An artist's conception of Deep Space 1
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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 it.

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.


Last modified January 9, 2002 by Jennifer Bergman.

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