Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Space probe transmiting a pic to Eart

  1. Jul 6, 2004 #1
    Im a novice on waves what I want to know is for instance a space probe transmiting a pic to Earth does it use radio waves ? And does it have to transmit in direction of Earth or could we recieve pics on another plant and what size area do these waves occupy i.e when they hit Earth does it equate to A tidal wave covering an island ( island being the Earth )
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2004 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, NASA communicates with probes via radio waves. The size and shape of the transmitted beam is determined by the transmitting antenna. The space probe needs to transmit its signal into a pretty tight cone because it does not have power to waste. I am not sure of the exact dimensions of the transmitted cone when it reaches earth, but am willing to bet that it is bigger then the earth, so anybody on the side of earth facing the probe can receive the signal if they have the correct equipment.
  4. Jul 6, 2004 #3
    Another question regarding waves do photons move in a wave like manner rather than a straight course. If not what causes the wave.
    tx id look this stuff up but im pushed for time and the few sites i did go to did not give me answers.
  5. Jul 8, 2004 #4
    A single photon moving through an unimpeded, uninfluenced free space will continue in its specific linear direction forever. One heck of a serious straight line!
    That's the ideal.
    The reality is somewhat different, though in short distances it works well.
  6. Jul 9, 2004 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Photons exhibit both wave and particle properties.
  7. Jul 9, 2004 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I like to think of a photon as a wave packet. The characteristic frequency of the photon is the frequency of the waves in the package.
  8. Jul 9, 2004 #7
    A photon has to move as the crow flies right ? In order to go from A to B at c
    if it moved in a wave like manner it would have to travel further thus it would go from A to B slower than c. So what is the wave ?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?