Questions tagged [deep-space]

Questions about deep space travel and observations that are related to the distance between the object in question and the Earth. For example, questions about communications delay, radial resolution, means of propulsion through the interstellar medium, e.t.c. Deep space does not exclude space near or around other celestial bodies past our Solar system's heliosphere, and should not be confused with the term "interstellar".

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33
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8answers
5k views

Have spacecraft photographed each other beyond Earth orbit?

There are several answers to Could a spy satellite image another satellite? and one answer with several examples to How many spacecraft have taken a “Pale Blue Dot” type photo of the Earth from beyond ...
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2answers
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How exactly were the signals from quad dishes of Apollo Deep Space High-Gain Antenna or Russian B-529 processed for local control of tracking?

The images below (and their sources) show the quad dishes of the Apollo Deep Space High-Gain Antenna and the Russian B529 ground station tracking antenna. From NASA Technical Note TN D-6723 Apollo ...
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3answers
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Which deep space spacecraft had main dish antennas that were perforated or made from mesh?

A long time ago I was considering asking why the dish antennas on some deep-space probes were perforated metal or mesh (presumably to save weight), while others were solid. I'm trying to finally ...
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1answer
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Where can I get data on deep space satellites or probes like voyager 1

I am doing a research on deep space communication. I need data on any of the man made deep space probes like voyager 1. I need the probe's transmitter power, received power on earth, Signal to noise ...
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1answer
73 views

What would be the cost of a thorium reactors at the core of a large starship? [closed]

Thorium is a high power substance that can contains large amounts of energy in a small space. How much would it cost to install and maintain one on a large starship? As well as using solar panels, ...
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2answers
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Would spacecraft rot or degrade over time faster on Mars, on The Moon, or in space?

One question I really wanna ask; do spaceship's rot? If they do degrade, does being on Mars, on The Moon, or in space increase the rotting speed of the spaceship? If so, in which environment would ...
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0answers
42 views

Will ESA's Solar Orbiter crash into Venus? If so, why?

The BBC News article European SolO probe ready to take on audacious mission links to the ESA video shown below and contains this 5 minute audio interview with NASA deputy project scientist on the ...
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2answers
35 views

What is ESA's Solar Orbiter's target inclination?

The BBC News article European SolO probe ready to take on audacious mission links to the ESA video shown below and contains this 5 minute audio interview with NASA deputy project scientist on the ...
0
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1answer
140 views

What exactly is an F-mission?

This @CometInterceptor tweet shows the mission's insignia. The complete wording on the patch is as follows: COMET INTERCEPTOR F-mission Question: What exactly is an F-mission? See also: ...
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1answer
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If a comet-sniffing spacecraft were launched today, could it catch up to newly-discovered ε>3 C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)?

As found in this answer to What makes scientists already so certain that Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is a comet and not an asteroid? the orbital parameters of this eccentricity > 3 visitor to our solar ...
2
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1answer
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How high is the first Deep Space Atomic Clock orbiting? Does it receive radiation equivalent to that in deep space?

The Livescience article NASA's Tiny New Atomic Clock Could Let Spacecraft Drive Themselves in Deep Space says: But the radiation still changes the way the electronics operate. And those changes ...
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2answers
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What would it take to get a message to another star?

Let's assume that we've somehow detected the existence of an extraterrestrial civilization through "passive" means, such as detecting a suspicious exoplanetary atmospheric signature. We're now hoping ...
5
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2answers
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When a coronal mass ejection (CME) hits a spacecraft, from which direction will the particles come?

I have long assumed that when a CME (aka solar mass ejection, SME) hits a spacecraft, its particles will be coming in a straight line from the Sun. I've learned recently that it isn't so direct, and ...
2
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1answer
154 views

Where would one deploy deep space atomic clocks?

Space.com: NASA IS LAUNCHING A GPS SYSTEM FOR SPACE NASA/JPL news: Five Things to Know about NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock NASA mission pages clock NASA Deep Space Atomic Clock Fact Sheet The first ...
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1answer
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Has magnetic core memory been used beyond the Moon?

@aml's comment under @OrganicMarble's answer to the question Did the IBM System/4 Pi computer have radiation-hardened versions for Skylab and Shuttle? says: @uhoh- according to wikipedia, the AP-...
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3answers
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What if the Voyagers had remained within the plane of the ecliptic?

