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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Why are meteors, asteroids and comets not used as propulsion for spacecrafts? [duplicate]

I know it would take a lengthy amount of time to reach the asteroids and meteors. After hearing of the Europeans landing a probe on a comet, the first thing I could think of was: "Could this be used ...
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Why is it hard to take a high quality image of far away objects (like Pluto) using a high-tech space telescope?

Why did NASA send a probe so close to Pluto instead of using a high-tech telescope to capture images of its surface? The Icy Mountains of Pluto. Image credit: New Horizons / Johns Hopkins Applied ...
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When sending a probe to Mars, how is the optimal travel path calculated?

Exactly as stated in the title. I guess it is not a trivial subject but I believe a rough algorithm or process description may be provided.
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How many asteroids could a retrograde probe in the Asteroid Belt flyby?

Cassini makes frequent flyby's of moons at Saturn. If one similarly put a probe in retrograde heliocentric orbit in the Asteroid Belt, how frequent could one expect to make a near flyby, given the ...
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What do scientists see when they track space probes?

First, I already understand the basics of radio communication at this point, as that is all I've found searching elsewhere on the web for my question. (For example, How does NASA get information from ...
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Probes on a Solar System Escape Trajectory

Not one probe that has or will leave the Solar System (Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and New Horizons) has a Solar Power System. This leads to the question, is there a reason behind ...
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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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What probe received the most gravitational assists?

Often when launching deep-space probes, scientists will "loop" them around planets, "stealing" some of the planet's momentum and transferring it to the probe - giving the probe a huge speed boost. I'...
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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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Do all satellites and space probes have high & low gain antennas and what are their functions?

What is the main function of high and low gain antennas? Do all satellites and space probes have high and low gain antennas?
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Why is Rosetta not going to hover or descend multiple times before crashing into 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko?

Currently Rosetta is on a free fall collision course with 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. If I understand correctly the probe will send back data and pictures during the descent, and once it has crashed ...
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What types of activities are performed when managing a probe in transit?

This question got me thinking - what types of activities are routinely performed when a probe is in a long transit (like Juno, for example)? What does the staffing typically look like? Does one (or a ...
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Resilience to data transmission errors of the Juno spacecraft

What techniques have been employed for the Juno spacecraft to successfully transmit data packets back to Earth once she's in a polar orbit around Jupiter? Jupiter is a strong source of radio ...
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Has Juno now gone faster than - and braked harder than - any other human-made object ever?

Juno just passed its closest approach to Jupiter, going 58 km/s because it was so deep in Jupiter's gravity well. Ironically, it did this while retrofiring its engines, to slow down. That sounds ...
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Why do we always only launch one probe? [duplicate]

Juno got me thinking again about scaling and maximizing the output of space exploration missions. It seems weird that (with the notable exception of Mars rovers) we (as in humanity) always only start ...
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Why not use Halley's Comet as a probe?

Halley's Comet comes around every 75 years. From what I can gather on Wikipedia the comet is not spinning that fast, has a large elliptical orbit, and has been recorded since 240 BC returning on a ...
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Alternative data transfer channels for inter-stellar probes?

The problem how it is possible to receive data from Voyager I at all is dealt in this question: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/13227/how-earth-communicates-with-voyager-i However, there ...
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Calendar of deep space arrivals?

There are some calendars for upcoming launches, like the Reddit one. Is there some corresponding calendar for arrivals and other planned events of all ongoing deep space missions? So that events like ...
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What limits miniaturization of space probes?

Another run of kerbal got me thinking about what, in reality, makes up the limit for small, but still useful space probes. The rationale should be obvious: The rocket equation does not hurt that ...
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Using a probe to take gravitational measurements of the interior of the sun

Could one use a space probe to orbit the sun close enough to take measurements of angular / spherical gravitational field variations similar to what Juno plans to do for Jupiter? Since the sun ...
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Are there any plans to send a probe to orbit a black hole?

Since a black hole only has as much gravity as it did before it collapsed, it's perfectly safe to orbit it. Do any countries have plans to send a probe to orbit a black hole? What is the timeframe?
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Venera mission image data format

I often work with the programmatic manipulation of images and 3d environments in my work at an engineering firm. Out of pure curiosity I was wondering about the Venera mission data format. I read that ...
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Next lander/rover mission

Beyond Mars and 67P, what is the next most viable mission for probe landing? How far are we from sending one to the Jupiter or Saturn system?
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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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Space probe design based on intended exploration trajectory? [closed]

Through this link : here, it is possible to get an idea of regions where space probes have been sent since the beginning of space exploration. But my question is, what are the bare bones essential ...
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With what precision can we land an object on the moon, today?

