planetary probe


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planetary probe

A crewless spacecraft designed and equipped to study conditions on or in the vicinity of the planets, their satellites, and other members of the Solar System, as well as in the interplanetary medium itself, and to transmit the information it gathers back to Earth. Probes have now made successful visits to all the planets of the Solar System except Pluto.

Planetary and interplanetary probes may use solar panels to derive power for communications and internal operation. However, spacecraft that travel farther from the Sun than the orbit of Mars receive comparatively little solar energy and must rely on other power systems, such as the radioisotope thermoelectric generators carried by Pioneers 10 and 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2. Most probes carry a main rocket propulsion system for course corrections as well as smaller thrusters for attitude adjustments. An alternative source of power for forward motion is ion propulsion, pioneered by NASA's Deep Space 1 (1998–2001) and also to be used in the projected Dawn mission to the asteroids (1) Ceres and (4) Vesta (due for launch 2006).

References in periodicals archive ?
But the ASIM concept and the multidisciplinary needs of various space projects, such as the Mars landers and planetary probes, will probably be important drivers in microsystems development.
While most planetary probes have focused on imaging with cameras and radar and a couple have carried microphones, none of them successfully listened to the sound of another world.
As they toast the new era ushered in by Russia's Sputnik, they'll also salute the scientific bonanza produced by robotic planetary probes and space telescopes over the past four decades.
As is, shuttle prices are so high that NASA is having trouble getting planetary probes and communication satellites in orbit, objects with a tiny fraction of the weight necessary for serious manned space flight.
Mark Wolverton writes about science and history for various publications, and is the author of The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes. His latest book is A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J.
Washington, October 25 (ANI): Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are all set to develop improved components that will boost the efficiency of electric propulsion systems that are used to control the positions and lifetimes of satellites and planetary probes.
Generally considered the progenitor of space art, he produced vistas of such accuracy that they stand up well against images from today's planetary probes.
The research might have implications for the design of swirling parachutes-which have been designed by space agencies to slow the descent of future planetary probes exploring the atmospheres of planets such as Mars-and of micro-helicopters.
Rather and Jennings might as easily have begun their broadcasts, "Putting safety ahead of public relations, NASA took no chances with today's planned shuttle launch." In the aftermath of Challenger there have probably been five times more lines written about the fact that scheduled satellite deliveries and planetary probes will be delayed than on far more substantive issues, like why we are building another expensive shuttle which will operate with the same no-escape-possible booster system.
High-temperature devices could be used inside engines to monitor performance or for instrument packages carried by planetary probes into hostile environments.