On their last big-planet flybys, both Voyager 1 and 2 were given substantial kicks out of the plane of the ecliptic. If this wasn't so, and their flyby's were adjusted to stay within the plane of the ...
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1answer
124 views

How well would optical fiber work on the Moon or Mars?

Optical fiber used for data transmission over long distances is usually made from ultra-pure SiO2 and carefully doped with germanium in the core to elevate index of refraction. Fiber amplifiers ...
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0answers
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How many SpaceX 2nd stages are in heliocentric orbits?

I can think of one particularly famous SpaceX 2nd stage in heliocentric orbit that even has its own website: https://www.whereisroadster.com/ and I know one was used to send DSCOVR towards Sun-Earth ...
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1answer
210 views

Why Orion can't be used to service JWST?

Hubble Space Telescope is a marvel of astronomical tools - particularly judging by how much it moved the science. It took a lot of fixes along the way, which certainly prolonged its useful life. Its ...
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1answer
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Was Hayabusa-2's plastic explosive charge the largest charge detonated beyond LEO?

The BBC News article Hayabusa-2: Japanese probe set to 'bomb' an asteroid says: The charge is carried on the Small Carry-On Impactor (SCI) device. This is a 14kg conical container attached to ...
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2answers
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How can Trident be so inexpensive? Will it orbit Triton or just do a (slow) flyby?

The recent NY Times article Neptune’s Moon Triton Is Destination of Proposed NASA Mission says (in part): HOUSTON — Is it time to go back to Neptune? Scientists representing NASA’s Jet ...
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0answers
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How effective is the Orion radiation protection plan?

This article gives a basic overview of the procedure for astronauts on deep space missions who need to take shelter from energetic events such as solar flares. The shelter area strongly resembles a ...
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2answers
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What is the point of launching EM-1 on DIVH/F9H?

EM-1 was originally a full-up test of the SLS block 1B: Orion, ICPS (a modified 5-meter Delta cryogenic second stage), and the first stage/SRBs. NASA administrator Bridenstine’s statement on 3/13/...
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Travel Speed in Space

I have read several questions and answers here concerning achieving speeds beyond the typical deep-space exploration missions. While speed increases near the Sun for example, that can't be applied to ...
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Could outer system probes detect lasers shone at them from earth (orbit)?

Does the Voyager spacecraft have instruments capable of detecting laser light if shone at them? New Horizons certainly does. Any other probes? Is there any laser capable of accuracy and power enough ...
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3answers
209 views

How far away can spacecraft be seen with an optical telescope?

note: For the purposes of this question "optical" means near-UV through thermal IR, let's say 0.1 to 30 microns. In the question At what time in the Apollo 14 mission did the maneuver shown in this ...
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1answer
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Has there ever been musical events or performances associated with deep-space spacecraft or their flyby maneuvers?

We've had several questions related to music being played (live, or recorded) in space: Music played in space (6 answers) How did Sergei Krikalev get (or build) the drum he is shown playing here? (no ...
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1answer
142 views

Satellites around outer planets that act like amplifier to signals from voyager like objects

One issue of deep space exploration is that once the object (like Voyager) is far out in the solar system the physical distance is so great that the signal reaching Earth is very weak. I was wondering ...
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How long to surpass Voyager satellite distances using modern technology? [duplicate]

NASA's JPL just recently acknowledged that Voyager II has now joined Voyager I in entering interstellar space after 41 years of space travel. This got me to wondering: when will we ever get to Alpha ...
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2answers
352 views

Understanding the information contained in the Deep Space Network XML data?

NASA's Deep Space Network activity can be viewed conveniently at https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html but if you would like data in a more raw XML form, it can be accessed as described in this answer ...
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Why might NASA need to “practice moving a spaceship in different orbits in deep space”?

The NASA.gov feature Q&A: NASA’s New Spaceship says Q: NASA’s really building a spaceship?! A: That’s right! NASA is working with its partners to design and develop a small spaceship ...
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1answer
202 views

Are there plans or a program for an optical relay pathfinder for deep space?

In Glenn Research Center's Richard Reinhart's slides Space Communication and Navigation TestbedCommunications Technology for Exploration for the 2013 ISS Research and Development Conference I saw an ...
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1answer
96 views

Queries regarding deep space missions [closed]

What is deep space refers to? We have not even explore our nearby planets (till Mars) then why space agencies are going for deep space missions (like voyager-1 and voyager-2)? What do they want to ...
2
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1answer
101 views

What's the largest area dish antenna sent beyond the Earth-Moon system?

