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66 votes
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What is the farthest artificial satellite in orbit in our solar system?

The term for orbits in our solar system around the Sun is Heliocentric. Closed Heliocentric Orbit The solar observation probe Ulysses is the furthest artificial satellite around the sun. It's in a ...
Jack's user avatar
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52 votes

Can a moon orbit its planet faster than its planet rotates?

What immediately springs to mind is the Martian moon Phobos, orbiting the planet in 7 hours 39 minutes. That's a fair bit quicker than the 24 hour 37 minute sidereal period of Mars. From the surface ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
50 votes
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Why are probes that tend to explore outer system always launched to go outwards instead of straight upwards or downwards?

Starting out from Earth, you have the free 30 km/s from Earth's movement around the Sun, which is in the plane of the ecliptic. To get far out of the plane you either have to boost a similar amount "...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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39 votes

Why are probes that tend to explore outer system always launched to go outwards instead of straight upwards or downwards?

We've had 5 flyby missions to the outer solar system so far. All of them had primary missions at one or more planets. That set the main constraints for their trajectories. Anything after the last ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
29 votes

Why are probes that tend to explore outer system always launched to go outwards instead of straight upwards or downwards?

It is important to realize that space probes aren't really useful for finding objects in deep space. Space is so empty that a probe sent in a random "exploratory" direction would have a negligible ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
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28 votes

How does a planet's gravity push away smaller bodies that would otherwise intersect its orbit?

I feel the need to correct some issues that were brought up in the other answers. Yes, gravity is an attraction-only force. But due to its relative weakness, objects in space can attain large ...
AtmosphericPrisonEscape's user avatar
28 votes
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What processes create an object with an interstellar velocity?

The answer to 'how can it come blazing in with enough energy to exit again' is that if it started outside the solar system it would have been unusual for it to NOT leave again, since it would have ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
24 votes
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What is the most fuel efficient way out of the Solar System?

The most fuel efficient way to leave the solar system at present, is to launch into a trajectory that (like that used for Gallileo) may well involve one or several gravity assists from Earth or Venus, ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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22 votes

Can a launch of a rocket or ship from Earth go so badly that it damages the Solar System?

No. Look at the numbers: ...
Antzi's user avatar
  • 12.7k
22 votes
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What does "side view" of solar system look like?

Your plot looks correct. The behavior you are experiencing stems from the different longitude of the ascending node of the different planets (the angle between a principal direction and the point ...
Escualo's user avatar
  • 534
21 votes
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By when can we pass by Voyager 1?

Voyager 1 is currently travelling at 17 km/s, or about 3.5 AU per year. Anything that would overtake it would have to be moving faster than this away from the Sun. There have been proposals to fly ...
Andrew is gone's user avatar
20 votes
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What target is the most difficult to reach in the solar system?

A couple of decades is long enough to reach more or less anywhere in the solar system by launching onto a Venus transfer and then using two or three Venus and Earth gravity assists to get to Jupiter ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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20 votes

Why didn't NASA launch communications relay satellites outside the asteroid belt to communicate easily with interstellar satellite?

There is no relay in place because we can communicate with probes at long distances already, and a relay at the orbit of Jupiter or Saturn wouldn't make much difference due to the distance involved. ...
GdD's user avatar
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18 votes
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How do we define the aphelion of Earth?

The aphelion is usually considered to be the point of greatest actual separation, so this would include the (very minor!) gravitational effects of other solar system bodies. It's not the slight ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
16 votes
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Can a launch of a rocket or ship from Earth go so badly that it damages the Solar System?

First, some perspective. The impact of a single fragment of the Shoemaker-Levy comet on Jupiter released an estimated energy equivalent of six million megatons of TNT (approximately 600 times the ...
John Bode's user avatar
  • 2,300
16 votes

How does a planet's gravity push away smaller bodies that would otherwise intersect its orbit?

There are two ways in which a massive orbiting body, such as a planet, can clear a smaller object from the vicinity of its orbit. One, obviously, is by colliding with it. The other, more common way ...
Ilmari Karonen's user avatar
14 votes
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How likely is it that the Voyager spacecrafts haven't yet been damaged by micrometeoroids?

This is a great question, I'm no planetary scientist but I'll give a partial answer to get things started. Interplanetary dust is ubiquitous in the solar system and interplanetary spacecraft including ...
uhoh's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why do some scientists want a moon base for further space travel? What are the advantages of a moon base if compared with an earth base?

The reason many scientists want to create a Moon base isn't because of distances in space, it's because of gravity wells. The amount of energy to escape the gravity well of a body in space depends on ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.2k
12 votes

Can a moon orbit its planet faster than its planet rotates?

Are there any known examples of this situation? Yes! In addition to Phobos mentioned in this answer and from Astronomy SE: How did “oddball” Valetudo, Jupiter's new prograde moon, end up in a wider ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
12 votes

What processes create an object with an interstellar velocity?

This is a very generic answer: A gravitationally bound system has a tendency to become more compact. As this happens, the gravitational potential energy becomes more negative. The energy that is lost ...
Roger Wood's user avatar
  • 3,894
12 votes

When will we land on other planets in our solar system?

Landing on any other planet in our Solar System is practically impossible. Mercury is the only one that is even remotely possible, and then only at the day/night terminator, it gets too hot too fast ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
11 votes
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Is Voyager 2 capable of proving the existence of Oort cloud?

If you placed Voyager 1 in the Oort cloud right now, it'd be difficult to contact it (but maybe not impossible). We can barely communicate with the Voyagers now at ~140 AU using a 70 m DSN antenna. ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
11 votes

What is the most fuel efficient way out of the Solar System?

If you want to avoid gravity assists, the most fuel-efficient way out of the Solar System is to launch due East from from a launch site in the Ecuadorean Andes, sometime before local midnight on a ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 15.3k
11 votes
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Where will we get nitrogen in space?

Nitrogen in space can come from several sources. Once we reach the stage of actually extracting resources from other planets and moons as the question seems to imply, we really should not have a ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 8,525
11 votes

What target is the most difficult to reach in the solar system?

Among objects hanging around Earth's orbit, a surprising candidate is $\text{2010TK}_7$ (Wikipedia), famous for being the first known Earth trojan. One might expect that a trojan asteroid would be ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 8,525
11 votes

By when can we pass by Voyager 1?

Voyager 1 is now 154.95 AU away from Earth. The distance increases by 3.6 AU by each year now. For simplification, I assume constant speed for the whole distance. If we want to start another space ...
Uwe's user avatar
  • 49.2k
10 votes

Can a launch of a rocket or ship from Earth go so badly that it damages the Solar System?

Not in terms of physical damage, no. Rockets and spaceships and all the energy they contain is just so very, very, very, very small compared to everything. There is one possibility for large scale ...
Innovine's user avatar
  • 4,625
10 votes

Why is there no difference between a transfer orbit delta-V and a capture orbit delta-V for Earth?

To begin with, you are correct that the perspective of the map is from the Earth's point of view. I also believe that a different map would be needed for people interested in traveling from Mars to ...
phil1008's user avatar
  • 6,186
9 votes

Is Voyager 2 capable of proving the existence of Oort cloud?

I actually see two questions here: "Is Voyager 2 capable of proving the existence of Oort cloud?" and "Are the Voyager probes still considered within The Solar System?" (Not 100% sure on these, this ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 12.5k
8 votes

Is Voyager 2 capable of proving the existence of Oort cloud?

Assuming the voyager probes had enough power in their RTGs, had working instruments and could transmit data back to Earth it's still very unlikely they would be able to prove the existence of the Oort ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 20.3k

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