Saturday, April 1, 2023

Why Do Probes Crash on Planets at the End of Their Missions?

12:39 AM | ,

 At the conclusion of a space mission, it's common for probes to deliberately crash into the celestial body they've been orbiting, unless there's a mission failure that permanently disrupts communication with Earth. A well-known example is the Cassini probe, which was intentionally destroyed in 2017 by plunging into Saturn's atmosphere, as depicted in a captivating artistic representation.

There are two primary reasons for scientists to crash probes at the end of their missions: preserving the celestial environment and conducting further scientific experiments.

Consider the Galileo spacecraft, which orbited Jupiter in the early 2000s. As its fuel supply dwindled, astronomers directed the probe towards Jupiter's clouds to be destroyed by atmospheric pressure. Leaving the probe in an uncontrollable orbit risked colliding with Jupiter's moons, particularly Europa, an intriguing world in the search for life. It's been discovered that some bacteria can withstand the harsh conditions aboard spacecraft for years. A collision with Europa could have contaminated the moon with life forms still present on the probe.

The Cassini probe's end had a similar rationale. In the months leading up to its atmospheric dive, the probe gradually approached Saturn, collecting invaluable data from positions never before reached by any other spacecraft.

For objects in the inner Solar System, such as the Moon, Mercury, or asteroids, crashing probes create new craters on the surface. Future probes can then study these formations, providing vital insights into surface properties.

Moreover, in the case of the Moon, probes are intentionally crashed to preserve historical sites, particularly the Apollo mission landing sites.

You Might Also Like :

0 commenti:

Post a Comment