Talk:Space probe

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Page moved[edit]

The old "space probe" article covered lots of missions that weren't really space probes in the traditional sense. Recreation of this page, after moving that old article to robotic spacecraft, will hopefully alleviate the confusion. Sdsds 20:00, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

wikify or expand?[edit]

I have just now replaced the wikify template on this article with an expand template. The article is already heavily wiki-linked. (It is also already marked with an appropriate stub template.) Whereas I agree there should be more structure, does it make sense to do that before very much space-probe material has been moved here from less appropriate places, or written specifically for the article? Sdsds 21:30, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

I was the person who added the wikify tag. Expand might be better than wikify in this case. Or, we might just want to redirect space probe to Robotic spacecraft. --ASDFGHJKL123=Greatest Person Ever+Coolest Person Ever 22:52, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
The trouble that was experienced with the prior combination of Space probe and the precursor to Robotic spacecraft was that there are so darn many robotic spacecraft that aren't space probes. Every satellite, to be precise. The defining characteristic of a space probe (that it leave the environs of Earth) was lost in the article that combined the two. It's reasonable to assert that coverage of space probes could be carried out as a sub-section in the robotic spacecraft article, but that would be a lame admission that we haven't covered all the great space probe missions that have and are being and will be conducted. There are plenty of those to fill an article! Sdsds 23:09, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, one thing that is for certain, is that the interwiki links are one hell of a mess. --Harald Khan Ճ 17:18, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
At least it was; it is fixed for now (took it's time). --Harald Khan Ճ 18:51, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Best definition and best article scope[edit]

I am no longer convinced the definition of "space probe" currently used in this article is best. I believe early spacecraft, even some on merely sub-orbital flights, might have been called at the time "space probes". Thus scoping this article to include a flight only if it "leaves the gravity well of Earth and approaches the Moon or enters interplanetary or interstellar space" may be unduly restrictive. The differentiator between a "space probe" and a "robotic spacecraft" may simply be one of intent, i.e. scientific discovery versus commercial use. (sdsds - talk) 19:45, 6 January 2008 (UTC)" EAT DEART"

Are space probe devellopment putting our societe in danger???? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:47, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
they are bigBold text —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:37, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
I put a {{citation needed}} tag on the definitional claim in the lede in April 2009. As of now, five months later, no one has provided a verifiable citation for this definition of space probe. The entire article is nearly completely unsourced, and the absence of a clear definition in reliable, secondary source literature makes the entire article suspect, or at least questions the need for a Wikipedia article on space probe and a different one for robotic spacecraft, a topic which I have previously commented on in the next Talk page section below. N2e (talk) 17:30, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

What is the difference between "Space probes" and "Robotic spacecraft"?[edit]

I learned only today that their are two separate Wikipedia articles on unmanned space vehicles: Robotic spacecraft and this one, Space proble. I'm not sure I see the value of two articles, especially as currently described where their definitions seem to overlap (and be fuzzy). I thought it best to invite discussion before adding merge tags to the articles. What do others think? N2e (talk) 19:10, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I think the terms really are "fuzzy", not only within Wikipedia but in general use. That said, a "probe" is assumed to have a scientific research mission, and the term is sometimes used as an abbreviated form of "interplanetary probe" i.e. it sometimes implies a mission beyond Earth orbit. In contrast, almost every commercial satellite these days has some sort of robotic aspect, even if it is just attitude control and station-keeping for e.g. antenna or camera pointing. Not every historical space probe had those "robotic" capabilities. (sdsds - talk) 02:30, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Appreciate your thoughts sdsds. The terms are fuzzy to me and we will need some verifiable sources to defend maintaining the distinction, in my opinion. As to your comment about some historical probes not having robotic capabilities, I think that would depend on how the term robotic is understood in this context. In ordinary vernacular use, methinks robotic would be rather "broadly construed" and include any intelligent device able to operate on its own and exercise several of the capabilities that humans ordinarily have; e.g., sensing, communication, etc. So in short, we might have difficulty maintaining a "narrow" view in the absence of a good source from a space context that can define the distinction for us. N2e (talk) 04:46, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think anyone would describe their webcam- and WiFi-enabled laptop as a "robot." If pressed, they might agree the hard disk drive was "robotic." I think there were early "probes" that didn't even have that much mechanical capability. The essence of a "probe" is that it can sense and transmit information about its environment. Frankly I don't much like the status quo that it might sound like I'm defending. But I don't see a value in a merge unless these two really are some kind of POV-fork of Unmanned spacecraft. (sdsds - talk) 18:58, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

The lead sentence defines probe as a mission carried on by a machine, and the next section uses probe to mean the machine itself. Which is it? —Tamfang (talk) 21:12, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

Lots of recent vandalism, some of the detritus remains in the article[edit]

There has been a lot of article vandalism recently. Some of the detritus remains in the article, as of 2010-04-24. However, because of intervening edits, I can't get the auto-revert tools to clean it up and don't have the time to do it manually right now. Look at diff between now and, say, 2010-04-07. N2e (talk) 14:31, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

something missing?[edit]

"The Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity surface and geology, and searched for clues to past water activity on Mars."

Sentence fragment. Is something missing before "surface and geology"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:01, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Privacy number ?[edit]

Strange number (privacy ?) is found in history[1]. Partial deletion might be needed.--Gwano (talk) 01:14, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

types of probes[edit]

Somewhere there is or should be a discussion of the different kinds of probes that have been made and/or are possible. I looked for it here. If there is one somewhere, it should be linked in, and if not, it could be added here.

The definition given here, "flyby, orbit or land on other planetary bodies; or approach interstellar space" doesn't include everything. Exceptions include the Galileo (spacecraft)#Galileo Probe and the Vega program balloons which were atmospheric, and deep space probes to study the Sun such as Genesis (spacecraft) or to study the interplanetary medium. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:59, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

NASA-TV (04/14/2015-TwoBriefings@1:00&@2:30pm/edt/usa) - New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto.[edit]

FWIW - NASA-TV (Tuesday, 04/14/2015 - Two Briefings => @1:00 & @2:30pm/edt/usa) - panels of experts discuss "New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto".[1] - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 12:52, 11 April 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Buckley, Michael (April 9, 2015). "Release M15-057 - NASA Hosts Briefings on Historic Mission to Pluto". NASA. Retrieved April 11, 2015. 

How they work[edit]

While looking for general information on how probes communicate with Earth, I was surprised to see that this article is little more than a list, with a small discussion of orbital mechanics and few links about how they do, well, anything. Electricity, navigation, orientation, propulsion, comms, any of the things these marvelous machines must do to carry out their mission. I do not intend to find time this summer to supply this lack, but hope someone will. Jim.henderson (talk) 13:57, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Incomprehensible paragraph[edit]

"Along with Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and its sister space probe Voyager 2, Voyager 1 is now an interstellar probe. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have both achieved solar escape velocity, meaning that their trajectories will not return them to the Solar System." Rephrase? Asgrrr (talk) 19:55, 11 June 2016 (UTC)