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Report this Sep. 01 2012, 10:57 pm

The Vesta comet was visited by this on low-energy operating spacecraft until recently in the Dawn mission. Now it heads to the rogue Kuiper belt object Cerez in 2.5 years (2015). It was also able to deliver an sample provided by reentry back on Earth of its probe.


Amazing is that the shorter duration ment craft works on very little data sizes.


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Report this Sep. 05 2012, 5:27 pm

Awesome article.

A bullfrog with a light in its belly is nothing more than a glutton looking to shine otherwise.


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Report this Sep. 07 2012, 12:35 pm

That will be fascinating!  Once we learn more about the asteroid belt and beyond, we could organize manned missions there!

This article says they used an ion propulsion system, involving xenon atoms.  I had once suggested to my science professors in college that you might be able to use a nonexhausting ion system, using xenon atoms.  If you could maintain their charges, you could keep attracting them to push against the forward walls of the thrust chamber.  Then, this force would be turned off, briefly, so they could randomly disperse, so the force could once again be turned on and attract them to the forward walls.  In this way, your ship could gradually build momentum, in interplanetary or interstellar space, without exhausting your xenon fuel.

Var Miklama--Zakdorn, engineer. "A sound mind in a FULL body!" "Time, like latinum, is a limited quantity in the galaxy."

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