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(Gizmodo)   After 43 years and nearly 26 billion combined miles, the Voyager probes are still making new discoveries   (gizmodo.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Sun, Solar System, Cosmic ray, shock waves, Voyager 1, new research, interstellar medium, NASA's Voyager spacecraft  
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1741 clicks; posted to STEM » on 04 Dec 2020 at 10:02 PM (6 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



23 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2020-12-04 7:09:37 PM  
Let me know when they find a mobile emitter and a 7of9.
 
2020-12-04 10:06:07 PM  
There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.
 
2020-12-04 10:12:15 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-12-04 10:19:41 PM  
That's some really amazing engineering.  Overdue for a few million oil changes, but still haulin' along.
 
2020-12-04 11:07:22 PM  

2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.


A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.
 
2020-12-04 11:43:32 PM  
"The concept of the Grand Tour began in 1964, when Gary Flandro of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) noted that an alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune that would occur in the late 1970s would enable a single spacecraft to visit all of the outer planets by using gravity assists. The particular alignment occurs once every 175 years. By 1966, JPL was promoting the project, noting it would allow a complete survey of the outer planets in less time and for less money than sending individual probes to each planet."

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-12-05 12:18:56 AM  

dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.


Propellant? You are thinking of using a nuclear device as reaction mass? Because the propellant is what gets shot out the back to propel the vehicle. That makes no sense whatsoever. Also calling it a battery makes zero sense. Just the sheer terminology of your post is impenetrable.

I think you are trying to say that a nuclear power device can not be used to propel the vehicle. FIrst of all, I did not say that it would have to be. Secondly, you are wrong. If you to go Wikipedia, you can see how nuclear power can be used with Xenon as the reaction mass to propel vehicles from an ion drive. There are several other types of electric drives and several other reaction mass alternatives that can be used.

No. Although that is true and not only doable, but IT HAS BEEN DONE for over a decade or two, my point was that nuclear power can be used beyond the limits where solar power might be useful. It can be used for warmth, onboard electricity, and all manner of functions. Beyond Neptune. It so happens that there are a lot of volatiles once you get beyond the asteroid belt, so reaction mass and even oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen specifically are not hard to come by at all.
 
2020-12-05 12:27:37 AM  
I guess someone might have thought that when I said it is going to take a long time to get out there, they thought I must be crazy because the probes went past Neptune before many of you were born. I remember when the Voyager craft were launched. I know the score.

No. I was talking about humans, not human artifacts.

I do not think human beings will get even to a moon of Jupiter in my lifetime, and probably not in yours. As it stands, humans have not even made it to the moon in 50 years. So when I say it will take a long time to get past Neptune and talk about nuclear power to do it, I am talking about keeping humans alive in that environment. Not impossible, but it will be a long time before anyone does it.

Does that make me an optimist, or a pessimist? We will know in the next decade how the winds are going to blow.
 
2020-12-05 12:36:16 AM  
By the way, it appears that ion drive available today (on a very large scale) could get a person from Earth to Jupiter in about 13 months, assuming that a good window exists.

That is not bad. We can probably continue to improve thrusters, but I doubt that duration can be halved anytime soon.

We should get smart, stop wasting opportunities, and have probes ready to grab every window that comes up.
 
2020-12-05 12:50:13 AM  

2fardownthread: dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.

Propellant? You are thinking of using a nuclear device as reaction mass? Because the propellant is what gets shot out the back to propel the vehicle. That makes no sense whatsoever. Also calling it a battery makes zero sense. Just the sheer terminology of your post is impenetrable.

I think you are trying to say that a nuclear power device can not be used to propel the vehicle. FIrst of all, I did not say that it would have to be. Secondly, you are wrong. If you to go Wikipedia, you can see how nuclear power can be used with Xenon as the reaction mass to propel vehicles from an ion drive. There are several other types of electric drives and several other reaction mass alternatives that can be used.

No. Although that is true and not only doable, but IT HAS BEEN DONE for over a decade or two, my point was that nuclear power can be used beyond the limits where solar power might be useful. It can be used for warmth, onboard electricity, and all manner of functions. Beyond Neptune. It so happens that there are a lot of volatiles once you get beyond the asteroid belt, so reaction mass and even oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen specifically are not hard to come by at all.


I agree with you. Perhaps my writing was too muddled. Nuclear is not meant for propulsion, although, as you say, it can be: an ejected particle is an ejected particle, and if enough are ejected, and in the same direction, it'll be enough to push things along (since there's almost no friction in space). I did mean that nuclear is meant mostly for powering whatever systems they have on board: the sensors, the cameras, the radio to beam back to earth with the data.
 
