Feeds

EPOXI set to give comet some stick

NASA spacecraft gaining on Hartley 2

SANS - Survey on application security programs

NASA's EPOXI spacecraft is gaining fast on comet Hartley 2, ahead of a scheduled close approach tomorrow at around 14:00 GMT.

At the appointed hour, EPOXI will pass within 700 kilometers (435 miles) of the comet's nucleus, while its two imagers and single infrared instrument capture intimate data.

EPOXI image of Hartley 2. Pic: NASAEPOXI is currently closing on Hartley 2 (see pic*) at a rate of 12.3 kilometers (7.6 miles) per second. NASA enthusiastically explains: "When the EPOXI mission spacecraft is 18 hours and 798 thousand kilometers (496 thousand miles) away, it will lock its instruments on the comet and begin its encounter phase data collection.

"As the distances between man-made machine and mysterious space dirtball closes, the frequency of image-taking will increase, reaching a crescendo in the minutes surrounding approach. All data collected during encounter phase will be loaded into spacecraft memory for later playback."

During the last 50 minutes before hurtling past the mysterious space dirtball, EPOXI will be flying itself on AutoNav Mode. This involves its Medium-Resolution Imager sniffing out "the brightest light source in the sky (excluding the sun)", which it then takes to be the comet's nucleus and the AutoNav "adjusts the spacecraft's attitude accordingly to keep its imagers centered".

Tim Larson, EPOXI project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, elaborated in a glorious mishmash of metric and imperial units: "We're using AutoNav Mode because our mission control is 23 million miles away from the spacecraft at time of encounter. Any command we would send to the spacecraft would take 75 seconds to get there. Not the kind of thing you want to do when you're talking about hurtling past a 2.2 kilometer-wide object [1.36 miles] at 27,500 miles per hour [about 44,256 kilometers per hour]."

NASA has more on the nail-biting comet pursuit here, and a Hartley 2 mission summary here (pdf). ®

Bootnote

* NASA explains EPOXI "took this image of comet Hartley 2 on 2 November, 2010 from a distance of 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles)".

It elaborates: "The white blob and the halo around it are the comet's outer cloud of gas and dust, called a coma. At this distance, the spacecraft is capturing images with a resolution of about 23 kilometers/pixel (14 miles/pixel)".

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.