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2
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1answer
40 views

Asteroid as a “free slingshot?”

The question Halley's Comet as a "Free Taxi" had an interesting thought, even though it didn't work out. I was wondering about a variation on the idea. Use a cable, as illustrated below. Could this be ...
16
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6answers
5k views

Halley's Comet as a “Free Taxi”

Now that the ESA has landed a probe on a comet, namely Rosetta's Philae Probe, could we possibly land a probe on Halley's comet? Fuel seems to be a limiting factor for interstellar expeditions - could ...
0
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0answers
67 views

Has New Horizons' visit to Pluto taught us anything deeper than mere… facts?

There's a lot of interesting stuff coming from New Horizons about Pluto, but are we actually gaining any non-trivial scientific understanding from it, or is it all just "oh neat, Pluto has mountains ...
0
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2answers
31 views

Earth “satellite” breadcrumb: Have we ever placed an object orbiting our Sun and the Sun only?

Have we ever placed an object orbiting our Sun and the Sun only? like a breadcrumb of our orbit... I was reading about VLA for satellites and wouldn't this breadcrumb be a viable solution to create a ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

How does NASA determine the position of their probes?

I'm currently following New Horizons visit to Pluto. I'm just wondering how does the Probe/NASA determine the Position of the Probe? I would assume using earth's GPS wouldn't have the necessary ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Observed gravity of Venus aside from the Magellan probe

I have been searching but cannot seem to find it. I would like to know what the surface gravity of Venus has been observed to be from different missions/probes that were sent to Venus on separate ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Question about Voyager 1

Voyager 1 is currently travelling at 38000 miles per hour in interstellar space. Of course, in a few years time all its functions will eventually shut down but it will remain at the same velocity of ...
1
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0answers
79 views

Has the Pioneer Anomaly been experienced by Voyager?

I came across the Pioneer Anomaly recently, and a quick search here showed there now a theory that fits everything observed. My question is, should we expect a similar effect from the design of the ...
1
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0answers
107 views

Are the Voyager spacecraft rotating in space or are they completely still?

Are the Voyager spacecraft completely still (fixated) when travelling through space or are they a little unstable because they are travelling at high velocities?
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Why does the Cassini probe experience jerky acceleration in deep space?

I was looking at this plot of speed over time for the Cassini probe. What's going on at the right, after mid-2004? Why does it keep slowing down and speeding up again?
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Why does Philae have only three legs?

Can anyone explain why comet lander Philae has only three legs? Isn't it obvious that it now has problems that it would not have had if it had four legs arranged as a regular tetrahedron - or even ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Why was the asteroid 101955 Bennu chosen by the NASA OSIRIS-REx sample return mission?

Please explain it in simple terms. Why was THIS asteroid chosen among all the thousand of asteroids?
7
votes
1answer
475 views

Was Einsteins work with relativity necessary for successful space travel?

So I know that Einstein and general relativity had huge impacts on the way we view the world, but how crucial were these scientific advancements to the success of our space programs? Would Newtonian ...
1
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0answers
45 views

The magnitude of spacecraft anomalous velocities?

That Voyager and several other spacecraft have had anomalous changes in speed is known. According to the news reports, the differences are unsettling. But just how large are these anomalies really? ...
0
votes
2answers
125 views

Regarding space launch hazard and near earth debris [closed]

I have saw this picture in wikipedia and I begin to wonder why doesn't current space launches take consideration of avoiding space debris, as say you want to sent a robotic mission to mars, during ...
3
votes
2answers
108 views

Does spin of the earth vary at different locations?

Does the spin of the earth around its axis vary at different distance from the sun?,if so how does it correspond to the length of day and night,?
1
vote
2answers
702 views

Curiosity Rover (MSL): current coordinates

I'm looking for information on the current coordinates of Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity Rover. I've only found the landing site coordinates 4.5895°S ...
4
votes
1answer
745 views

How much time has passed for Voyager I since it left the Earth, 34 years ago?

34 years have passed since Voyager I took off and it's just crossing the solar system, being approximately at 16.4 light-hours away. How much time have passed for itself, though?
5
votes
0answers
283 views

Mirrors and light beam divergence technology limits

There are many applications for orbital space mirrors in astronomy (better telescopes) and space propulsion (solar power for deep space probes), but this is limited by the minimum beam divergence ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

How do they point a camera on a space probe?

When a probe like Voyager 1 is sent into deep space they are able to point the camera at the planet and its moons and take pictures. How is the camera pointed at the object? Is the camera fixed to ...
6
votes
4answers
389 views

How do aerospace engineers choose a landing system? (Curiosity rover)

The Sojourner rover with the Mars Pathfinder used a entry, descent, and landing system involving airbags to land on Mars. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers each used more-or-less the same system ...
2
votes
2answers
154 views

Where can I find information on space navigation, and the people who pioneered it?

I'm doing a paper for school about space navigation. It's an interesting subject, but upon searching google, all I could find were non-detailed explanations of astrophysics that I think are meant for ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Cassini: What information could be gained from the 2017 impact with Saturn?

First of all: Will Cassini be operational in 2017 (pending no unforeseen equipment failures)? Power Communications ... What information could we gain? Properties of Saturn How to build more ...
7
votes
3answers
765 views

How can Voyager 1 escape gravity of moons and planets?

I think this one is pretty simple so excuse me for my ignorance. But since most planets in our solar system are very well tied to their orbit around the sun or orbit around their planet (for moons), I ...
12
votes
2answers
120 views

How are interplanetary trajectories found?

How are interplanetary trajectories that involve gravity assist maneuvers found? Examples: the MESSENGER spacecraft made flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury before getting into orbit the Juno ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

How Earth communicates with Voyager I?

After taking a basic signals & systems class and learning about the frequency domain, I started wondering: How the heck do scientists still communicate with Voyagers I and II??   Do they ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why aren't space probes like New Horizons sped up in space?

So the New Horizons project is sending a probe out to image Pluto and Charon. As they're pretty far away, it will take the New Horizons probe nearly 10 years to get there (in 2015, having been ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

What effects will the heliosheath have on the Voyager spacecraft?

I wanted to know what effects the heliosheath will have on the Voyager 1 & 2 craft. I know they used the slingshot method to travel through our solar system; so, with being way out in the ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Curiosity Rover (MSL): specification / dimensions

I have been looking all over and I can't find a detailed specification about the Curiosity Rover. The length is about 10 feet but it would be cool to find out the dimensions of the wheels, clearance ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

Cameras in Voyager probes

I've always wondered about the cameras in the space probes, especially in the Voyagers. 1) What kind of cameras do they have? Digital? (What kind of sensor and megapixel count?) Analog? (Do they ...
12
votes
2answers
162 views

What is the most distant object from the Earth that a spacecraft has visited to date?

What is the most distant object from the earth that a spacecraft visited has visited so far? What was the mission and when did it happen?
25
votes
9answers
7k views

Why don't modern spacecraft use nuclear power?

The Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft launched in 1977 with Plutonium as their source of electricity. 34 years later they claim these two spacecraft have enough power to last them until at least 2020. That ...