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How did the Russians get moon rocks?

The USSR flew three successful automated lunar sample return missions: Luna 16, Luna 20 and Luna 24. The probes landed on the Moon, collected samples, and started a small rocket with the samples back ...
DarkDust's user avatar
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58 votes
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What skipped test on Genesis would have detected the backwards-inserted accelerometer which didn't deploy the parachute?

The planned test was a centrifuge test. They were going to take the entry vehicle up past the 10-g mark and back down. According to the JPL Mission Manager, who was my boss at the time, the g-switch ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
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55 votes
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Why is tantalum being used for the Hayabusa bullets?

The main reason for using tantalum is the fact that it is a rare element. When they capture the debris thrown up by the bullet, the fact that the bullet itself is tantalum makes it easy to distinguish ...
hdhondt's user avatar
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40 votes
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What is the deepest we have penetrated a terrestrial body other than Earth?

In July 2005, the Deep Impact mission released an impactor that excavated a crater, estimated to be 100 meters wide and 30 meters deep, into comet Tempel 1.
Jim Lewis's user avatar
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36 votes

Could there be any use with importing vacuum from space to Earth?

There are multiple problems with this idea. The first and most obvious problem is that the sealed container which has a perfect vacuum inside (seller claims so at least) is not of much use until you ...
Martin's user avatar
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21 votes

Why use a Mars orbital Earth return vehicle for sample return?

Earth Orbit Rendezvous is a method for applying brute force. Mars Orbit Rendezvous actually improves efficiency, potentially by a lot. A Mars sample return (or, for that matter, a straight-up crewed ...
ikrase's user avatar
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17 votes
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How much total lunar mass remains viable for analysis here on Earth?

A large amount of Moon samples has not been studied at all yet. Out of 9 sealed containers brought back to Earth in the Apollo program, 3 containers have never been opened. In early 2018, a group of ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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17 votes

Could there be any use with importing vacuum from space to Earth?

According to WP, at the upper end of Earth thermosphere -- that's LEO, somewhere above the orbit of ISS -- the pressure goes to around $1 \times 10^{-7}$ Pa. This level of vacuum is regularly ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
16 votes

Why is tantalum being used for the Hayabusa bullets?

Tantalum is an extremely dense, readily obtainable, machinable and hard metal. Lead and gold are fairly soft and malleable, and wouldn't retain their shape upon impact. While tantalum is relatively ...
uhoh's user avatar
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12 votes

Why use a Mars orbital Earth return vehicle for sample return?

In this question I suggested, that, on the face of it, the SS520-5 sounding rocket could get about 5kg from the surface of Mars onto a trajectory to hit Earth. That rocket (a three stage solid fuel ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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12 votes

Actual mass of Chang'e 5 samples

The given value (2kg) is approximate and won't be known exactly until the container is recovered. Knowing the typical composition (including density) of Moon rocks and the volume of the container, one ...
SF.'s user avatar
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11 votes
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Which are the main challenges for sample return mission from an asteroid and a comet?

There is a lot that the two missions you mentioned--Stardust and Hayabusa--have taught us about sample return. Sample Contamination: Serious measures were taken with Stardust to control for the ...
called2voyage's user avatar
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11 votes
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If there is actual ice on the moon, why hasn't it sublimated?

Ice sublimates. So does rock. Yet the planet Mercury is still there. The reason Mercury still exists is because even though rock does indeed sublimate, the rate at which rock sublimates is extremely ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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Why would bringing samples from Mars back to Earth be a "civilization-level changing capability"?

It's not. I worked on two incarnations of MSR, and conceived a third, two of which got a good way into development, but none made it to a launch pad. I can say that MSR would be a tremendous ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
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11 votes

What is the deepest we have penetrated a terrestrial body other than Earth?

The non-comet runner up is probably the crater on the moon created by the impact of the Centaur upper stage from LCROSS. NASA estimated that at "approximately 28m (92 feet) in diameter by 5m (16 feet)...
Simon's user avatar
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11 votes
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Minimum delta V required to return a piece of metallic asteroid 16 Psyche to Earth?

