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20 October, 2005

Space fleet

It'd be a bit cheeky to say I'd already thought of this, but, well, the basic concept had occurred to me.  Admittedly, it's a fairly simple idea; the difficult part is implementing it.

Exploratory missions to Mars and other objects within the Solar System have all-too-frequently failed catastrophically. If a single, massively expensive orbiter/lander is sent, a single accident could end the entire mission.

The alternative, explained in the New Scientist article, would be to send a flotilla of numerous simpler probes (the crudest could be moisture or temperature detectors no larger than a coin), individually insignificant but collectively useful for investigating whole regions or features where a valuable high-tech lander wouldn't be risked.

Objections to the concept seem to be based on a simplistic either/or divide into the complex 'conventional' approach or the simple flotilla approach (or maybe that's just the journalist attempting to distinguish the pros & cons of each). Surely the most suitable approach is a hybrid of the two: groups of simpler, but not dumb, rovers, and/or numerous very basic probes supplementing 2-3 more complex landers.

[Via Spinneyhead]

Comments

Yeah that makes alot of sense. A halfway solution would be the best option.

Posted by Adrian Carswell at October 29, 2005 06:33 AM
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