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Space probe

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Space Probe to Saturn Space Probes – Exploring Space A space probe is an un-piloted, unmanned device sent to explore space and gather scientific information. Space probes have visited the Moon, asteroids, comets, and every planet in the solar system except Pluto.
What are Space Probes?

An Excellent English writer, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre, says about the Man's quest to know about the Space.

“It is conceivable that some great unexpected mass of matter should presently rush upon us out of space, whirl sun and planets aside like dead leaves before the breeze, and collide with and utterly destroy every spark of life upon this earth.

It is conceivable, too, that some pestilence may presently appear, some new disease, that will destroy not 10 or 15 or 20 per cent of the earth's inhabitants as pestilences have done in the past, but 100 per cent, and so end our race.

And finally there is the reasonable certainty that this sun of ours must some day radiate itself toward extinction. There surely man must end. That of all such nightmares is the most insistently convincing. And yet one doesn't believe it.

At least I do not. And I do not believe in these things because I have come to believe in certain other things – in the coherency and purpose in the world and in the greatness of human destiny. Worlds may freeze and suns may perish, but there stirs something within us now that can never die again”.

Astronomers know a lot about the planets of the solar system. They have detailed maps of planets and their moons. They even have photographs taken on the very surface of Venus and Mars.

All this information has been gathered by unmanned spacecraft called space probes, which are controlled from Earth. The information they gather is used to help us understand the weather and other changes which happen on planets other than the Earth. This information is important in helping to plan other space missions such as ones to Mars and to Saturn.

Space Probe Mission Space Probe Mission Communicating with something over 11.2 billion kilometers (7 billion miles) away is no mean feat, and requires a worldwide network of huge radio antennas.
What can a space probe do to carry out its mission?

Probes can explore space in many ways like observing the changes in temperature, radiation, and objects in space. A probe has got the ability to observe its nearby objects.

In addition, a space probe exposes material from the earth to the conditions of space so that scientists can observe the effects. A probe can perform experiments on its surroundings, such as releasing chemicals or digging into surface dirt.

Finally, a probe's motion enables controllers on the earth to determine conditions in space. Changes in course and speed can provide information about atmospheric density and gravity fields.

Communication between Earth and space probe Communication between Earth and space probe Communications with space probes is done via electromagnetic radiation, or "radio waves" or radio frequency (RF) energy.
How the communication happens between a space probe and the Earth?

Instruments carried by space probes include radiometers, magnetometers, and television cameras sensitive to infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light; there also may be special detectors for micro‐meteors, cosmic rays, gamma rays, and solar wind.

A probe may be directed to orbit a planet, to soft–land instrument packages on a planetary surface, or to fly by as close as Communication between Earth and space probe a few thousand miles from one or more planets. The only way to send signals to spacecraft across space is by radio, but over such distances radio signals become very weak.

So, enormous saucer shaped dishes and antennae have been built around the world to send commands to the space probes. The Deep Space Network (DSN) of each dish may be around 200ft across.

Deep Space Network Deep Space Network The Deep Space Network (DSN) is a world-wide network of large antennas and communication facilities that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions.
Controlling Space Probes

The controllers of the control room on Earth, send out commands by radio links to the appropriate DSN dish. A space transmitter then sends the message to the space probe, which picks it up by means of its dish aerial.

These dishes on the space probes are very large in order to receive signals from Earth clearly. The dish sends the signal to a computer on board the space probe, where it is decoded. The computer then instructs the appropriate part of the craft to take action.

For example, the computer may command the camera to start a sequence of photographs. The space probe sends the information or signals back to Earth. The data provided by a single space probe may require months or even years of analysis.

Fly-by, Orbiter, Lander and Rover Fly–by, Orbiter, Lander and Rover Five basic types of space probes have been sent to examine planets and other bodies in the solar system: Fly-by probes, orbiters, atmospheric probes, landers and rovers.
What are the types of Space probes?

Fly–by probes, orbiters, atmospheric probes, landers, and rovers are the five basic types of space probes sent to examine planets and other bodies in the solar system: A fly–by probe makes its observations as it passes a celestial body from a distance.

An orbiter is designed to place itself in a stable orbit around a particular planet or moon for an extended period of time. An orbiter closely circling a body with a substantial atmosphere is gradually slowed by atmospheric friction, which causes it to lose altitude and eventually crash.