In the same vein as the question What's the largest aperture telescope sent beyond the Earth-Moon system?, I'd like to ask, what's the largest area antenna dish sent beyond the Earth-Moon system? If ...
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4answers
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When was the last time that Starman/Roadster was seen?

Starman/Roadster (2018-017A, 43205) is a Falcon 9 2nd stage with a red sports car attached, in a heliocentric orbit in deep space. It was tracked by telescopes for several weeks at least after launch ...
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4answers
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Could a Falcon Heavy assembly or something similar be useful for deep space missions? [duplicate]

Please forgive me, I'm a stargazer not an astronomer, nor a rocket scientist. If one could get a complete, fully fueled Falcon Heavy assembly into space, say for example by sandwiching one between ...
4
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1answer
139 views

Once a spacecraft is in space what factors determines its top speed?

Is there a limitation of speed of a spacecraft in space because of suns gravity? Is the speed purely dependent on the engineering? Or other factors comes into play?
20
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1answer
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How an americium-241 RTG would differ from one using plutonium-238?

@TomSpliker's great answer mentions that ESA might be looking at producing Radioisotope (powered) Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) based on the radioisotope americium-241. 241Am is a "kinder and ...
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1answer
169 views

First interplanetary launch from California! How far from Earth will InSight be when it separates from the Centaur 2nd stage?

The Phys.org article Bound for Mars—countdown to first interplanetary launch from California says: In the early morning hours of May 5, millions of Californians will have an opportunity to witness ...
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3answers
493 views

How bright is starlight in deep space?

Say I'm way out in deep space and on EVA. If I turn off all sources of illumination, can I basically still see, or am I severely impaired by darkness? Of course I can still see the stars, but will ...
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1answer
1k views

Why can't Falcon Heavy accelerate deep space payloads as fast as Atlas V and Delta Heavy?

A Falcon Heavy with an expendable core costs $95M and lifts 2.5x as much to GTO as the Atlas V. It's Pluto injection orbit payload is nearly half of the Atlas V's GTO payload. In the answer to this ...
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1answer
99 views

Can we get different images of the Milky Way? Or solar system?

The orbits of the planets are coplanar. We send probes out along this plane to explore planets. Why can't we send a probe perpendicular to this plane (say due north from the earths perspective) and ...
2
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1answer
204 views

Is NICER/SEXTANT the first civilian “spacecraft” to determine it's own position in space without GPS or uplinked data?

Computers on board spacecraft can determine their positions using a combination of uplinked data from the ground and for those closer to Earth, GPS/GNSS. (See this answer and this question for ...
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2answers
2k views

How to calculate data rate of Voyager 1?

I've read the following passage in the answer to the Quora question How can Voyager send a signal strong enough for us to receive, in spite of its enormous distance from us? And how can it have the ...
11
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2answers
589 views

Mass of food per astronaut per year for an extended deep space excursion?

Until food can be grown or synthesized reliably and effectively in space, a manned deep space mission needs to bring all of the food with it, or cache some of it ahead of time. Roughly what would be ...
9
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1answer
347 views

What's the record for the longest time a deep space craft has functioned without a reboot?

The question How is Voyager 1 still operating? and the interesting comparison to the record times that Earthbound servers have run without reboot got me thinking about deep space spacecraft. I'm ...
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2answers
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How is Voyager 1 still operating?

I watched a documentary on Voyager 1 and 2 last night and wondered "how is the digital equipment on them still operating"? I work in IT, and decided to look up what the longest running servers were - ...
4
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1answer
216 views

Could a molecular cloud be breathable?

Molecular clouds in deep space are fascinating objects. Various organic molecules have been found there (including alcohol, heh heh). So if one of these clouds contained about 20% of oxygen, would it ...
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1answer
506 views

How are the velocity and range of a spacecraft measured from ground based stations?

How are the velocity and range of a spacecraft measured from ground based stations? For example we can go on NASA's website and look at the real time data for the mission status of their past ...
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2answers
481 views

What is the highest non-optical frequency used or tested for use in deep space communication?

For dish antennas used to transmit a signal over large distances, the on-axis gain scales as $D^2/ \lambda^2$ or $D^2 f^2 / c^2$ where $\lambda$ and $f$ are the wavelength or frequency and $c$ is the ...