Tuesday, November 25, 2014   |   4,614 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
90% of galaxies may be hostile to life
Posted 11-25-2014 | 12 comments
Two astrophysicists have proposed that gamma ray bursts could halt the development of complex life forms....
 
Scientists set to grow food crops in space
Posted 11-24-2014 | 11 comments
Researchers are investigating the viability of growing enough food in space to sustain long missions....
 
Pink Cliffs could hold key to Mars mystery
Posted 11-23-2014 | 2 comments
Curiosity has located a ledge of rocks that could hold important clues about the origins of the planet....
 
3D printer installed on space station
Posted 11-19-2014 | 14 comments
The world's first zero-gravity 3D printer has now been set up inside one of the station's science labs....
 
Moon mission to be funded by Kickstarter
Posted 11-19-2014 | 12 comments
A British company is hoping to raise enough money through crowdfunding to land a robot on the moon....
 
Philae discovers organic molecules on comet
Posted 11-18-2014 | 209 comments
Rosetta's companion lander made the discovery after sampling and analyzing the comet's atmosphere....
 
Does Russia have a space weapon in orbit ?
Posted 11-18-2014 | 24 comments
Speculation is rife over the purpose of a secretive Russian spacecraft currently orbiting the planet....
 
Philae probe successfully lands on comet
Posted 11-12-2014 | 209 comments
Rosetta's companion spacecraft has made history today by touching down on the surface of a comet....
 
Rosetta prepares for Philae probe landing
Posted 11-11-2014 | 209 comments
ESA officials have reported that everything is on schedule for the probe's attempted landing tomorrow....
 

 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