Questions tagged [probe]

A space probe is a scientific robotic spacecraft. It explores space and/or other planetary bodies (planets, satellites, asteroids, ..). It can flyby, orbit, enter atmosphere of, land on or submerge into its target, or approach interstellar space. Pioneer 10/11 and Voyager 1/2 are examples of space probe.

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Would it be possible to build a probe that could operate at about 480 °C (900F degrees) without insulation?

I read a question about cooling a Venus lander, and got to thinking that the problem was in building a probe that has no problem with Earthlike temperatures and pressures, then trying to insulate it ...
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Requirements to orbit Pluto

I have seen this question posed often recently, without a satisfactory answer in my opinion: Why won’t New Horizons orbit Pluto? The answers I read are always along this line: too much fuel too ...
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When will New Horizons overtake Voyager 1 in distance from the Sun?

Basically, what the title asks. To my understanding, New Horizons is currently the fastest spacecraft that's moving away from the Sun, with arguably only Helios-A and Helios-B possibly faster still, ...
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How are precision trajectory measurements made of trans-Neptunian spacecraft?

This question asks if Voyager suddenly encountered unexpected gravity from an unseen object, how would it be detected, and there are several answers. For the farthest probes - those now farther from ...
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How was magnetic tape decay prevented in Voyager 1?

I had recently learned that Voyager 1 uses magnetic tape to record data. Voyager 1 has been going on more or less strongly since 1977 (before I was even born!), and the wikipedia article states that ...
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Why did Sputnik 1 have four antennas?

Sputnik was only launched a few hundred kilometers above Earth, and transmitted only a simple beeping signal. What was the purpose of having four antennas? Wouldn't one be powerful enough?
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How does NASA get information from space probes?

So I have briefly gone over answers to how things are stored as from this answer: https://space.stackexchange.com/a/2273/1247 but how is the information sent back? I'm thinking of probes like the ...
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Are there any successors to Voyagers underway currently?

We've seen quite a few probes examining the Solar System in the recent years, but beyond Voyager delivering new measurements every couple months now, I haven't heard about any of the probes underway ...
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Is there any way to find and track Pioneer 10, 11, and Voyager 1, 2?

The space probes Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, and Voyager 2 are the first man-made devices to have escaped from our solar system. The main problem they face is the lack of power source in them. ...
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Will Voyager 1 or 2 be able to take photos?

Will Voyager 1 or Voyager 2 be able to take a photo of their current view, using their cameras and send the photo to Earth? Do they have the power to do this?
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Why do we worry about contaminating some solar bodies but not others?

On 15th September 2017, the Cassini probe will be destroyed by crashing it into Saturn. This will be done in order to eliminate the unlikely risk of it crashing into and forward contaminating one of ...
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What was the first man made object to leave our solar system?

We have a lot of man made objects flying around the universe. Which one was the first one out of our solar system? How far away from the sun was it when it became "out of the solar system?
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Why are planetary probe RTGs tilted at a jaunty angle?

This image from here: Does the Dragonfly project (quadcopters on Titan) envision attached RTG's or would they be static and revisited for charging? and this image show that the RTGs on these two ...
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Is a space probe communication relay possible?

Is it possible to maintain a connection with space probes that are far away by sending other space probes behind it. For example - [earth] ------1---- 2-------3--------4------5....and so on if ...
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How many extraterrestrial bodies have hosted a “lander” which returned images?

For the purposes of this question, we will consider a "lander" any probe which was sent to the surface of an extraterrestrial body or entered the atmosphere to a point which exceeds an air pressure of ...
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What factors limit the lifetime of an unmanned spacecraft?

Other than fuel, what factors limit the lifetime of a spacecraft? For example, if someone wanted to send a spacecraft on a 100 year trip round the solar system and back to Earth, could it be done ...
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What powers New Horizons?

What does New Horizons use to keep itself traveling (so far), while keeping all of its monitoring and communication systems active? I did read that it leveraged force from a gravity sling shot from ...
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How do probes locate themselves?

There's no way for any probe that is sent to orbit/land on a distant body to get there only on precalculated flight parameters alone - minuscule errors in the beginning of flight would convert to huge ...
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On which device data gets saved on spacecrafts? [closed]

How does it? I have a turning hard disk drive in my pc, but I think it would break if I put it on a rocket. Also, what speeds do those things have?
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What angular resolution is expected during New Horizon's flyby of Ultima Thule?

Ultima Thule is thought to be about 20 miles (30 km) across. However, I can't seem to find any information about approach distance or typical image resolution of New Horizons in regards to this second ...
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Equipment needed to contact ICE/ISEE3 Spaceraft

A few days ago, I was reading the wikipedia entry for the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) / International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) satellite, that was launched August 12, 1978. Down near ...
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Why aren't space probes launched in batches?

A lot of the costs of launching space probes to other moons and planets must be the staggering research and engineering costs to design the vehicle as well as the costs of planning a mission. In ...
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Why does NASA intentionally spin space probes?

In several NASA animations of missions, I've noticed that the spacecraft is rotating while traveling in deep space. This was true of Curiosity when that video came out. Now the Juno mission ...
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Dawn Spacecraft: Why are the orbits so high?

I understand Dawn has a mission to undertake geologic ("Cereologic"?) mapping of Ceres, but its final orbit will be at 22,000 km / 49% disk illumination. Surely, there would be some value for ...
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What were the Curiosity sky-crane’s descent engines?

I vaguely remember hearing the descent engines in the sky crane of curiosity were monopropellants and ran on hydrazine. Is this true and is there any other information on the engines available?
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Shortest time to place a probe further than Voyager 1?

