Posts tagged probe
Posts tagged probe
On Dec. 4, 1973, NASA’s Pioneer 10 spacecraft sent back images of Jupiter of ever-increasing size. The most dramatic moment was after closest approach and after the spacecraft was hidden behind Jupiter. Here, images gradually build up into a very distorted crescent-shaped Jupiter. “Sunrise on Jupiter,” a team member said. The giant planet crescent gradually decreased in size as the spacecraft sped away out of the Jovian system.
Launched on Mar. 2, 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt, and the first spacecraft to make direct observations and obtain close-up images of Jupiter. Pioneer 10 passed within 81,000 miles of the cloudtops during its closest encounter with Jupiter. This historic event marked humans’ first approach to Jupiter and opened the way for exploration of the outer solar system - for Voyager to tour the outer planets, for Ulysses to break out of the ecliptic, for Galileo to investigate Jupiter and its satellites, and for Cassini to go to Saturn and probe Titan. During its Jupiter encounter, Pioneer 10 imaged the planet and its moons, and took measurements of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, radiation belts, magnetic field, atmosphere, and interior. These measurements of the intense radiation environment near Jupiter were crucial in designing the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere.
On Oct. 9, Juno flew by Earth using the home planet’s gravity to get a boost needed to reach Jupiter. The JunoCam caught this image of Earth, and other instruments were tested to ensure they work as designed during a close planetary encounter.
The Juno spacecraft was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 5, 2011. Juno’s rocket, the Atlas 551, was only capable of giving Juno enough energy or speed to reach the asteroid belt, at which point the Sun’s gravity pulled Juno back toward the inner solar system. The Earth flyby gravity assist increases the spacecraft’s speed to put it on course for arrival at Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
The Titan booster is a two-stage liquid-fueled rocket, with two additional large, solid-propellant rockets attached. It is a member of the Titan family that was used in NASA’s Gemini program. The Centaur is a liquid oxygen- liquid hydrogen, high- energy upper stage used on Surveyor flights to the Moon and on Mariner flights to Mars. At liftoff, the solid rockets provide 9.61 million newtons (2.16 million pounds) of thrust. When the solids burn out, the first stage of the Titan booster ignites, and followed by the second-stage ignition as the first stage shuts down. The Centaur ignites on second stage shutdown to inject the spacecraft into orbit. Then after a 30-minute coast around the Earth into position for re-start, the Centaur re-ignites to propel Viking on its Mars trajectory. Once this maneuver is completed the spacecraft separates from the Centaur, which subsequently is deflected away from the flight path to prevent its impact on the surface of Mars. Shortly after separating from the Centaur, the orbiter portion of the combined orbiter-lander spacecraft orients and stabilizes the spacecraft by using the Sun and a very bright star in the southern sky, Canopus, for celestial reference.
The Ranger fleet of spacecraft launched in the mid-sixties provided for the first time live television transmissions of the Moon from lunar orbit. These transmissions resolved surface features as small as 10 inches across and provided over 17,000 images of the lunar surface. These detailed photographs allowed scientists and engineers to study the Moon in greater detail than ever before thus allowing for the design of a spacecraft that would one day land men of Earth on its surface.
NASA’s Pioneer 11 image of Saturn and its moon Titan at the upper left. The irregularities in ring silhouette and shadow are due to technical anomalies in the preliminary data later corrected. Looking at the rings from left to right, the ring area begins with the outer A ring; the Encke Division; the inner A Ring; Cassini Division; the B Ring; the C Ring; and the innermost area where the D Ring would be. The image was made by Pioneer Saturn on Wednesday, August 26, 1979, and received on Earth at 3:19 pm PDT. Pioneer was, at that time, 2,846,000 kilometers (1,768,422 miles) from Saturn. The image was produced by computer at the University of Arizona and managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center.
The Earth as seen from Saturn - taken by the Cassini probe 13/07/19
A panoramic view of Pathfinder’s Ares Vallis landing site reveals traces of a warmer, wetter past, showing a floodplain covered with a variety of rock types, boulders, rounded and semi-rounded cobbles and pebbles. These rocks and pebbles are thought to have been swept down and deposited by floods which occurred early in Mars’ evolution in the Ares and Tiu regions near the Pathfinder landing site. The image, which is a 75-frame, color-enhanced mosaic taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder, looks to the southwest toward the Rock Garden, a cluster of large, angular rocks tilted in a downstream direction from the floods. The Pathfinder rover, Sojourner, is shown snuggled against a rock nicknamed Moe. The south peak of two hills, known as Twin Peaks, can be seen on the horizon, about 1 kilometer (6/10ths of a mile) from the lander. The rocky surface is comprised of materials washed down from the highlands and deposited in this ancient outflow channel by a catastrophic flood.
This is an artist’s conception of the sequence of events that will take place just prior to landing a life-detection laboratory on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1976. Above right, the Viking spacecraft, composed of an orbiter and a lander, has been in orbit around the Red Planet since June 19, 1976, taking pictures of the planned landing site to ascertain its safety before releasing the lander (top, left) for its threeto five-hour descent. Protected by aeroshells, the heat-sterilized lander hurtles into the thin Martian atmosphere at a speed of about 10,000 mph, to be slowed first by aerodynamic drag until the shell is discarded, then by parachute (center) and finally by retrorockets to assure a gentle landing. Instruments will study the structure and composition of the Martian atmosphere as the lander drifts down. Viking 2 is scheduled to arrive at Mars on Aug. 7 and touch down on the surface on Sept. 4.
The Pioneer 11 spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral forty years ago, on April 5, 1973. Pioneer 11’s path through Saturn’s outer rings took it within 21,000 km of the planet, where it discovered two new moons (almost smacking into one of them in September 1979) and a new “F” ring. The spacecraft also discovered and charted the magnetosphere, magnetic field and mapped the general structure of Saturn’s interior. The spacecraft’s instruments measured the heat radiation from Saturn’s interior and found that its planet-sized moon, Titan, was too cold to support life.
This image from Pioneer 11 shows Saturn and its moon Titan. The irregularities in ring silhouette and shadow are due to technical anomalies in the preliminary data later corrected. At the time this image was taken, Pioneer was 2,846,000 km (1,768,422 miles) from Saturn.
This view shows the launch pad that Explorer 1 launched from in 1958.
American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, the ninth planet in our solar system, on February 18, 1930. Many key questions about Pluto, it’s moon Charon, and the outer fringes of our solar system await close-up observations.
A proposed NASA mission called New Horizons, depicted in the artist’s concept above, would use miniature cameras, radio science experiments, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments to study Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto’s atmosphere in detail.
This artist’s concept of the proposed Mars Sample Return mission shows the entry, descent and landing sequence that the lander would undergo on its way to Mars.
A crucial step in the Mars Sample Return mission would be to launch the collected sample away from the surface of Mars. This artist’s concept depicts a Mars ascent vehicle starting a sample of Mars rocks on their trip to Earth.
On the 84th and 85th Martian days of the NASA Mars rover Curiosity’s mission on Mars (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2012), NASA’s Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture dozens of high-resolution images to be combined into self-portrait images of the rover.
The mosaic shows the rover at “Rocknest,” the spot in Gale Crater where the mission’s first scoop sampling took place. Four scoop scars can be seen in the regolith in front of the rover. A fifth scoop was collected later.
Self-portraits like this one document the state of the rover and allow mission engineers to track changes over time, such as dust accumulation and wheel wear. Due to its location on the end of the robotic arm, only MAHLI (among the rover’s 17 cameras) is able to image some parts of the craft, including the port-side wheels.