By Michael Carroll
Drifting on Alien Winds explores the unusual climate of alien worlds, from the blistering hurricane-force winds of Venus to the light methane rain showers of Saturn's large moon Titan. Blinding bolts of lightning sizzle via Jupiter's skies, ammonia blizzards swirl via Saturnian clouds, and Earth-sized cyclones pinwheel throughout Uranus and Neptune. Late-breaking medical discoveries from spacecraft, observatories, and laboratories exhibit the mysteries of climate around the sun process. Our wisdom of climate on different worlds has no longer come simply. Drifting on Alien Winds introduces the inventors, engineers, and scientists who struggled to release the 1st probes that will aid us to appreciate the atmospheres of alternative worlds. The untold tales of early engineering feats and screw ups, from small Soviet Venus balloons to complicated stories of blimps and airplanes for Mars and Titan, are showcased the following, besides what we’ve discovered and are nonetheless attempting to know about alien skies. a few of today’s such a lot artistic and scientifically possible principles for voyaging via far-off skies are offered. With striking spacecraft pictures and beautiful unique work by means of the writer, Drifting on Alien Winds is a banquet for the eyes in addition to the mind.
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Extra resources for Drifting on Alien Winds: Exploring the Skies and Weather of Other Worlds
Batteries were of no use on a decade-long cruise. The only energy adequate to the task was nuclear power. The first focused study, carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, took the form of TOPS, the nuclear-powered Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft. The TOPS design was dominated by a 14-foot diameter antenna. The craft would have been powered by four radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs (plutonium power sources). As it flew by each planet, the mother craft was designed to drop off atmospheric probes.
Pluto is poisonous and extremely cold. The Moon is barren, Jupiter volcanic. ” This killjoy scientist may have spoken a bit prematurely. Today, we see a menagerie of planetary atmospheres, ranging from diffuse to crushing. Although the worlds of our Solar System possess clearly hostile environments, many hold the promise of untapped resources and places well worth exploring. But how do we get there? Getting from Point “A” to Point “B” 8. An exception to this rule is solar ion propulsion, which uses solar energy to ionize a heavy gas such as xenon.
If it is falling through a thick or deep atmosphere, communications may dictate that it make it to a certain depth in a given amount of time. This is especially true if its signals are relayed to Earth by a circling orbiter or passing mother craft. Several Venus probes jettisoned their parachutes at relatively high altitudes to get to lower levels before succumbing to the surrounding heat. The Huygens-Titan probe released its larger parachute to speed its descent. Flight engineers often design free-fall into some portions of flight for probes in the outer Solar System to access deeper levels of atmosphere in a reasonable amount of time.