Based on today's technology (requiring no new engineering hurdles to be solved), could a new interstellar space probe overtake Voyager 1's distance? It doesn't need to go in the same direction, but ...
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Where are Pioneer 10, 11 and the Voyagers ultimately headed?

Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and the two Voyagers are all headed out of the solar system. Has anybody extrapolated where they will all end up (if at all)? Is there a graphic that depicts the direction of ...
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Why do space agencies invest more in flyby probes rather than orbiting satellites?

First of all, the title is just an assumption based on a very small sample size of the Voyager spacecrafts and New Horizons. We have orbiters around the moon and Mars because we had/have plans to land ...
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Why are probes that tend to explore outer system always launched to go outwards instead of straight upwards or downwards?

Let's take a look at the trajectory of variety probe missions. New Horizons and Ultima Thule will be 4.1 billion miles away when it visits the Kuiper Belt object. This chart shows the path of New ...
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Is there any reason to send space probes along the plane of our solar system instead of perpendicular to the plane of our solar system? [duplicate]

Is there any reason to send deep space probes (Pioneer and Voyager) along the plane of our solar system (maybe with a slight inclination) instead of perpendicular to the plane of our solar system? If ...
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Long range laser communication beam divergence angle values?

NASA has been working on demonstrations of laser communication with satellites. The motivation is simple, in that lasers see less power loss because they spread over a smaller angle. That raises the ...
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How do Field Programmable Gate Arrays affect the capabilities of probes?

FPGAs are microprocessors that can be reconfigured on the fly, through programming, to do different things. They can essentially be rewired, to change what the chip does, in ways that once would have ...
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Is it possible to create a relativistic space probe going at least 0.1c with present day technology?

That's pretty much it: Is it possible to create a relativistic space probe going at least 0.1c with present day technology? Present day meaning as of April 2020. If it is actually possible, how ...
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Is GR required to send a probe to Mercury?

I understand that Newton's Law of Gravitation is still used today to calculate the paths of probes, since it is such an accurate theory. However, the Law of Gravitation does not accurately describe ...
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Would a Voyager spacecraft trajectory change be recognized?

Consider the following hypothetical event: a Voyager spacecraft (1 or 2) changes its planned interstellar trajectory quite suddenly (I'm well aware of motion and gravity laws and I know that this ...
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Why space probes are so different from each other?

Everytime I look at a space probe I see a whole different design and this puzzles me. I do understand that each mission is different and requires different science instruments. I also do understand ...
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Could one of the interstellar probes discover Planet IX by accident?

Could one or some of the spacecraft sent beyond the Kuiper belt discover (or even disprove) the hypothetical Planet IX? That doesn't necessarily mean coming so close you'd recognize the planet in ...
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Why didn't the Pioneer probes maintain communications with Earth as long as the Voyagers have? [duplicate]

The Pioneer Missions. March 26, 2007 PIONEER 10 SPACECRAFT SENDS LAST SIGNAL - After more than 30 years, it appears the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. ...
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Did we know the gas planets were truly gaseous before Pioneer 10?

I'm asking for historical scientific knowledge of our understanding of the outer planets, which seems hard to come by. Pioneer 10 was the first probe to an outer planet (Jupiter). Before then, did we ...
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What's the marginal cost of a second interplanetary space probe copy, like Voyager 2 or Viking 2?

During the old space race days, launching double or multiple scientific probe copies seems to have been the standard. It should have the advantage of sharing the one time fixed development costs while ...
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How is a space probe's antenna directed toward Earth?

I wonder how is it possible to direct the probe's antenna from enormous distances (like Pluto) toward the Earth. Because if even an extremely small inclination in antenna direction emerge, it will ...
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Could space probe Voyager 1 or 2 reach Alpha Centauri?

Is it possible for Voyager 1 or 2 to reach any other star? If yes, which one is it and how much time does it take to do that? And in which direction are they now, and could we still communicate with ...
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What is the date for a Mars file?

When a robot on Mars does something like take a picture, how does it date that file? I imagine that the responsible laboratory is a possible referential, correct? Is it possible / does it make sense ...
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Is there any way to communicate with Pioneer 11 through Voyager 1 or 2?

The position of Pioneer 11 is between Voyager 1 and 2, that means Pioneer 11 is closer to Voyager 1 and 2 than to Earth. According to the Wikipedia article on Pioneer 11 we lost communication with it ...
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Have we attempted to experimentally confirm gravitational time dilation?

Mark Adler wrote in an answer to a different question that We would expect that Voyager 1's local time is faster than Earth time by about one part in one hundred million. I don't think that ...
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Is there any stable orbit around a black hole?

Is there any stable orbit around a black hole so that the spacecraft will remain in orbit without any disturbance over a long period of time ?
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Why don't we launch spacecraft from the Moon?

The Moon has less gravity than the Earth and its own orbital speed around the Earth removes some of the velocity required to leave the Earth-Moon space, right? We could send probes or spacecraft much ...
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When will we send floating probes to Venus?

Recent plans on human missions to Mars have sparked many discussions, one of which is about if we should colonize Venusian upper atmosphere with Zeppelin like floating ships and cities first. NASA ...
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Why do deep space probes have to be sterilized?

Correct me if I'm wrong but a probe to Mars will take months, during which time it's exposed to a vacuum and irradiated by the sun. It sounds to me like this would kill any micro-organisms on the ...
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How is the software for scientific space missions developed?

The flight control software for the Space Shuttle was developed to the most rigorous standards that exist today. They went to enormous lengths to prevent bugs from ever threatening the mission and/or ...