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NASA / Space Exploration Thread incl. Pluto-New Horizons
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firmbizzle Offline
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Post: #61
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 01:51 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(05-29-2015 01:44 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  
(05-29-2015 01:42 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  I just want sure if you understood that a dwarf planet is still considered a planet. Just a different classification of planet from the 8 major planets.

The terminology confuses a lot of people.

Pluto is not a moon or asteroid, its is a very small planet.

No because there are other similar "planets" relatively nearby. They are either all planets or not all planets. Pluto doesn't get an exception because our telescopes weren't that good when it was found.


Your free to call it whatever pleases you, but Pluto is classified as a dwarf planet.

Not an opinion, its a scientific fact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluto

Pluto (minor-planet designation: 134340 Pluto) is the second-most massive known dwarf planet, after Eris.

So Eris is a planet too?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eris_(dwarf_planet)
05-29-2015 01:52 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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Post: #62
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
Nasa is playing it cool but they have already answered a whole host of questions and unknowns with the pics we have received. The next 2 months is going to be AWESOME.
(This post was last modified: 05-29-2015 02:13 PM by ericsrevenge76.)
05-29-2015 01:54 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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Post: #63
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 01:52 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  So Eris is a planet too?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eris_(dwarf_planet)


Did you not read your own link? Its classified as a dwarf planet/Minor planet as well.

Eris is the largest Dwarf planet as of today. I imagine Nasa will be sending something its way too.
(This post was last modified: 05-29-2015 02:12 PM by ericsrevenge76.)
05-29-2015 01:55 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #64
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 01:36 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(05-29-2015 01:32 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  [Image: 800px-eighttnos-580x420.png]

Interesting. First time I've seen that list. Thanks for posting it. New probes to all of 'em!

There are a bunch of good pics like that. Google dwarf planet or ice dwarf planets and clink on the images.

Google kuiper belt as well.

Makemake is one of the coolest names used. pronounced Ma-key Ma-key


Thanks. Is that the Billy ray Cyrus planet? (Achey Breaky Makey?)
05-29-2015 01:56 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #65
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 01:43 PM)shiftyeagle Wrote:  I'm a planet, you're a planet, we're all planets.

Can't we all just get along? Oh wait, it's the Spin Room-- We Must Take Sides!
03-lmfao
05-29-2015 01:58 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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Post: #66
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 01:56 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  Thanks. Is that the Billy ray Cyrus planet? (Achey Breaky Makey?)


lol nice

Its more like Ma, like "Hey ma, whats for dinner."

Ma-key Ma-key

Makemake
(This post was last modified: 05-29-2015 02:02 PM by ericsrevenge76.)
05-29-2015 02:02 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #67
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 02:02 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(05-29-2015 01:56 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  Thanks. Is that the Billy ray Cyrus planet? (Achey Breaky Makey?)


lol nice

Its more like Ma, like "Hey ma, whats for dinner."

Ma-key Ma-key

Makemake

LOL! Your comment reminded me of this:



05-29-2015 02:07 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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Post: #68
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
lol!
05-29-2015 02:08 PM
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firmbizzle Offline
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Post: #69
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 01:55 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(05-29-2015 01:52 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  So Eris is a planet too?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eris_(dwarf_planet)


Did you not read your own link? Its classified as a dwarf planet/Minor planet as well.

Eris is the largest Dwarf planet as of today. I imagine Nasa will be sending something its way too.

Yes. So how many planets are there?
05-29-2015 02:31 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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Post: #70
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(05-29-2015 02:31 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  Yes. So how many planets are there?


Which planets are you talking about? Major planets, minor planets, exoplanets, rouge planets?

There are several classifications of planets.

Sounds like you need a crash course in basic astronomy first.
(This post was last modified: 05-29-2015 02:45 PM by ericsrevenge76.)
05-29-2015 02:40 PM
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Post: #71
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
Pluto's Moons Are Even Weirder Than Thought
[Image: space_logo_140.jpg]
By Mike Wall
Wednesday, June 3, 2015


[Image: Pluto%27s_Moons_Are_Even_Weirder-cb0da1c...e2b8ff496a]
This illustration shows the scale and comparative brightness of Pluto’s small moons, as discovered by Hubble over the past years. Pluto’s binary companion, Charon — discovered in 1978 — is placed at the bottom for scale. As Hubble cannot resolve.

