Thursday, May 5, 2016   |   4,335 users online
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos  ·  Chat
Find: in

Can we explore space for $1 million ?


Posted on Tuesday, 9 July, 2013 | Comment icon 8 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf


Image credit: Ben Longmier

 
A tiny type of satellite and a new propulsion system could make cheap space exploration a reality.

CubeSats are small, cheap spacecraft that weigh only 5kg and that have so far remained restricted to orbit around the Earth. But through the development of a new miniature propulsion system known as the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT), these tiny ships could soon be capable of flying missions to Jupiter and beyond for budgets not exceeding $1M.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help raise enough funds to launch a test flight. Essentially a plasma engine, the CAT thruster is similar to NASA's Ion engine but on a much smaller scale. Using only 2.5kg of fuel, it should be possible to propel a CubeSat spacecraft to Europa or other high-interest targets within our solar system on a budget that is up to 1000 times less than that needed to send conventional interplanetary spacecraft.

"Researchers plan to launch a tiny spacecraft to Earth orbit and beyond within the next 18 months, in a key test of new propulsion technology that could help cut the cost of planetary exploration by a factor of 1,000."

  View: Full article |  Source: Space.com

  Discuss: View comments (8)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Dark_Grey on 8 July, 2013, 17:02
Awesome - I want to see NASA's ion propulsion engine make it's debute appearance
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 July, 2013, 17:50
You are a bit late for that. 49 years too late to be precise. , the NASA mission which was launched in September 2007, explored the asteroid Vesta between July 2011 and September 2012 and is currently on it's way to the dwarf planet Ceres uses a ion propulsion. It is NASA's first exploration mission to use ion propulsion. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) had previously launched space probes which used ion propulsion. JAXA's was launched to the asteroid 25143 Itokawa in May 2003, returning samples to the Earth in June 2010. E... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Dark_Grey on 8 July, 2013, 19:18
Holy crap I had no idea it was being used from so far back! I was refering more to their recent claim of having an ion engine running problem-free for over 5 years in one of their labs. I never thought to look up if they had used that technology previously...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 July, 2013, 19:36
You can't have read my reply to you in that thread then ( ). I must admit when I did a bit of research I was shocked at how old the idea was (1911) and when experiments started on it (1916-1917).
Comment icon #5 Posted by Dark_Grey on 8 July, 2013, 19:40
No, I didn't see that reply... It is quite shocking that the concept was around from the turn of the 19th century. Thanks for all the info - I will have to look into this further
Comment icon #6 Posted by shrooma on 9 July, 2013, 8:31
$1m to get to Europa?? it'd cost more than that in a taxi!! i hope they manage to pull it off.....
Comment icon #7 Posted by WoIverine on 9 July, 2013, 14:29
Agreed, that sounds really cool
Comment icon #8 Posted by highdesert50 on 9 July, 2013, 17:24
Going small could really encourage nano engineering and the potential to eventually explore on a grander scale perhaps using baseball sized craft that might be more easily accelerated to near light speeds.


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


Other news in this category
Three new Earth-sized planets discovered
Posted 5-3-2016 | 11 comments
Astronomers have identified three new terrestrial worlds around a relatively close 'ultracool' star....
 
NASA reveals telescope's giant golden mirror
Posted 4-30-2016 | 12 comments
The impressive gold-coated mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope has been revealed in all its glory....
 
'Space umbrella' could stop global warming
Posted 4-28-2016 | 24 comments
Scientists have been exploring ambitious new ways to effectively cool, rather than to warm up the planet....
 
SpaceX reveals plans for 2018 mission to Mars
Posted 4-27-2016 | 13 comments
Elon Musk's private space firm is aiming to land a spacecraft on the Red Planet within just two years....
 
Sharper images of Beagle 2 on Mars revealed
Posted 4-26-2016 | 16 comments
Researchers have succeeded in enhancing the images taken of the ill-fated probe's final resting place....
 
Has Hawking radiation been proven correct ?
Posted 4-25-2016 | 10 comments
Stephen Hawking's theory of energy being emitted by a black hole may finally earn him a Nobel Prize....
 
Peake earns world record for space marathon
Posted 4-25-2016 | 12 comments
British astronaut Tim Peake has succeeded in running the London marathon while aboard the space station....
 
Tim Peake prepares to run marathon in space
Posted 4-21-2016 | 12 comments
The British astronaut will be running the London marathon while aboard the International Space Station....
 
Possible Earth 2.0 found 16 light years away
Posted 4-20-2016 | 23 comments
Astronomers have discovered what they believe is a potentially Earth-like world in a nearby solar system....
 

 View: More news in this category
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.6 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2015
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