Given the relatively low inclination of 16 Psyche (3.095°), and the fact that the line of apside is relatively close to the node line anyway, this can be approximated as a planar transfer. Thus, this ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
10 votes
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Is there really moon rock in this cathedral window? If so, how, and from where on the Moon?

This is the "Space Window" of the National Cathedral in Washington. Source: NASA The National Cathedral website identifies the rock as ...
1337joe's user avatar
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10 votes

What is the deepest we have penetrated a terrestrial body other than Earth?

Since the question is about terrestrial bodies, maybe the Deep Space 2 mission penetrating about 0.6 m (or 2 ft) into Mars was the deepest. At least that's what it was designed for, but we don't know ...
Everyday Astronaut's user avatar
10 votes

Who was the first person to touch the moon rocks?

First of all, there are many Lunar Meteorites that have been found, but I'm assuming you don't mean those. The first bits of the Apollo moon rocks to be touched were dust inadvertently touched by the ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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10 votes
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How will Bennu's volatile compounds stay cool and unmodified by the heat of re-entry (OSIRIS-REx)?

The sample return capsule is designed to keep its contents below 75 °C. It is a flight-proven design, reusing technology developed for the Stardust mission. The return capsule’s structure consists of ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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10 votes
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Explanation of single-burn trajectories from Lunar surface to Earth surface

From https://old.math.tsu.ru/50gagarin/moon.doc ...перелеты в рамках проекта США Аполлон (1968-1972), а также проекта СССР автоматической экспедиции по забору и возврату Лунного грунта (Луна-16, 20,...
A. Rumlin's user avatar
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9 votes
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How did the Luna spacecraft collect samples of the moon and containerize them for return to Earth?

Luna 16 was the first successful robotic probe to return sample from an extraterrestrial location to Earth for analysis. It did not return the first sample, that was done by Apollo 11, but it was the ...
gwally's user avatar
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8 votes
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What are the differences in technology between OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa missions?

Here's a quick comparison of the two missions. Differences to follow. OSIRIS-REx Name: Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer Lead Institution(s): ...
jvriesem's user avatar
  • 471
8 votes

What forms of water ice have been observed and verified in the solar system?

Actually, Ice VII has been discovered in diamonds on Earth. The water is first trapped in the diamond as the latter is formed deep in the mantle. Then when the diamond cools at the surface its rigid ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
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8 votes
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Does NASA still plan for the Mars Ascent Vehicle to burn wax from the surface to orbit?

Its still in active development. Two options for the sample return ascent vehicle are being worked, either a single-stage paraffin-MON hybrid vehicle or a two-stage solid fueled vehicle. No decision ...
brickmack's user avatar
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8 votes
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How exactly does this Apollo astronaut's tool work? What was it called?

Those are tongs. The tongs consisted of a set of opposing spring-loaded fingers attached to a handle and were used for picking up samples. Postflight evaluation of Apollo missions 11, 12, and 14 ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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8 votes
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Delta-v penalty for stopping in a distant Earth orbit versus using atmospheric reentry for braking and returning to Earth from Mars?

Running the numbers... As far as Delta-V goes, Directly Braking into a high circular orbit is the most expensive, Aerobraking into a Hohmann transfer to your destination is less expensive. ...
notovny's user avatar
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7 votes

What is the deepest we have penetrated a terrestrial body other than Earth?

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9B%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%B0-24 "Общая глубина бурения составила 225 сантиметров." Translation: "Overall depth of drilling was 225 centimeters." That was Luna-24 in 1976, ...
Space Novice's user avatar
7 votes
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What forms of water ice have been observed and verified in the solar system?

The only form of ice that we see naturally in bulk on Earth is Ice I, all within the sub-h variety. There's no place on Earth that gets cold enough for any other form--but that's not necessarily true ...
Justin Eiler's user avatar

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