Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Clouds, trees, and laziness caused me to miss seeing Comet McNaught this past two weeks when it was visible in the northern hemisphere (SpaceWeather.com and this photo gallery reminded me of this sad fact). I wondered if I could simulate a comet in Orbiter (not that this is a good substitute or anything).
Well I did, sort of. I borrowed part of an add-on by Brian Jones, simulating the ESA Rosetta mission (search for rosetta2.zip on Avsim.com). I then played around for a few minutes editing scenario files to place the comet near Earth so it would be visible near sunset at Cape Canaveral. The resulting picture is not very convincing, I admit (it's definitely not McNaught). I was surprised that there are very few Orbiter add-ons that simulate comets and asteroids. There are some, but the focus is on simulating the spacecraft and the flight for missions such as Rosetta and NEAR that have visited such bodies, and the developer typically includes the comet or asteroid as part of the add-on. See Flickr for more.