2020-12-05 12:54:09 AM  

jaytkay: "The concept of the Grand Tour began in 1964, when Gary Flandro of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) noted that an alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune that would occur in the late 1970s would enable a single spacecraft to visit all of the outer planets by using gravity assists. The particular alignment occurs once every 175 years. By 1966, JPL was promoting the project, noting it would allow a complete survey of the outer planets in less time and for less money than sending individual probes to each planet."

[Fark user image 578x480]


Worth every single penny spent, in my not so humble, okay, kinda humble opinion.
And just think what we can do now, with newer tech and better understanding !
Bah- they well find a way to subsidise buggy whips or oil drilling instead.
That last part is called dark humour- I hope I am so wrong .
NSF budget needs to be equal to the DoD .
 
2020-12-05 1:37:58 AM  

dericwater: 2fardownthread: dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.

Propellant? You are thinking of using a nuclear device as reaction mass? Because the propellant is what gets shot out the back to propel the vehicle. That makes no sense whatsoever. Also calling it a battery makes zero sense. Just the sheer terminology of your post is impenetrable.

I think you are trying to say that a nuclear power device can not be used to propel the vehicle. FIrst of all, I did not say that it would have to be. Secondly, you are wrong. If you to go Wikipedia, you can see how nuclear power can be used with Xenon as the reaction mass to propel vehicles from an ion drive. There are several other types of electric drives and several other reaction mass alternatives that can be used.

No. Although that is true and not only doable, but IT HAS BEEN DONE for over a decade or two, my point was that nuclear power can be used beyond the limits where solar power might be useful. It can be used for warmth, onboard electricity, and all manner of functions. Beyond Neptune. It so happens that there are a lot of volatiles once you get beyond the asteroid belt, so reaction mass and even oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen specifically are not hard to come by at all.

I agree with you. Perhaps my writing was too muddled. Nuclear is not meant for propulsion, although, as you say, it can be: an ejected particle is an ejected particle, and if enough are ejected, and in the same direction, it'll be enough to push things along (since there's almost no friction in space). I did mean that nuclear is meant mostly for powering whatever systems they have on board: the sensors, the cameras, the radio to beam back to earth with the data.


Right. Yes. We agree.
You know, if you want to learn more about ion drive and various electric drives, Wikipedia has several articles on different modes that exist and which are being developed and theorized. It is amazing. Up to now, we have used a lot of Xenon. We are going to have to use something better than that.

As you probably know, the particle ejected out the back of the "rocket" has mass AND velocity, so despite the small mass, the acceleration of the particles (ions) using electricity from the nuclear reactor gives them sufficient velocity to accelerate the craft. So nuclear is very useful.

And then of course, the electricity from nuclear reactors can be used for whatever else.

Things might get really weird in the next couple of decades, with an explosion of exploration and bases. We really have tremendous capabilities already, simply combining solar and nuclear power and working with various materials that are present throughout the solar system. I am hopeful.
 
2020-12-05 2:10:47 AM  
Sure, but you can really only discover the edge of the solar system so many times.
 
2020-12-05 2:25:15 AM  

2fardownthread: dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.

Propellant? You are thinking of using a nuclear device as reaction mass? Because the propellant is what gets shot out the back to propel the vehicle. That makes no sense whatsoever. Also calling it a battery makes zero sense. Just the sheer terminology of your post is impenetrable.

I think you are trying to say that a nuclear power device can not be used to propel the vehicle. FIrst of all, I did not say that it would have to be. Secondly, you are wrong. If you to go Wikipedia, you can see how nuclear power can be used with Xenon as the reaction mass to propel vehicles from an ion drive. There are several other types of electric drives and several other reaction mass alternatives that can be used.

No. Although that is true and not only doable, but IT HAS BEEN DONE for over a decade or two, my point was that nuclear power can be used beyond the limits where solar power might be useful. It can be used for warmth, onboard electricity, and all manner of functions. Beyond Neptune. It so happens that there are a lot of volatiles once you get beyond the asteroid belt, so reaction mass and even oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen specifically are not hard to come by at all.


I wonder if future satellites or spacecraft could use the relativistic electrons themselves for propulsion using electronic means?
 
2020-12-05 5:57:53 AM  

Professor Science: That's some really amazing engineering.  Overdue for a few million oil changes, but still haulin' along.


The little space probes that could!
 
2020-12-05 7:41:53 AM  
Our next probes destined to leave the Solar System should be powered by Amercium RTGs instead of Plutonium based ones.  Not only is Americium a lot cheaper, but it's got something like 4 or 5 times the half life of Plutonium, so instead of powering something like the Voyagers for something like 45 to 50 years, you could power them for 200 years.  Think of the data we'd get if we did that.
 
