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Questions tagged [solar-system-exploration]

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0answers
31 views

How is New Horizon able to send back data to Earth? [closed]

New Horizon is to send back images of Ultima Thule, 6.4 billion kilometres away. Barred having a very large power to send information back on a very large angle, it seems to me that the level of ...
3
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1answer
58 views

How are solar sails maneuvered by sunlight? Are they pushed or pulled?

On 20 May, 2010, Japan launched IKAROS probe with primary propulsion by a solar sail. If the radiation pressure, that helps the sail to move, comes from the sun, then shouldn't it be pushed away from ...
3
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2answers
79 views

Parker Solar Probe top speed

All the news articles say it'll orbit the sun at 430,000 mph. How do they get that? It seems too low. Isn't orbital velocity proportional to $1/\sqrt{r}$? Parker will be 4 million miles above the "...
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1answer
47 views

Why are we using large chunks of copper to smash asteroids and comets? [closed]

Why is copper used? Isn't that expensive?
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0answers
21 views

Slowing the late descent of an atmospheric probe in a gas/ice giant exploration [closed]

I remember the 1995 descent of the Galileo atmospheric module in Jupiter atmosphere. The robust casing made it withstand several dozens of bars of pressure before going out. What measures could be ...
0
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3answers
69 views

What happens after the light from the sun has travelled its entirety? [duplicate]

The light from the sun will stop traveling after a particular distance due to its intensity becoming 0. Up to which planet does the light from the sun travel before which it dissipates into nothing? ...
4
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1answer
335 views

Orbital maintenance of a Mars cycler

How much orbital maintenance (i.e. corrections), if any, would a Mars cycler need. As far as I understand it, a cycler needs no corrections to its orbit unless something extraordinary happens like ...
0
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1answer
75 views

How is SUN rotating? [closed]

Is Sun rotating anti clockwise similar to planet Venus or is it continuously changing it rotation ?
3
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2answers
787 views

What will happen to a human being exposed to Martian atmosphere?

Mark Watney, in the movie The Martian, says that, If the HAB breaches, I'm just gonna, kind of... implode. The corresponding novel, by Andy Weir, says he will explode (as pointed out by @...
0
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1answer
138 views

How long would a non-gravitationally assisted flight take to Pluto?

Say you want to fly to Pluto from Earth and orbit it. So you're going to launch it from Earth with such a speed that as it approaches Pluto, it's traveling (roughly) the same linear speed of Pluto. ...
4
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1answer
81 views

How do space probes identify molecules?

How does a space probe identify molecules without actually obtaining the molecules? The common identification techniques I can think of are spectroscopy and magnetic resonance, but for both of them, ...
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1answer
77 views

Is it true Mars once had life? (like Earth) [closed]

Nasa had proven Mars once had water and still has under ground. So dose that mean mars once had life or maybe still has?
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1answer
42 views

Which factors are stopping us from studying Titan? [closed]

I have heard that Titan has early Earth like atmosphere and has various hydrocarbons and nitrogen gas, where hydrocarbons are in liquid state and undergo same seasonal patterns as earth. With these ...
2
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1answer
83 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 ...
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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
81 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 ...
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2answers
56 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 ...
2
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1answer
638 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
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1answer
97 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
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1answer
129 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 ...
0
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1answer
237 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 ...
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1answer
215 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
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1answer
195 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?
1
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1answer
157 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
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1answer
127 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
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1answer
509 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
60 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
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2answers
164 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
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2answers
148 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,?
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2answers
3k 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 ...
5
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1answer
1k 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?
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0answers
424 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
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1answer
253 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 ...
7
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4answers
587 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 ...
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2answers
5k views

What happened to Apollo's Saturn-third-stage rockets?

I read recently the original Apollo 11 press release and it mentions that the Saturn V's third stage (used for Trans-Lunar Injection) was deployed into a solar orbit of some kind: (Source: Press Kit -...
2
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2answers
226 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
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1answer
137 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
13
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2answers
185 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 ...
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3answers
6k 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 ...
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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
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1answer
155 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 ...
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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 ...
18
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3answers
18k 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? (Electronic - what kind of sensor and megapixel count?) Analog? (...
14
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2answers
299 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?
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10answers
22k 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 ...