[Image: Pluto%27s_Moons_Are_Even_Weirder-45e9923...d17233ceba]
These illustrations of Pluto’s moon Nix show how the orientation of the moon changes unpredictably while it orbits the Pluto-Charon system.


Pluto's moons are even stranger and more intriguing than scientists imagined, a new study reveals.

The Pluto system consists of four tiny satellites — Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx — orbiting a "binary planet" comprised of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, which, at 750 miles (1,207 kilometers) in diameter, is nearly half as wide as the dwarf planet itself.

This binary setup has profoundly influenced the orbits of the four small moons, injecting chaos into their movements in ways not fully appreciated until now, the study suggests. [Photos of Pluto and Its Moons]

"It's a very strange place to live in if you are orbiting a binary planet," lead author Mark Showalter, of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California, told Space.com.

Brightness and size

Showalter and co-author Douglas Hamilton, of the University of Maryland, analyzed images of the Pluto system taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope between 2005 and 2012. (During this period, the observatory discovered all four of the dwarf planet's tiny known moons; Showalter led the teams that detected Kerberos and Styx.)

The two researchers used these photos — which captured brightness variations of the moons over time — and computer models to characterize the four small satellites and their orbits in unprecedented detail.

For example, Showalter and Hamilton derived new brightness and size estimates for the moons. They found that Nix and Hydra are likely about as bright as Charon, which reflects roughly 40 percent of the light that hits it.

Before the new study, "we didn't really know how big Nix and Hydra were, because we didn't know how bright they were," Showalter said. "And now, based on our analysis, we actually do pretty well know how big and how bright they are, so there are a lot of uncertainties about the properties of Nix and Hydra that have gone away now."

The Hubble images suggest that Hydra is around 28.2 miles (45.4 km) across, while Nix has a diameter of 24.6 miles (39.6 km) or so. Kerberos and Styx, meanwhile, are probably about 15.4 miles (24.8 km) and 4.2 miles (6.8 km) wide. (These latter two moons are tougher to characterize, because they are fainter than Nix and Hydra.)

These diameter estimates assume a spherical shape for the moons, which is likely not the reality; most if not all of the four tiny satellites are probably ellipsoidal, researchers said.

The duo's analysis also suggests that Kerberos is much darker than its fellow satellites, with a reflectivity of just 4 percent. Whereas Nix and Hydra are basically "dirty snowballs" in terms of reflectivity, "Kerberos is a charcoal briquet," Showalter said. [Pluto's 5 Moons Explained (Infographic)]

This result "took us completely by surprise, because everybody has been assuming all along that the moons would be pretty similar," he added. "They all probably formed at the same time; they all are made of the same stuff."

Astronomers think Pluto's four small moons were formed from the debris scattered by a long-ago giant impact between a proto-Pluto object and a proto-Charon. Perhaps the proto-Charon was a very dark body, and Kerberos is a relatively pristine piece of this original impactor, Showalter said, though he stressed that this idea is mere speculation.

Resonance and chaos

Showalter and Hamilton also determined that Styx, Nix and Hydra are linked by a "resonance," a sort of gravitational sweet spot in which orbits of multiple celestial bodies are related by a ratio of two whole numbers. A similar three-body resonance is found among the Jupiter moons Io, Europa and Ganymede, the researchers said.

"The resonant relationship between Nix, Styx and Hydra makes their orbits more regular and predictable, which prevents them from crashing into one another," Hamilton said in a statement. "This is one reason why tiny Pluto is able to have so many moons."

But there is also quite a bit of chaos in the Pluto system, imparted by the complex and shifting gravitational field of the Pluto-Charon binary.

For instance, Showalter and Hamilton found that Nix and Hydra exhibit chaotic rather than synchronous rotation, meaning they don't always keep the same side facing Pluto-Charon — and that it's very tough to predict their rotational movement. (Nearly every other moon in the solar system, including Earth's, is a synchronous rotator.)

"If you lived on Nix, you would not know if the sun is coming up tomorrow; it is that extreme," Showalter said, adding that models suggest that Styx and Kerberos are chaotic rotators as well. "You'd have days where the sun rises in the east and sets in the north."

Such findings could help researchers better understand the many alien planets that orbit binary stars, researchers said.

