Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


+ - "Chip" sats, fundamentally new kind of spacecraft?->

Submitted by wisebabo
wisebabo (638845) writes "Here's a way to harness Moore's law (which has given us many orders of magnitudes of improvement) to spaceflight (which is still using technology more or less developed in the middle of the 20th century). Some researchers at Cornell will be launching their "Chip" sats, tiny 1" square satellites affixed(?) to the Endeavour space shuttle. "Their small size allows them to travel like space dust," said Peck. "Blown by solar winds, they can 'sail' to distant locations without fuel. ..." Hopefully they "may travel to Saturn within the next decade, and as they flutter down through its atmosphere, they will collect data about chemistry, radiation and particle impacts."

While I really believe this is the future, I do have some questions. Although much can be miniaturized (nano-rized?), I'm wondering about some things such as optics (for cameras) and antenna/power (for transmitting the results back home). So while these may very well flutter down Saturn's atmosphere, there may need to be a large(r) mothership capable of transmitting the results home. (This was the mechanism used by Greg Bear in his novel "Queen of Angels" where his interstellar ship dropped "coin" sized probes to explore the worlds of Alpha Centauri.)

With the retirement of Endeavour we have the end of one technology coinciding with the birth of another."

Link to Original Source
This discussion was created for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

"Chip" sats, fundamentally new kind of spacecraft?

Comments Filter:

To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.