A space probe is an unmanned device sent to explore space.
Probes are used to perform many functions.
- A probe makes observations of temperature, radiation, and objects in space.
- A probe is also used to perform experiments on its surroundings, such as releasing chemicals or digging into surface dirt.
- The changes that occur in course and speed of the probe provide information about atmospheric density and gravity fields t o the scientists.
- By exposing material from the earth to the conditions of space, the space probe allows the scientists to observe the effects of space on that material.
Classification of Probes
Probes can be classified on many grounds.
Depending on its area of operation, probes are of three types
- A probe that operates in free space.
- A probe that orbits around a planet.
- A probe that lands on a planet.
Depending on its method of operation, probes are of two types
- A probe that performs necessary operations on the planet or in space and does not return.
- A probe that brings back samples to earth.
Probes are also classified according to their landing
- Impact vehicles, those probes that do not slow down during descent or landing.
- Hard landers, those probes that have special instruments, which cushion the impact of their hard landing.
- Soft landers, those probes that touch down gently and thus do not require cushions for the same.
- Penetrators, those probes that penetrate the surface of the planet. (as explained earlier in penetrator space crafts).
After having a look at probes, let us explore mars through the eyes of spirit and opportunity