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Steve_A's avatar

Is it possible to do this in space?

Asked by Steve_A (5125points) January 25th, 2010

I heard in space if you throw something or put a object in motion. It will not stop because there is no gravity or force to stop it right?

If so why don’t we just launch cameras at high speeds in space and let them travel?

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27 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

A camera or the Hubble Telescope, for instance, traveling so far out into space isn’t the problem. Once the instrument gets so far out, it takes a very, very long time for it to transmit its images back to earth. If that could be improved on, it would be a benefit.

sweetteaindahouse's avatar

It doesn’t always go on forever. There are other objects it can hit, ie. Planets. There is still gravity even though it is very minute. All objects have a gravitational pull that would eventually slow something down.

Snarp's avatar

It’s not entirely true. There is gravity in space, and whenever something approaches a large object that object’s gravity affects the approaching object’s speed an trajectory. An interesting example I was reminded of elsewhere this morning is the Voyager 1 probe. Launched in 1977 its trajectory enabled it to get a speed boost from the gravity of planets it passed. It is now traveling at 17 km/s (around 38,000 mph) and it takes over 15 hours to reach it from Earth at light speed. It has reached the escape velocity for the solar system (which means that the gravity of objects in the solar system cannot restrain it, and it will leave the system, but it will apparently not reach the escape velocity for the milky way, so the gravity of the objects in the milky way will prevent it from leaving the galaxy.

Oh, and here’s the coolest part: We’re still communicating with Voyager 1, even though it takes nearly 31 hours for a round trip signal.

Steve_A's avatar

@Bluefreedom Oh yes that is true forgot the wireless signal would go out too far at point…..

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

We did exactly that with the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft. Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, was still sending signals 30 years later, long after it had left the solar system. The problem is that radio signals diminish in strength with distance. We can send probes into the galaxy that will go on forever, but eventually, the probes get too far away to pick up a signal from them.

ragingloli's avatar

Space is not empty. It is full of dust, gas, and micrometeorites. All of these will slow objects down.

Steve_A's avatar

What if we could attach some kind of device or a rocket to be triggered by the radio signal for a boost?

Steve_A's avatar

@Snarp Oh…did not think about that heh…

Steve_A's avatar

Another question have they sent cameras into a black hole?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Steve_A , even if it were possible for such a thing to survive the event horizon, nothing would come out. Inside a black hole, space is falling faster than light, so it cannot escape. Radio waves are the same thing.

grumpyfish's avatar

It does comes down to escape velocities—from earth’s surface to its own escape velocity is a delta-v of 11.186 km/s escape velocity to the solar system’s escape velocity you need an additional delta-v of maybe 5 or 6 km/s.

So, if you have a 2kg camera system (that’s nothing) and to accelerate it to 18km/s requires 324 MJ of energy. That’s not much, really, but you couldn’t transmit signals back.

However, a full satellite is going to weigh something like 2 tons once you get everything in there, that takes 324 GJ or 3.24×10^11 J That’s a lot of energy. (We’ve done it, Voyager, etc.)

To follow on what @IchtheosaurusRex said—we also haven’t sent anything into black holes because they’re too far away. The furthest man made object from the earth is Voyager 1 at 0.0017 light years. Cygnus X-1 is thought to be the closest black hole to earth, at 6000 light years.

Steve_A's avatar

@grumpyfish Dam….. I am horrible at math oh well for me….hah….

but thats what I was getting at , if we have not done it, then how can we know for sure?

Steve_A's avatar

@grumpyfish You a scientist or something?

grumpyfish's avatar

@Steve_A An artist, oddly enough. I just like science =)

Steve_A's avatar

@grumpyfish How did you get so good at math, I like science too but I am horrible at math I really hate it how people can figure it out so easily…..and yet I don’t seem to be able to…

Steve_A's avatar

Also this question will be apart of another question I have…

Zuma's avatar

The thing is we have done it and we are doing it. The only reason why we don’t do it more often is because it is frightfully expensive—i.e., $50 million just to launch the rocket, and up to $350 million depending on the weight and complexity of the payload. Then there is the cost of monitoring the information coming back.

