An artist's conception of Deep Space 1
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of NASA
NASA Tests New Technologies with Deep Space 1
NASA launched a spacecraft called Deep Space 1 on October 15, 1998. It tested
some new equipment. During the tests, it flew to a nearby asteroid
called Braille and took pictures of
Deep Space 1 had a new kind of engine. It used xenon gas. (Xenon is like
neon or helium, only heavier.) The engine didn't produce very much
thrust. The force was less then the weight of a piece of paper! But it added up since there isn't any air in space to slow the spacecraft
down. The new engine used ten times less fuel than a normal rocket engine.
Things went so well with Deep Space 1, NASA had it fly by comet Borrelly in September 2001. The Deep Space 1 mission ended on December 18, 2001.
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