What will DS1 do on its mission?

What is PEPE?

The Plasma Experiment for Planetary Environments (PEPE) is one of the new instrument technologies being tested and demonstrated with the New Millennium Deep Space One mission. It is there to measure plasma (which is like energized gas) and make a three dimensional picture of plasma distributions. It also measures ions, electrons and energy in the plasma. PEPE will measure and make images of the plasma used in DS1's engine. It will also be used to learn about plasma found in space. PEPE will serve three purposes:

  1. It will monitor and report back on the environment made by the Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) system so that NASA engineers understand how well instruments using plasma will work on future missions.
  2. It will carry out state-of-the art plasma measurements when DS1 is at the asteroid and while it is flying by the comet.
  3. It will test several new plasma sensor technologies that are needed for future space physics and planetary missions.

PEPE's measurement capabilities approach those of the a previous plasma measuring device called the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) instrument, but PEPE doesn't take as much raw materials to build, costs less, and was made on a much faster time table.

What new technologies are being tested on DS1?
How does DS1's engine work?
What is an atom?
What is an ion?

How will we know if the new technologies work?
What's an electron?
What is plasma?
What does electrically charged mean?
How are atoms charged?

Why are we testing new technologies on DS1?