Sterilize imperfection.

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Abdul Alhazred
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Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:17 am

:coolspecs:

Voyager 1 Just Fired Up its Backup Thrusters for the 1st Time in 37 Years
Space.com
NASA's far-flung Voyager 1 spacecraft has taken its backup thrusters out of mothballs.

Voyager 1 hadn't used its four "trajectory correction maneuver" (TCM) thrusters since November 1980, during the spacecraft's last planetary flyby — an epic encounter with Saturn. But mission team members fired them up again Tuesday (Nov. 28), to see whether the TCM thrusters were still ready for primetime.

The little engines passed the test with flying colors, NASA officials said.

...
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Witness » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:55 am

I'm also impressed that commands can still be received over that distance. :shock:

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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by gnome » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:14 am

Primetime WHAT? Are they expecting to do anything with the thing?

Still interesting to know it can.
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:14 am

gnome wrote:Primetime WHAT? Are they expecting to do anything with the thing?

Still interesting to know it can.
Knowing you can might be useful later (assuming there is ever a real interstellar probe).
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Anaxagoras » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:46 am

Maybe if they discovered something on the way, they could alter the trajectory just enough to get close to it maybe? Other than that, no particular reason other than curiosity. Might tell you something about how well the design holds up over years of deep space travel. It's at least information that's nice to know.

If there ever is a real interstellar probe, it would probably need to work for centuries or at least many decades before arriving at even the nearest of our stellar neighbors.
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by sparks » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:50 pm

Centuries.
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:52 pm

But once the Proxima probe gets there, can we get pictures back?

Or tell it to aim the cameras a certain way, so we can see whatever it is eight years later? :coolspecs:
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Witness » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:15 am

sparks wrote:Centuries.
Nope.

Fastest spacecraft speed lifting from earth is ~ 60.000 km/h (https://www.livescience.com/32655-whats ... -ever.html). To get out of the solar system it would have to also climb the Sun's potential well, which would slow it down, but let's neglect that.

60.000 km/h = 60.000/3600 km/s ≈ 17 km/s. Add optimistically the Earth's orbital velocity (30 km/s) and some slingshot effects harnessed in the solar system (20 km/s ?), you'd still stay under 100 km/s.

Speed of light, 300.000 km/s, or 3000 times faster.

So the travel time would be 3000 times longer than for light. The nearest star (apart from the Sun :P ) is at roughly 4 light years, the spacecraft would need at least 3000·4 ≈ 10.000 years just to get somewhere.

That's 100 centuries or an ice-age away. :mrgreen:

Less optimism, another, more distant but also more interesting star, you're in a 20.000 – 40.000 years range. Hopeless (with current technology).


The Universe is big and light is slow. :|

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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:54 am

Improvements in propulsion (no not warp drives) are not inconceivable.
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Witness » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:25 am

↑ If you want to go fast you need lots of energy, even with super technology.

Old kinetic energy formula (non-relativistic): E = ½mv2.

Want to get to half the speed of light? That's E = ½m(c/2)2 = ½mc2/4 = mc2/8.

As you perhaps also want to slow down instead of just flitting through the alien solar system, double that: E = mc2/4.

Which means you have to perfectly convert ¼ of your spacecraft's rest mass (energy content mc2, as per Albert) to energy. Antimatter… :crazy:


And you'd still need roughly a decade to reach the neighbor's yard.

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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Mentat » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:00 am

The most feasible strategy for probes I've heard thus far is to send a large swarm of tiny bots with solar sails and of various masses, and blast lasers at them to push them along. The larger and more powerful the probe, the farther they fall behind, and they thus act like a sequence of comm relays to amplify signals sent back home. Not much need to come to a complete stop; the resale value on those things is junk anyways. Run by the same assholes who buy used textbooks, so you know you're only going to get a few bucks back if you return them.
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:12 am

Witness wrote: As you perhaps also want to slow down instead of just flitting through the alien solar system
Launch sub-probes in the other direction with the same gee-whiz propulsion system or something.

Too early for engineering details dammit! :evil:

But the assumption is robots only because people cannot take the acceleration.
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Re: Sterilize imperfection.

Post by sparks » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:47 pm

Sure they can: Just submerge them in dry-cleaning fluid.
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