There have been recent advances in mathematics that allow us to get many times more boost than we used to by exploiting the chaotic effects introduced by the perturbations of other gravitational fields and solar winds, once we get the object in high enough orbit.

mattbrowne's avatar

Inertia, the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion, is a universal law and it does work in space as well as on Earth. Hit the brake on an icy road and you might hit a tree against your will. The trouble is, as mentioned above, what are smart cheap ways to get stuff into space?

CMaz's avatar

No matter what.
Eventually the craft would run out of power and/or the background noise would prevent us from acquiring a coherent signal.
And, over time. Space debris (like dust and such) would eventually damage it to inoperable.

engineeristerminatorisWOLV's avatar

Great question.In fact, in deep space explorations this technique is used to save fuel,but we can’t rely upon it fully.Once something is lunched in space,it needs to be guided in a particular direction.For example,If you are sending a robo mission to Jupiter,it should escape the gravitational pull of Mars and again the astroid belts between Mars and Jupitor to finally reach the place it’s intended.To guide it the right direction and sometimes make it escape the force fields of other celestrail bodies fuel is needed.If you simply lunch it in a particular direction aiming Jupiter,It mighcollide with the Astroids or get pulled by Mars if it’s somewhere crossing the rover’s path.

Pazza's avatar

The crazy bearded dudes in THIS video show how longitudinal magnetic waves travel faster than light, they do the math (which I have no comprehension of!) and the experiment.

I’d love for this video to be looked at by someone with some brains and tell me wether or not its BS.

Anyway the point being, if you can actually send a signal faster than light, then communicating and controling a space telescope would be much quicker (not to mention all the other implications of course!).

I wonder what this world would have been like if the advancement of technology wasn’t governed by commerse and Tesla was still around?

Zuma's avatar

@Pazza I couldn’t waste an hour on those two guys in the basement, so I did some Googling. This seems to get at Tesla’s conjectures about faster than light communication. However, there seems to be some controversy over whether tachyons actually exist. I think you will see that there are a lot of practical difficulties that need to be worked out first.

daemonelson's avatar

If there were no obstacles, we could do so.

In other news, information takes time to transmit. Objects have gravitational fields. And there is very little light out there.

Pazza's avatar

@Zuma – Cheers for the links.
Properly confused now though. It would seem to me that science doesn’t yet have the math to fully describe our universe, personally I don’t think they ever will. I mean this page describes light as a particle but says particles can’t travel at the speed of light, so how does light travel at the speed of light?, it also gives you the old, at the speed of light, times is effectively zero, yet light still moves? so things can still move about in zero time?. They also give the old, time travels backwards palarva, are we sure it travels backwards? why can’t it just be negative? does time travel anywhere, or is it just a factor in an equation?

I’ve seem the term ‘Longitudinal magnetic dialectric’ a few times (if I’ve spelt that right?), the way I understand it is the way sound travels longitudinaly, as apposed to energy which is supposedly transverse, and I think the thinking is that energy can also travel longitudinaly, though I don’t know what this has to do with tachyons.

I’m crap at ordinary maths, so complicated fundamental universe describing maths isn’t even an area my mind has a key to the door for. Instead the owl’d noggin tries to make sense of the universe with whats already in there.

The way I see it, space is a soup of resinating energy (not made of particles), gravity is a density change in this soup caused by matter displacing it. All radio/magnetic waves are effectively pressure waves traveling through this soup, and matter particles are just bubbles of energy which for some reason repel the spacial field. Not sure how that works, maybe something to do with resinance.

So based on that dribble of puss that drooled from the leaky orifices in my head couldn’t you send a donut pressure wave through space like THIS.

WAOOOOOOOWWWWW!.... kinda looks like string theory!
Also if you pulsed this donut couldn’t you send a digital signal?
Though I think it would be safe to say that a signal like this would be highly focused and would have to be aimed with pin-point accuracy.

Or I could just be completely talking out of my arse…......again :-)

Zuma's avatar

@Pazza It’s all relative to your point of view. The photon lives in an ever-present “now” because, according to relativity theory, time dilates as you approach the speed of light. From our point of view, the photons are whizzing by.

Here is a great non-mathematical book that describes the conceptual issues involved in coming up with a Theory of Everything.

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