Kick it Beyond the Moon

MIT TR: Kickstarter Campaign Wants to Send Tiny Satellites out of Earth Orbit20130718-203920.jpg
Space loaf: This artist’s rendering shows a three-unit CubeSat with a propulsion unit.

A mini-satellite, no bigger than a loaf of bread, could push itself out of Earth’s orbit as soon as next year if a crowdfunding campaign to support development of a diminutive propulsion system succeeds. If such small spacecraft can be made to operate far from Earth, they could one day make inexpensive expeditions to asteroids, Mars, and beyond.

Now that’s neat, the ion thruster is pretty crude and tech leaders doubt it will work, but things ‘scale’ oddly, a honeybee can only fly because at it’s scale air is much more viscous…sticky…than we experience it. So it’s possible this simple small relatively short lived little exploring skiff will sail. And just think, if we can flip out these tiny surveyors to asteroids and comets for this sort of investment the haul of new knowledge will be huge.

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