Author Topic: NASA Selects Two Missions to Explore the Early Solar System  (Read 9394 times)

Offline Star One

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Deep Space Communications via Faraway Photons

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A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves.

The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package aboard NASA's Psyche mission utilizes photons -- the fundamental particle of visible light -- to transmit more data in a given amount of time. The DSOC goal is to increase spacecraft communications performance and efficiency by 10 to 100 times over conventional means, all without increasing the mission burden in mass, volume, power and/or spectrum.

Tapping the advantages offered by laser communications is expected to revolutionize future space endeavors - a major objective of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

The DSOC project is developing key technologies that are being integrated into a deep space-worthy Flight Laser Transceiver (FLT), high-tech work that will advance this mode of communications to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. Reaching a TRL 6 level equates to having technology that is a fully functional prototype or representational model.

As a "game changing" technology demonstration, DSOC is exactly that. NASA STMD's Game Changing Development Program funded the technology development phase of DSOC. The flight demonstration is jointly funded by STMD, the Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) Program and NASA/ HEOMD/Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN).

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2017-272&rn=news.xml&rst=6967

Offline redliox

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Article talking about the Psyche mission's SEP and the trajectory it will take for its mission:
https://medium.com/the-nasa-psyche-mission-journey-to-a-metal-world/psyche-is-an-sep-mission-whats-that-mean-f56f7f0c8a89
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline mikelepage

Seriously, half the posts on this topic are about what rocket might launch it five years from now. Don't you guys argue that issue enough on just about every other thread on this site?

Crazy isn't it?  Personally, I am really excited about Psyche.  I think it as the same poential for the unexpected as Rosetta.

Indeed.

Another thing I find extremely interesting is the discrepancy between its apparent size, and its density (equating to porosity of ~40% https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16_Psyche).  I'm half hoping we get there and find huge, stable voids that we can park space stations in for radiation protection.  Between its huge mineral wealth and low inclination, I wonder if it might not be as good as Mars for habitation - certainly a better first asteroid than Ceres.

Tags: asteroids Psyche Lucy