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More Prometheus Tidbits

Leonard David offers a few more tantalizing glimpses of what Prometheus may entail, not just for its flagship mission but for the future of space exploration. The key point is that a nuclear power source will not just enable faster transit times, but it will provide plentiful power for high-powered scientific instruments and better communications gear…probes will not just get to, say, Jupiter faster, they’ll be able to do more while there and radio home more results.

Interesting to note that for the Prometheus flagship mission, alternatives such as a powerful communications satellite for Mars orbit were considered. Looking over the budget highlights in the previous post, one finds that this idea is still on the table. Which makes a great deal of sense (nuclear power or no), considering the ongoing plans to send probes to Mars. Having a purpose-built high-bandwidth communications relay at Mars would remove the need for landers and observation satellites to carry powerful communications gear of their own, not to mention increasing the amount and reliability of data transmitted back to Earth.

Oh, and I would be remiss in noting that anti-nuclear watermelon Bruce Gagnon gets his luddite $.02 in. What is it with this guy all of a sudden? He must have been sending out a lot of Rolodex cards since the Cassini launch.

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