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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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 does a space probe differ from a satellite in terms of materials used and size?

Both of those space vehicles are meant to carry out different tasks. How are materials selected for both of them such that it benefits their task? And is size a debatable factor while building these ...
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How is flyby distance estimated?

The New Horizons spacecraft performed flybys of 134340 Pluto and 486958 Arrokoth in 2015 and 2019, respectively. The orbits of these satellites was not known to the kilometer (or maybe even thousand-...
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What would the perihelion of Ulysses's orbit have been without a trajectory adjustment after its Jupiter swingby?

I'm wondering what the perihelion of the orbit of Ulysses spacecraft would have been had a trajectory adjustment after its Jupiter swingby not taken place? On Wikipedia it says "The size and shape of ...
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Where is Giotto now?

Launched in 1985, ESA's Giotto became the first spacecraft to visit a comet. Since then it has done at least some Earth flybys/slingshots to visit other comets. This image from the Wiki article ...
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What would the Voyager probes look like today?

In the 40+ years since their launching, after traveling through the solar system and now beyond, what would the Voyager probes look like today if we could see them up close? Would they look noticeably ...
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Where is BepiColombo?

BepiColombo is a probe that was sent towards Mercury in October 2018. It will flyby Earth in April 2020, but I would like to know where it is in the meantime. Is there a website that shows where in ...
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How will Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking's nanobots decelerate and transmit data upon arrival at Alpha Centauri?

Does anyone know what exactly is their plan, once they get there? How is that nano-thing going to slow down / take images / send data back to us? I couldn't find any information on this.
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Can we not get outside the Local Galactic group?

Can we not escape the expansion of space to get outside the local group? I was doing some math, and the closest Group to us besides the Local Group is the M81 Group which is 11.4 Million light years ...
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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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Given that JunoCam is mainly for outreach, how bad is it as a scientific instrument?

According to Wikipedia's article on JunoCam (and I have seen other corroborating sources): JunoCam is not one of the probe's core scientific instruments; it was put on board primarily for public ...
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Has any object launched from Earth gone into the Sun?

I've seen a lot of questions about the $\Delta V$ required to reach the Sun from the Earth (~22-30 km/s if I remember correctly), firing a bullet into the sun, etc. But has this ever happened? Has ...
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Are there planned sungrazing probes?

Reading about sungrazing comets, that can reach speed of +600km/s at perihelion, and about sungrazing comets being used as probes. Are there any planned mission involving a sungrazing probe, able to ...
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Could momentum transfer be practical (e.g., for orbital insertion at Pluto)?

Constraining exploration of outer bodies to flybys (such as New Horizons) seems unfortunate in terms of the amount of science that can be done per mission. Using a slower planetary approach has ...
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Were there any identified launch windows and gravity-assist trajectories that could put a probe on a “Grand Tour” trajectory around 1981?

For context, I am developing an alternate history that features a far more ambitious Voyager program than the one undertaken in real life. However, despite the increase in NASA funding provided in the ...
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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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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 were some early interplanetary probes pressurized?

Mariners 2 through 9, and the Soviet spacecraft of that era, sometimes suffered from leaks that impaired or disabled parts of their scientific payloads. What kinds of sensors couldn't work in vacuum? ...
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How do we know that Voyager's data is correct?

I was wondering for some time how we know that the scientific data received by the Voyager spacecrafts are correct? Specifically, I'm wondering about the recent "tsunami-wave" (frequency of ionized ...
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Why tantalum for the Hayabusa bullets?

The Hayabusa 2 probe is firing tantalum bullets at the asteroid Ryugu to knock off material that can be sampled. Why tantalum? That’s a pretty obscure element and I would assume rather rare. What ...
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A probe floating in Sun's surface

Is it possible to construct a probe that would float in the Sun's surface? The temperature of Sun is 5,800 K and I heared there are alloys that can remain solid at 4500 K. I wonder if it is ...
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“Stationary” Space Probe

Could we place a satellite in the wake of the Earth's orbit so that when the Earth completes its orbit of the sun it would effectively meet back up with said satellite?
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What probe has the shortest/longest operational surface time (non-Earth)?

I was reading fastest trip to the moon and that question got me in the mood for asking "what's the record for X" style questions. I thought of 5-10 but I'll limit myself to one because they're not ...
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Why has no lander or rover visited Hellas Planitia on Mars?

