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Questions tagged [instrument]

Questions about equipment used to gather information during space exploration.

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What are the trade-offs to use a radio relay orbiter also as a radar science instrument?

Any landed mission could benefit from having an orbiting radio relay satellite to help enhance its data rate to Earth. For polar landers on for example the Moon or Mercury it would be a necessity. For ...
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118 views

Rainbow Space Probe?

Can a probe be sent out to shine a white laser through the atmosphere of a planet to measure a rainbow spectrum to determine composition, temperature, density etc.? Water drops refracts about at a ...
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83 views

Why does the SEIS require a bellows type wind cover?

The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure probe onboard the Insight lander is meant to measure subtle seismic events on Martian surface. In order to reduce the noise induced by wind, a protective ...
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How did Mariner 2's ridged radiometer dish focus two microwave bands but diffuse IR?

edit: more photos of a model of Mariner 2 here at Historic Spacecraft's Mariner_2. The images and quote are from the book Space Probes and Planetary Exploration William R. Corliss (written under the ...
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1answer
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What is this instrument on the ISS?

In this image (NASA original source) from the International Space Station. what is the "lightning rod"-like instrument at the end of the mast in the upper right of the photo?
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What science could be performed by an extra-solar probe?

An earlier question asked whether there were any planned missions outside the solar system, which made me think of this question. What would the scientific benefits be in sending a probe outside the ...
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1answer
487 views

Now what do we think? Is this purple dot really caused by Cassegrain optics and coherent backscattering?

EDIT: The stories in Phys.org NASA's EPIC view spots flashes on Earth and Live Science Mysterious Light Flashes 1st Spotted by Carl Sagan Explained seems to have information potentially relevant to ...
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2answers
891 views

What was the globe instrument in Vostok 1?

This image was attached to the Wikipedia article on Vostok 1 with a perfunctory caption "Part of the Vostok 1 instrument panel". I'm interested in the globe in the center. What is the name of this ...
6
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1answer
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Deep space craft antenna aiming

In order to aim an antenna at Earth, how do unmanned spacecraft find their own orientation (xyz position in space, what direction it is flying and which direction the antenna is pointing)? Are they ...
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Will the James Webb telescope have any visible spectrum cameras?

The telescope itself will operate in wavelengths from 0.6 µm (orange) to 28.5 µm (mid-infrared), so it reaches a bit into the visible spectrum, but it's still going to be aimed away from Earth, and ...
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130 views

Is radar & passive radar significantly different in space?

How effective are different types of radar in space over large distances? Is radar significantly different outside of the atmosphere of Earth? Would you need to generate a more powerful signal to ...
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1answer
321 views

Earth-based microwave radiometer for the Moon

Microwave radiometers (MWR) can be used passively, to get regolith's thickness, brightness temperature and dielectric constant. Apart from that, I have little idea of how the instrumentation's ...
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What instruments are necessary to measure/determine the process that generates Saturn's internal heat?

I am writing a paper about a possible mission to Saturn but I am a business and Spanish student and am quite ignorant when it comes to the engineering and science behind probes and their instruments; ...
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What does flying in Enceladus's plume accomplish?

I've been having a hard time understanding what flying through Enceladus's plume accomplishes. Cassini is an orbiter. It seems odd that it would have instruments that could even analyze the plume at ...
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Why is there a purple dot in the middle of this EPIC image?

On 29 July 2015, NASA released a second image from the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite: If you zoom in on the full image, you will ...
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1answer
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Is New Horizons capable of making natural color photos?

As far as I know, LORRI is panchromatic (black-and-white) and Ralph has red, blue and two infrared filters but no green filter. As such, I wonder whether New Horizons is capable of making natural ...
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What is the cost of taking something down from the ISS?

Launching instruments into orbit is expensive. When a spacecraft in orbit stops functioning, fixing it is normally not an option; nor will it be possible to retrieve the instrument for diagnosis. If ...
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Sensitivity of Space Telescopes and Instruments

I have been doing a bit of light reading on space telescopes and have been amazed by the reported sensitivity of some of the instruments. In particular, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) ...
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How will the NASA 2020 Mars rover's instrumentation differ from Curiosity?

The Wikipedia page on the plans for NASA's 2020 Mars rover says that it will be designed similarly to Curiosity but will differ in scientific instrumentation because of its goal: to investigate an ...
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Will JUNO be able to return any photographs?

Looking at the scientific instruments of JUNO, there doesn't appear to be a camera. Furthermore, no mention is made of any photos being returned in the scientific objectives. Will anything resembling ...
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0answers
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What can an astronaut do better than the Curiosity rover? [closed]

Firstly, I want to say that I'd be the first person with their hand up when asked, "So who wants to go to space?". There's nothing I'd love more than to go. But from looking at the amount of ...
8
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1answer
975 views

What instruments are necessary aboard spacecraft?

Just what the title says. Image below shows any number of displays, knobs, switches and what-not in the cockpit of the Space Shuttle:         Yet all of them may ...
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1answer
301 views

What type of onboard radar did the Surveyor landers use?

The Surveyor landers are the second generation of US lunar spacecraft following the Ranger series. They paved the way for the later soft landings of Apollo. What type of onboard radars were used in ...
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1answer
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How reliable is HiRISE imagery as a source of knowledge about Mars?

This is a question at the nexus of image interpretation and methodology of planetary science. How can HiRISE images be used in confirming or refuting hypotheses about the past and present geology of ...
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Do we have instruments that can measure the depth of storms like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter and the Great Dark Spot on Neptune?

I understand if technology isn't quite there yet. If it isn't, is there any research being developed along these lines? I'm trying to wrap my head around the composition of these planets, and the ...
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Why did the HiRISE camera team choose the wavelengths they did?

The HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has 3 color sensors, red (440-850nm), blue-green (400-600nm), and near-infrared (800-1000nm). Why these particular channels? Why not standard ...
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4answers
902 views

How do spacecraft measure onboard gravity?

How do spacecraft measure onboard (micro)gravity at any given point in time (especially when subject to the gravitational fields of multiple bodies)? I'm guessing that rudimentary accelerometers won't ...
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Are there any experiments in progress designed to explore the interiors of gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn?

I know that the high atmospheric pressure on these planets make a unique challenge to learn about the planets interiors. Are there any active projects designed to learn more about the interior of the ...