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2

Other answers have already mentioned the types of thrust that a space probe can use to increase/decrease velocity, or to adjust course. I'll mention one other source of velocity that allows space probes to travel at huge speeds of tens of thousands of miles per hour - that is the earth itself. The earth travels around the sun at around 67,000 mph. Anything ...


5

Chemical propulsion is only used extremely sparingly. Since there is no air resistance in space (or, only negligible resistance due to trace gases and solar winds), the probe continues to move. Absent any gravitational influence, the probe would continue in a straight line, forever. This is what the first three of Newtons laws tell us, especially the first. ...


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Like most Probes (all except the ones with electric engines) New Horizons is launched into a trajectory allowing the probe to get to its target nearly unthrusted. Nevertheless smaller corrections of the trajectory are needed. This is not to "re-thurst" the probe, but to assure the correct path of the probe and its attitude. (Important quotes from ...


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I'll genericize the question to "why haven't we done X in space?" Every space exploration agency has a rather limited budget, and the planetary exploration divisions within those space exploration agencies have even more limited budgets. NASA's budget, for example, is less than half a percent of the US federal budget, and NASA's planetary ...


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The surface of Mercury is extremely challenging for a thermal designer. A single day/night cycle is 176 Earth days, so except in polar areas permanently shadowed, a lander will experience long periods of extreme heat and cold. In the permanent shadows, it's cold and there's little light for pictures or solar power. An orbiter has it much easier, as it can ...


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First of all, landing on one of the gas giants is VERY difficult. They don't really have a surface, so what does landing even mean for such planets? That being said, we actually have sent a camera to both Jupiter and Saturn, although the spacecraft did not survive to tell the tale in both instances. For Jupiter, we sent first the Galileo Atmospheric Probe to ...


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