This is part of a short story posted on worldbuilding.se, but setting my story aside, it was recommended that the part about precision be asked here. With what precision can an object be put on the ...
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Would it make sense to design a standard stage for deep space missions?

There are standard launchers and standard upper stages used for many different missions within cis-lunar space. Deep space missions are so rare maybe it makes no sense to try and come up with ...
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Are any spacecraft heading remotely where Planet 9 is expected to be?

Planet 9, the hypothetical planet predicted Batygin and Brown, is expected to have an apoasis near the galactic center. Is there a spacecraft that is heading in that direction? Specifically, they ...
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Is there any plan to send balloon like probes to gas giants to explore interior of gas giants?

As we know, gas giants do not have a solid surface, but on Earth we can float a balloon in air. Are there any plans to send balloon-like probes to gas giants so that they can float in its atmosphere ...
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Smallest lunar probe that can be made using today's technology

Suppose we want to do a lunar sample return mission. We can then launch a small rocket from the ISS that carries a small probe to the Moon. It will collect a sample and then return to the ISS. ...
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Is there a comprehensive list of all space probes ever launched?

I'm working on a project and I was wondering if there is a comprehensive archive or a database available out there of all of the spacecrafts and human made probes that were ever launched into space (...
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Why aren't deep-space probes launched from space?

This (amateur) question has always been on my mind. We send probes to leave the solar system, but when we reach there, their battery is almost empty, so when finally after ~30 years we reach there, we ...
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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's the furthest a probe has travelled from Earth before returning?

Inspired by this question, I've been wondering how far a probe has been from Earth, conducted its mission, then subsequently returned to Earth. I'm aware of the Hayabusa and Stardust missions, but I'...
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What's our limit in sending probes to distant bodies?

Currently, we're able to aim probes at various bodies in the solar system pretty well. Do we have the technology to send a probe to Alpha Centauri? If we're aiming at a star, approximately how far ...
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How long will Cassini survive its dive into Saturn's atmosphere?

The Cassini spacecraft has been exploring Saturn's system since 2004 and is scheduled to be sent into Saturn's atmosphere at the end of its mission following a final encounter with Titan in 2017. ...
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What is the closest flyby to date?

Cassini is to fly within 50 km of Enceladus. What is the closest flyby a spacecraft has ever made? What object was targeted and when was it? Is 50 km a new record? (For the purposes of this question,...
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Do New Horizons Pluto flyby results justify an advanced orbiter mission to the Pluto-Charon system?

It's going to be another year before all of the data that New Horizons gathered is finally transmitted to Earth, but based on current science return, does what's been received so far warrant an ...
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Are any ISEE-3 like returns expected in the foreseeable future?

The crowdsourced effort to re-establish communication with ISEE-3 was a spectacular event enabled, amongst all, by serendipitous trajectory, that brought the probe near Earth after 35 years travel, ...
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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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How long can probes function, e.g. New Horizons? Can and should we build “century probes”?

36 years after launch we still communicate with Voyager and ISEE. And contact with the Voyagers could continue for another 10 years or so. I doubt that it was designed with this in mind (but who knows ...
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Are there plans for a space probe to land on the crater of Olympus Mons?

I am curious as to what does the crater of Olympus Mons contain? Does NASA have any mission to send a space probe to land on it? If not, what about other parts in Olympus Mons?
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Was there ever a non-sterilized probe sent to a celestial body?

A shootoff from my other question, has there ever been a deep space probe that was not sterilized to prevent micro-organism contamination of the celestial body? I'm thinking early space age history, ...
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Why have there been no new New Horizons images in the last few weeks?

As I write this, the latest image in the NASA's New Horizon's image gallery is this spectacular photo showing Pluto's atmosphere: The full web page for the image is here. That image was posted ...
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How close to a planet can a flyby manoeuvre realistically take place before air resistance becomes a problem?

How close could a probe fly past a planet before forces such as air resistance make it impossible for the probe to escape the pull of its gravity? Obviously there will be different answers for ...
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How are organisms allowed be engineered to terraform Mars when NASA and others go through such measures to sterlize their probes?

There seems to be talk (and even some action done by DARPA) about engineering organisms to terraform Mars, however, current space organizations like NASA clearly do not want to get anything that could ...
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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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Spot size of interplanetary communications [duplicate]

From what I know, to communicate with Earth, a space probe locates signals sent from Earth and then sends data (in that direction). For probes that are several light hours away (Voyagers, New Horizons)...
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Does Juno use MPPT?

MPPT aka Maximum Power Point Tracking is an active mechanism to collect maximum power a PV cell may deliver. This is typically achieved by varying the resistive load connected to a cell. Juno will ...
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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, ...