While with this weeks discovery, I am sure everyone is waiting for the inevitable trip to Palantir Crater, I noticed that one Mars' largest crater, Hellax Planitia has never been visited by a lander ...
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What is the shielding capability of liquid metal compaired to solid metal?

For simplicity, consider a spherical metal shape for shielding cargo/people behind. (The liquid ball is supposed to be between the Sun and the cargo. Not people inside it.) A problem I see is that it ...
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Is aerobraking used for orbit insertion for each planet with an atmosphere?

Probes designed to orbit planets can use aerobraking to help orbit insertion (as it has already been done for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or Mars Global Surveyor). Such techniques could be used for ...
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Have there been any probes launched that were actually clusters of probes?

I was wondering if there were any space probe systems that were actually launched as part of a larger satellite bus. As in, one rocket launch from earth releases 6 different satellites on a singular ...
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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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Is the cause of the Phobos-2 probe failure definitively known?

In 1987 the ambitious Soviet probe Phobos (Fobos)-2 made it to Martian orbit and started transmitting data. The Planetary Society Phobos-2 page shows all 38 images received over a period of about a ...
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Listing objects and space probes beyond Earth orbit in Space Track?

Can anyone tell me how to query Space Track to list objects that are beyond Earth orbit. I am thinking of things such as the Voyagers, the Tesla Roadster and Pioneer, as examples? While there is a ...
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Can an Ion engine in tow assist in launch? [closed]

This question asks: How large a body could a probe with ion engines land on and launch from? and made me think could an ion engine that is the payload be mounted in a way to assist in the launch?
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Why Mariner 10 was instructed to turn off [transmitter]?

Ran out of fuel it too shallow answer. There should be something else like uncontrolled spinning and making waste radio noise. But this could be good experiment how long probe would survive so close ...
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Would we be able to detect an extraterrestrial “Voyager” if it came near us?

Attached to the Voyager probes are the golden records, which are essentially messages-in-a-bottle sent out into the vast sea of interstellar space, containing, of course, the "message of humanity". ...
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Probing gas giant planets by descending through a cyclones's “eye”?

On Earth cyclones have regions of calm weather commonly known as eyes. They appear to create tunnels spreading from the top of the atmosphere down to the sea level. Wikipedia article mentions their ...
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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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Traveling through the asteriod belt?

The question What's the (particle) density of the asteroid belt? is about the density of objects in the asteroid belt. As a follow up related question and what I am interested in: When we send ...
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Could Breakthrough Starshot proposed propulsion system be used in a regular size probe to accelerate it faster than any probe has been before?

Supposedly Breakthrough Starshot project wants to accelerate a capsule of the size of a mobile phone - according to one source - and of the size of the chip of a mobile phone - according to another ...
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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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How to manage landing on unlandable asteroids?

If asteroid's rotation period provides greater centrifugal force than gravity, having tangential surface velocity greater than escape velocity, and/or if due to an oddly enough shape, it has no fixed ...
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Why are space probes and satellites not destroyed by meteor showers such as the Perseid?

What are the mechanisms used to avoid destruction of space probes and satellites during meteor showers? Are they affected by them?
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Are there plans for another mission to Titan?

I've always liked the idea of exploring the moon Titan, most likely because of the atmosphere, pressure, and the fact that it has stable bodies of liquids at the surface. Although it's very cold, ...
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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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Effective range of a laser propelled solar sail

The ongoing Breakthrough Starshot program proposes the use of high powered lasers on Earth to be aimed at a solar sail with the intention of propelling it to the star Alpha Centauri. To be more ...
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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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How do long range space probes adjust trajectory?

More specifically, after the main launch adjustments have been made using the primary boosters and temporary adjusting propellants how might even the slightest trajectory and orientation corrections ...
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Having deep space probes use AI to decide where to point their cameras?

With New Horizons on final approach to Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) it has been stated that some or all of the images returned may end up being blank due to the camera being pointed incorrectly because of ...
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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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Space Travel Advanced Recon [closed]

Could a network of probes be sent ahead of a mother ship to form a grid to lay a path for travel inside the solar system? After what certain speed anything larger then a stationary pebble could be ...
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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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Has NASA thought about a hub on Mars, where rovers could branch out of?

When watching the insight landing I saw this map: Now all these missions had to have their own power supply(and more). Why did NASA not send up a kind of energy hub that is fixed where multiple ...