This is Cool

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** Solar powered, ion drive spacecraft ( Dawn ) orbits asteroid  -  very
slowly ....

http://news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-20086575-239/ion-powered-dawn-begins-study-of-asteroid-vesta /

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dawn_Flight_Configuration_2.jpg

The solar array is almost 20 meters across.

Dare I say, very green.....




....  Phil








Re: This is Cool

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Yep, and about as meaningless as most of the environmental totems lauded by
the true believers.



Re: This is Cool
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Sure, never mind all the green crap but is this not pretty good
engineering ???

Re: This is Cool

"Rheilly Phoull"
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** What is  NOT cool about a fridge sized space craft orbiting an *asteroid*
at the speed of a single engine Cessna on final approach ?

And the whole thing is powered and driven through space by solar array the
size of the same Cessna's wing -   PLUS  sending high res images back 200
million miles to us via a 1.2 meter dia dish  ?




....  Phil



Re: This is Cool
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Nothing that I can think of down this end.

Rheilly P

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Absolutely, there isn't much that's more inspiring. While you're at it,
check out gravity probe B.



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I dont think its anything to do with the environment, as short of
putting a nuclear reactor in the thing, there is just no other way to
power it.  Also the solar will keep pumping out power for a lot longer
than the nuclear fuel will last ?

Re: This is Cool

"kreed"

I dont think its anything to do with the environment, as short of
putting a nuclear reactor in the thing, there is just no other way to
power it.  Also the solar will keep pumping out power for a lot longer
than the nuclear fuel will last ?


** Radioisotope generators ( using Plutonium 238) can run for decades -
probably longer than any solar array system can be expected to work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator#Life_span

Space probes like Dawn can travel to the edge of the solar system and beyond
where sunlight is over 1000 times dimmer than near earth  -  so PVs have
nothing to work with.



...    Phil







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