-Nov-07, 06:02 PM
Nor much more than two years. with a powerfull rocket you don't need gravity assist and as Jeff said the Earth-Ceres synodic period is 1.278 years. So you can shoot almost every year.
Your probe will have a boosted up electric propulsion systeme to add speed and put it in Ceres orbit.

BigDon
2014-Nov-08, 05:23 PM
Thanks Galacsi, et al.

Two years sounds a lot better than Anton's thirty. :)

antoniseb
2014-Nov-08, 05:31 PM
... Two years sounds a lot better than Anton's thirty. :)
30? I estimated 16. I also think that it would take longer than zero years to build your instruments. Galacsi's estimate is simply for how long the trip would take, and assumed stronger ion-electric propulsion than has been previously demonstrated. Not that it couldn't be built, but it would take time and testing (and budget).

BigDon
2014-Nov-08, 05:46 PM
Oh hey, 2030 IS a bit closer than thirty years away.

Okay, you caught me derfing.

(I'll go put on the stupid hat now.)

galacsi
2014-Nov-09, 08:45 AM
30? I estimated 16. I also think that it would take longer than zero years to build your instruments. Galacsi's estimate is simply for how long the trip would take, and assumed stronger ion-electric propulsion than has been previously demonstrated. .

That is true ,but I think it is reasonable that the electric propulsion can be beefed up. First you can affect a bigger part of the probe's weight to propulsion and then in this field there is always incremental progress.


Not that it couldn't be built, but it would take time and testing (and budget).

Well you could chose to build it in India ,these guys , they are fast and cheap ! ;)