posted on Oct, 21 2014 @ 09:44 AM
originally posted by: roadgravel
Satellites: they are designed to be looking "down" at Mars, not up and out from Mars
There isn't really an up / down in space. Just turn the satellite.
Given the amount of time NASA is said to spend covering up it's work, I am surprised anything new can even happen. I figure they are still clearing
the back log from 1995 to 2005.
I'm afraid you do not "just turn" a satellite.
It's not a car.
If it's sensor and camera arrays are fixed on a certain point of that body, it will be indeed pointed DOWN towards the planet it is orbiting if it's
main purpose in life is to photograph the surface of a planet that is BELOW it.
You are right, there is no "Up" or "Down" in space. However, those words are still used to describe orientation and position of spacecraft and
If the arrays are not on a movable platform (IE one that can move about), then you have to realign the orientation of the entire satellite to take
images other than the planet.
In order to do that, if it does not have built in gyros to do so, would need some sort of monopropellent system that fires short bursts. That uses
fuel that otherwise may be used to keep said satellite in orbit or adjust it's altitude.
I know a lot of people think "well just turn or move the satellite" but unless it was designed for it, that can be harder to do than you'd think. If
the main mission of a satellite is to have it's "eyes" pointed to the planet, adding things to move it around to look out into space adds cost and
mass to the satellite that can be hard to justify if the primary purpose of the satellite isn't to do that.
We do have satellites specifically designed for that, like Hubble. But a NOAA weather satellite won't be.
edit on 21-10-2014 by eriktheawful
because: (no reason given)