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Ion Propulsion "Dawns"
May 4, 2010 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Star Trek nerd alert: Standard orbit, Mr. Sulu." Captain Kirk barks out NASA announces Dawn, an ion propulsion rocket to two asteroids, Vesta and Ceres.
posted by Cranberry (17 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Dawn will thrust for 5 ½ years!" says Rayman. "It's already been thrusting for 591 days"

Wow. Let's not let my wife know about this, eh?
posted by digitalprimate at 4:07 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Slow and stead(il)y (increasing speed) will win the (space) race.

Or something.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:10 PM on May 4, 2010


That's pretty cool. Of course, the gravity wells on those asteroids are tiny. You could leave their orbit by jumping off with your feet.
posted by delmoi at 4:28 PM on May 4, 2010


"It uses only a kilogram of xenon every 4 days."

Is that accurate? 5½ years at 1 kg every 4 days is ~500kg.

OK... did my own research. Wiki says 425kg of fuel. Fair enough. Carry on.
posted by NailsTheCat at 4:28 PM on May 4, 2010


<3 nerds.
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on May 4, 2010


Of course, the gravity wells on those asteroids are tiny. You could leave their orbit by jumping off with your feet.

It's a bit more than that: on Ceres it's about 1140 miles per hour and on Vesta it's about 782 miles per hour. Still, a reasonably high powered rifle round could achieve escape velocity.
posted by jedicus at 4:51 PM on May 4, 2010


oh and ALSO. I did a report on Deep Space One and Ion Propulsion for science class and got a lot of "Deep Space 9 Star Trrk Lol" from the class ...SUCK IT IT'S REAL AND IT'S SCIENCE.
posted by The Whelk at 5:00 PM on May 4, 2010


However, nerds hate unbalanced quotation marks.
posted by w0mbat at 5:24 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


@w0mbat yeah, on preview should have happened. So build me a time machine already.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:18 PM on May 4, 2010


It's already been thrusting for 591 days.

That's some pretty good thrusting, but I am more interested in its luggage-carrying capabilities.

And yeah, this is incredibly awesome.
posted by Mister_A at 6:28 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


You could leave their orbit by jumping off with your feet.

You could escape Deimos with a bike and a ramp.
posted by thesmophoron at 7:11 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The monthly "Dawn Journal" entries by Marc Rayman, the mission's Project System Engineer, are obscenely nerdy. He makes Star Trek fans look like jocks. And makes copy editors beg for mercy.

It's been a long wait, 4 years since launch, and we stil have another year and half to go, but it's going to get pretty exciting in October 2011.
posted by intermod at 7:56 PM on May 4, 2010


You could leave their orbit by jumping off with your feet.

Hello, new recurring space-themed nightmare!
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:04 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's planet Ceres!

ONCE A PLANET, ALWAYS A PLANET! *continues rocking back and forth*
posted by adipocere at 8:15 PM on May 4, 2010


Oh, don't take it so Ceres-ly!
posted by SPrintF at 9:09 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the asteroid's a-rockin'...
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:50 AM on May 5, 2010


@intermod The monthly "Dawn Journal" entries ...are obscenely nerdy.

I WISH! I just read the May 2 entry ... not a SINGLE equation!

"Thrusting is not necessary for a spacecraft to remain in orbit..." ??? My GRANDMA would sneer at how obvious that is!!!
posted by Twang at 3:40 PM on May 5, 2010


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