What is the sequence of events for the NASA mission to the asteroid Huygens?

NASA scientists spent several years designing and constructing the Huygens probe, the giant spacecraft that will plunge through an asteroid next week to learn about the history of planets. The risks and rewards of going to the moon are even more obvious when it comes to planetary defense, and after decades of inaction on the part of the United States, the agency is testing out its ability to potentially deflect an asteroid, in this case the 45-foot Chelyabinsk-A asteroid.

So, what’s the sequence of events? Here’s how the mission will work: the $10 million Huygens probe was specially-designed to recover an ancient meteorite from the surface of the 75-mile wide asteroid, as was the 13-foot radar-engine arm, which will scan and point at the dark asteroid as it rotates and whips across the sky in front of the spacecraft. With just two slow and one fast pass on Thursday, Huygens will bounce off the head of the asteroid as it approaches and later will begin the recovery process, sending back still images of the asteroid’s surface.

Leave a Comment