Question Suggestions for scientific instruments on extrasolar probe

T.Neo

SA 2010 Soccermaniac
Addon Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
6,377
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Here's a bit of fun; a probe is sent to a exoplanet system within 70 light years of Earth using handwavium. It will have a chance to explore one (extensive, like that of Jupiter) moon system and planet in detail.

Primary Objectives:

•Obtain relatively high resolution (at least 300 km per pixel) images of objects up to 6 AU distant in a variety of wavelengths.

•Obtain spectral characteristics of nearby moons and all known bodies in the system.

•Obtain 1km per pixel images of objects up to 2 000 000 km distant.

•Obtain 1m per pixel images from an altitude of 300-400 km.

•Obtain data on nearby planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres.

Secondary Objectives:

•Study the parent star locally.

•Detect any major moons and/or ring systems of planets up to 6 AU distant.

•Perform analysis of cosmic dust and the exozodiacal light.

•Perform radar or LIDAR analysis of a planetary surface from 300-400km altitude.

Tertiary Objectives:

•Perform radar analysis on objects up to 2 000 000 km distant.

•Verify or refine mass and/or orbital data of known planets.

•Search for unknown planets.

This science payload cannot mass any more than 20 000 kg (instrumention and platform) and cannot draw more than 10 kW power. Data storage capabilities available can be regarded as effectively unlimited (>100GB) and data transmission is not a limitation. The time limit dedicated solely for the science payload is roughly two hours (other time in the system will be taken up by maneuvers).

What kind of instrumentation would meet these sort of requirements? What comparisons can be drawn up with real-world scientific instruments on space probes and observatories?
 
Last edited:

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Feb 6, 2008
Messages
35,754
Reaction score
242
Points
153
Location
Langendernbach
Well, at least cameras, the more the merrier, some can share common optics with different paths. But you can already build something that can do everything you require with a 1500 kg mass budget. It would all just need to be telescope like.

About the radar analysis, it depends on which kind of wavelengths and observations you need. geological wouldn't make sense, since you just pass the planet at speed. LIDAR is no alternative for radar, but a separate recommended payload.

How fast will your probe be? Maybe a smaller subprobe can be braked into a low orbit for geological radar surveys for some days until your main probe is outside communication range.

A magnetometer doesn't weight much and doesn't require much power, but would have to be calibrated after a long flight.
 

T.Neo

SA 2010 Soccermaniac
Addon Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
6,377
Reaction score
0
Points
0
How fast will your probe be? Maybe a smaller subprobe can be braked into a low orbit for geological radar surveys for some days until your main probe is outside communication range.

Not very fast; it will be in low orbit around a particular body for at least one orbit (perhaps more). It's a handwavium issue. :lol:
 

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Feb 6, 2008
Messages
35,754
Reaction score
242
Points
153
Location
Langendernbach
Not very fast; it will be in low orbit around a particular body for at least one orbit (perhaps more). It's a handwavium issue. :lol:

If it is a handwavium issue, different sensors could be considered. You could deploy large antennas to do long wave radar measurements that can penetrate even soil or detect slow magnetic changes.

You could also spend a few months in orbit and do better science. You could deploy a nanosatellite to trail the main provide radio signals to measure atmosphere properties or get better magnetosphere data. you could maybe even drop a small reentry vessel on a planet, it would all easily fit into the 20 ton budget...
 
Top