Monday, October 20, 2014   |   4,072 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
Twin of Uranus found in distant solar system
Posted 10-19-2014 | 11 comments
Astronomers have identified the first ever ice giant planet beyond our own solar system....
 
Dark matter may be streaming from the sun
Posted 10-18-2014 | 4 comments
British scientists believe that they may have finally found the first direct evidence of dark matter....
 
'Pyramid' photographed on comet's surface
Posted 10-17-2014 | 19 comments
The Rosetta probe has captured images of a pyramid-shaped rock that has been nicknamed 'Cheops'....
 
'Death Star' moon hides mystery interior
Posted 10-17-2014 | 8 comments
There is now believed to be something mysterious lurking below the surface of Saturn's moon Mimas....
 
X-37B space plane set to return this week
Posted 10-15-2014 | 7 comments
The secretive aircraft will be landing in California after being on a mission that lasted two years....
 
Is the interior of the moon still warm ?
Posted 10-13-2014 | 19 comments
Evidence of relatively recent lunar volcanism could indicate that the interior of the moon is still warm....
 
Construction begins on $1.4 billion telescope
Posted 10-12-2014 | 12 comments
The massive Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will provide astronomers with unparalleled views of the cosmos....
 
New 'moon' discovered orbiting the Earth
Posted 10-6-2014 | 53 comments
Astronomers have identified an asteroid with an orbit so stable that it is almost like a second moon....
 
US to keep nukes to use against asteroids
Posted 10-6-2014 | 23 comments
The United States is keeping some of its nuclear warheads in case of an apocalyptic asteroid threat....
 

 View: More news in this category
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.6 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2014
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