2020-12-05 7:57:10 AM  

dericwater: 2fardownthread: dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.

Propellant? You are thinking of using a nuclear device as reaction mass? Because the propellant is what gets shot out the back to propel the vehicle. That makes no sense whatsoever. Also calling it a battery makes zero sense. Just the sheer terminology of your post is impenetrable.

I think you are trying to say that a nuclear power device can not be used to propel the vehicle. FIrst of all, I did not say that it would have to be. Secondly, you are wrong. If you to go Wikipedia, you can see how nuclear power can be used with Xenon as the reaction mass to propel vehicles from an ion drive. There are several other types of electric drives and several other reaction mass alternatives that can be used.

No. Although that is true and not only doable, but IT HAS BEEN DONE for over a decade or two, my point was that nuclear power can be used beyond the limits where solar power might be useful. It can be used for warmth, onboard electricity, and all manner of functions. Beyond Neptune. It so happens that there are a lot of volatiles once you get beyond the asteroid belt, so reaction mass and even oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen specifically are not hard to come by at all.

I agree with you. Perhaps my writing was too muddled. Nuclear is not meant for propulsion, although, as you say, it can be: an ejected particle is an ejected particle, and if enough are ejected, and in the same direction, it'll be enough to push things along (since there's almost no friction in space). I did mean that nuclear is meant mostly for powering whatever systems they have on board: the sensors, the cameras, the radio to beam back to earth with the data.


You shouldn't worry about your writing. Reading comprehension is a superpower on Fark.
 
2020-12-05 8:02:54 AM  

2fardownthread: I guess someone might have thought that when I said it is going to take a long time to get out there, they thought I must be crazy because the probes went past Neptune before many of you were born. I remember when the Voyager craft were launched. I know the score.

No. I was talking about humans, not human artifacts.

I do not think human beings will get even to a moon of Jupiter in my lifetime, and probably not in yours. As it stands, humans have not even made it to the moon in 50 years. So when I say it will take a long time to get past Neptune and talk about nuclear power to do it, I am talking about keeping humans alive in that environment. Not impossible, but it will be a long time before anyone does it.

Does that make me an optimist, or a pessimist? We will know in the next decade how the winds are going to blow.


Do you have a blunt bow, a centerboard, and a single gaff-rigged sail?  Then you're an Optimist.
 
2020-12-05 8:30:14 AM  

2fardownthread: dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.

Propellant? You are thinking of using a nuclear device as reaction mass? Because the propellant is what gets shot out the back to propel the vehicle. That makes no sense whatsoever. Also calling it a battery makes zero sense. Just the sheer terminology of your post is impenetrable.

I think you are trying to say that a nuclear power device can not be used to propel the vehicle. FIrst of all, I did not say that it would have to be. Secondly, you are wrong. If you to go Wikipedia, you can see how nuclear power can be used with Xenon as the reaction mass to propel vehicles from an ion drive. There are several other types of electric drives and several other reaction mass alternatives that can be used.

No. Although that is true and not only doable, but IT HAS BEEN DONE for over a decade or two, my point was that nuclear power can be used beyond the limits where solar power might be useful. It can be used for warmth, onboard electricity, and all manner of functions. Beyond Neptune. It so happens that there are a lot of volatiles once you get beyond the asteroid belt, so reaction mass and even oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen specifically are not hard to come by at all.


Using nuclear devices as reaction mass would get us anywhere we wanted in the Solar System quickly, and allow unmanned fast flyby probes of the nearest stars within a single human lifetime.
 
2020-12-05 8:56:58 AM  
I discovered a cache of belly button lint while on the couch at 52. That should count for something
 
2020-12-05 11:09:36 AM  

dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.


Luckily they'll keep trucking even if the propellant runs out.
 
2020-12-05 2:18:45 PM  

DerAppie: dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.

Luckily they'll keep trucking even if the propellant runs out.


But they may not be able to alter their trajectories.
 
2020-12-05 8:56:04 PM  

dericwater: DerAppie: dericwater: 2fardownthread: There is a lot out there.

It is going to take so long to get out there, but with nuclear power, it appears that there are resources sufficient to live even beyond Neptune.

A small nuclear power device is great as a battery for onboard devices. But it doesn't work as a propellant to move the vehicle.

Luckily they'll keep trucking even if the propellant runs out.

But they may not be able to alter their trajectories.


Or keep their antennas aimed at Earth.
 
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