Interplanetary probe

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Interplanetary probe

Postby Stezyp » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:44 pm UTC

Is a A robotic nuclear (plutonium) powered, solar-sail/ion drive gravity-well boosted interplanetary probe within our technological capabilities? Of course, it would be a passby craft, like New Horizons.

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Re: Interplanetary probe

Postby FancyHat » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:07 am UTC

Yes. Deep Space 1, for example, used an ion drive. Gravitational assists are nothing new (Voyagers), and neither is the use of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs).
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Re: Interplanetary probe

Postby Minerva » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:03 pm UTC

Interplanetary probe?
You mean like the Voyagers, the Pioneers, Viking, the Venera program, Mars Science Laboratory, New Horizons, Galileo, Cassini/Huygens, MESSENGER, the Mars Exploration Rovers, and all the rest of them?

Yes. It seems like a pretty obvious yes.

Did you mean to say something like interstellar probe?
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Re: Interplanetary probe

Postby Keyman » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:02 pm UTC

Solar Sail...

The Planetary Society is preparing it's prototype/concept-test for launch in May.

LightSail is a citizen-funded project by The Planetary Society, the world's largest non-profit space advocacy group. We’re sending two small spacecraft into Earth orbit carrying large, reflective sails measuring 32 square meters (344 square feet). Our first mission is a May 2015 test flight that will pave the way for a second, full-fledged solar sailing demonstration in 2016.

Much more detail at the link. And as a charter member of the Planetary Society I would be remiss not to encourage you to make your own tax-decutible donation in support (as long as it doesn't violate the rules here. :wink: )
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