An atmospheric probe is a package of instruments that descends into the atmosphere of a planet, taking readings on its way down. The probe continues to transmit data until it reaches the surface or is destroyed by heat or atmospheric pressure. A lander is designed to land safely on a planet or moon and analyze soil samples and surface conditions.

A rover is a robot vehicle with wheels or treads that roams across the surface. Carried to the surface by a lander, a rover has the advantage of not being confined to one spot.

Position of Voyager in the interstellar space Position of Voyager in the interstellar space The Voyager program is an American scientific program that launched two unmanned space missions, the probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 . They were designated officially to study just the planetary systems.
Which countries have launched the space probes?

The space agencies of the USSR (now Russia and Ukraine), the United States, the European Union, Japan, China and India have launched probes to several planets and moons of the solar system as well as to a number of asteroids and comets.

Which is the first space probe sent from the Earth?

The first Space probe Ever launched is Voyager 1, which is now the farthest man made object from the Earth. It was launched on September 5th, 1977 and at that time it was designed to live for only 5 years.

Today it celebrates more than 35 years and it is still sending signals to NASA. Scientists say that it would take almost 17 hours to receive any data sent by this farthest man made object.

Voyager continues to send data on the direction of gravitational fields around it and the speed of surrounding solar winds. As the Voyager approaches the interstellar space, it is registering the Solar wind speed as ZERO which stands as a proof that the Sun's Energy doesn't reach the interstellar space.

Clay Minerals formed from water Space missions sent till date Many Space probes were launched to study the space till date, but the first space probe was launched in the year 1974 named Helios. The Helios probes hold the esteemed title of being the fastest satellites in space. They reached a fantastic 253,000 kilometers (157,000 miles) per hour as they raced around the Sun measuring the solar wind and environment near to the Sun.
What are the solar Space probes missions sent till date?

Many Space probes were launched to study the space till date, but the first space probe was launched in the year 1974 named Helios. The Ulysses space probe was the first probe to observe the Sun from an orbit over the Sun's poles in the year 1994, this was launched in the year 1990.

There are other probes to Mars, Venus, Jupiter and beyond which include, Viking 1 and Viking 2, Sojourner, Mariner 2, Venera 4, Pioneer Venus 1 and 2, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, Voyager1, voyager2, Galileo. Apart from these space probes we also have space probes like Giotto to explore comets.

Curiosity on Mars Curiosity on Mars Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL).
What are the findings of Curiosity land rover on Mars?

Curiosity drilled into a rock nicknamed John Klein and recovered a sample of powder representing the environment at Gale crater billions of years ago.

These findings of rocky material on Mars reveal that the life existed once on Mars. The wet environment at Gale crater was the aqueous environment at Gale crater was much favorable to water which was been safe to drink.

It was estimated from these observations that roughly 3 billion years ago, water would have floating around. At this time on the earth the microbial life was established fully. Later on the odds of Martian life are greatly increased.

The Curiosity rover has got a lot of work to do in the future. The recent analysis did detect carbon dioxide, which could have been given off by carbon compounds during the rover's experiments. Because carbon compounds break down over billions of years, it is possible that the rover may never find high enough concentrations to make a definitive declaration of their presence.

Pioneer 10 Pioneer 10 Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft intended to fly by Jupiter, surviving the intense radiation that surrounds the giant planet and then on a trajectory that would take it out of the Solar System.
Which Space Probes have lost communication with the Earth?

Pioneer 10 was the space probe which was launched in the year 1972, to explore Planet Jupiter. The imaging of the Satellite was started at the end of the year 1973, from then on 500 images were transmitted to the Earth. On June 13, 1983, Pioneer 10 crossed the orbit of Neptune, becoming the first man–made object to leave the proximity of the major planets of our solar system.

The mission came to an official end on March 31, 1997, when it had reached a distance of 67AU(Astronomical Units) from the Sun, though the spacecraft was still able to transmit coherent data after this date. The last successful reception of telemetry was received from Pioneer 10 on April 27, 2002; subsequent signals were barely strong enough to detect, and provided no usable data.

The final, very weak signal from Pioneer 10 was received on January 23, 2003 when it was 12 billion kilometers (80 AU) from Earth. Further attempts to contact the spacecraft were unsuccessful.

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