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Thread: spaceships

  1. #1 spaceships 
    Forum Freshman deep'n'dark's Avatar
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    how far can they go? i mean spaceships without humans. what energy are those using and is that main reason why we can't send them as far as we like. meteorites are flying there long trips without any engine - is it explosion what makes them to travel?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    Two things I can think of. A spaceship piloted by machines is really only useful if A) The machines are as intelligent as we are or better more so. B) Information can be sent back to earth (or some base) and put to some use.

    The problem boils down to time and power. The faster the ship travels away from earth the more energy it requires to get it up to speed. Either a lot of energy very quickly to bring it to speed quickly, or a little energy over a long period of time to slowly bring it to speed.

    Now considering we have to power the navigation systems and more so the communications systems with something, we would need a source of power that would last for years on end. Also as the ship got further away from earth the radio beam (or whatever it was sending) would become more dispersed and in time become so faint it would not be able to be detected with all the extra noise in the universe.

    I'm sure some members can think of other obstacles.


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  4. #3 Re: spaceships 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep'n'dark
    how far can they go? i mean spaceships without humans. what energy are those using and is that main reason why we can't send them as far as we like. meteorites are flying there long trips without any engine - is it explosion what makes them to travel?
    There was voyager:

    Voyager Enters Solar System's Final Frontier
    NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier, a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars. Read More
    Interstellar Terms
    View Interstellar Video

    Voyagers Surpass 10,000 Days Of Operation
    The intrepid twin Voyager spacecraft, launched about two weeks apart in the summer of 1977 and now heading out of the solar system, continue making history. On Jan. 5, 2005 the Voyager team noted a milestone with a nice round number: 10,000 days since Voyager 2's launch. On Jan. 21, 2005 Voyager 1 also passed 10,000 days. Read More

    http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/

    It was powered by an RPU I think. This is the only one that has gone this far as yet.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep'n'dark
    meteorites are flying there long trips without any engine - is it explosion what makes them to travel?
    Meteorites are in free fall, they're in orbit around the Sun (like we are) or around one or other of the planets (like the Moon). I suppose the initial impetus for all movement would be explosions - explosions of primordial supernovae which provided the dust and gas out of which our solar system was formed.

    The spaceships aren't on powered flight either. Having escaped the gravitational pull of the Sun they are flying out into the Universe and won't stop until they come into the gravitational influence of another major body.

    So why do they have power? Well, a spaceship just floating in space is no more or less use to us than a meteorite is! It needs its battery electrical power to send information back to Earth. Prior to that, when Voyager was travelling by the gas giants it needed power to help manoeuver around, make course corrections, get properly oriented to take a good photo.

    The Voyagers' predecessors, the Pioneer craft were "shut down" a couple of years ago, but my understanding is that their power sources actually lasted a great deal longer (ie +10 years) than they were designed or expected to.

    On the other hand, a proper atomic power source would last practically indefinitely.

    Quote Originally Posted by deep'n'dark
    what energy are those using and is that main reason why we can't send them as far as we like?
    Well, the main reason we can't send them as far as we like is that the distances are absolutely enormous. It takes the better part of a year just to get to our nearest neighbour Mars and back. Getting to the edge of the solar system has been the work of twenty years for Voyager. And the stars are so, so much further than that.
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