"We are learning that chaos may be a common trait of binary systems," Hamilton said. "It might even have consequences for life on planets orbiting binary stars."

New Horizons and beyond

The new study was published online in the journal Nature today (June 3), just six weeks ahead of the first-ever Pluto flyby. On July 14, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will zoom within 7,800 miles (12,500 km) of the dwarf planet's surface.

New Horizons should get good looks at the surfaces of Nix and Hydra, and the probe's observations will likely reveal how dark Kerberos is, Showalter said.

Data from the flyby, as well as continued long-term monitoring by Hubble and NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch in 2018, could end up bringing Pluto's moons into sharp focus, he added.

"We've got pieces to start fitting together, and maybe eventually out of this we'll get a whole formation scenario for the [Pluto] system," Showalter said.
06-04-2015 09:12 AM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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Post: #72
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
Simply awesome stuff, and we don't even have any good pics to see yet. Those in the article are just theoretical illustrations. This thing is really moving, so we should get an amazing amounts of breathtaking pics over a very short period of days, relatively speaking.
06-04-2015 09:28 AM
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Post: #73
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
Complex Terrain Of Pluto Gets Clearer In New Horizons' Pics

by: Brid-Aine Parnell , Contributor

The surface of Pluto is coming into focus as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft gets closer to its flyby next month.

A series of new pics snapped by the probe’s onboard Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at the end of May and start of June show that Pluto’s has a complex terrain, with very bright and very dark areas as well as grades in between.

“Even though the latest images were made from more than 30 million miles away, they show an increasingly complex surface with clear evidence of discrete equatorial bright and dark regions—some that may also have variations in brightness,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, in a statement.

“We can also see that every face of Pluto is different and that Pluto’s northern hemisphere displays substantial dark terrains, though both Pluto’s darkest and its brightest known terrain units are just south of, or on, its equator. Why this is so is an emerging puzzle.”

[Image: Complex-Terrain-Of-Pluto-Gets-Clearer-In...s-Pics.jpg]
These images, taken by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), show four different “faces” of Pluto as it rotates about its axis with a period of 6.4 days. (Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

New Horizons sends back raw, unprocessed images to the team’s scientists, who use a technique called deconvolution to sharpen up the pictures. In these latest images, the team has also upped the contrast to try to bring out as much detail as possible about the dwarf planet.

However, deconvolution can sometimes produce artifacts, so the scientists will have to compare images taken from closer range to be sure that these latest snaps are showing the full picture. Pluto also appears to not be a sphere in the images, but this is just a result of the processing of the pictures.

“We’re squeezing as much information as we can out of these images, and seeing details we’ve never seen before,” said New Horizons Project Scientists Hal Weaver, from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

“We’ve seen evidence of light and dark spots in Hubble Space Telescope images and in previous New Horizons pictures, but these new images indicate an increasingly complex and nuanced surface. Now, we want to start to learn more about what these various surface units might be and what’s causing them. By early July we will have spectroscopic data to help pinpoint that.”

One theory that the scientists have already put forward is that a very bright area at one pole could be a polar ice-cap, but New Horizons needs to get closer to verify it.

The spacecraft will be the first to get close to the dwarf planet at the edge of our Solar System and is scheduled to make its closest flyby of Pluto on July 14.

New Horizons only gets one shot at the flyby, after which it will continue rocketing out towards the rest of the Kuiper Belt surrounding our neighborhood planets.

Pluto and its five moons have been examined by telescope, but New Horizons’ close pass will give scientists a wealth of new information, so much that the craft will likely still be returning packets of data back to Earth up to 16 months after the rendezvous.
06-14-2015 11:17 PM
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Post: #74
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
It's alive! Comet lander Philae phones home after months of silence

[Image: space_logo_140.jpg]
By Tariq Malik, Sunday, June 14, 2015

[Image: Its_Alive_Comet_Lander_Philae-ea0792e50a...1bada72d8b]

A European probe that made a bouncy landing on a comet last year, and then slipped into a silent hibernation, is alive again and phoning home.

The European Space Agency's Philae comet lander, which dropped onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from the Rosetta spacecraft last November, beamed an 85-second wake-up message to Earth via Rosetta yesterday (June 13), ESA officials announced today. It was the first signal from Philae in seven months since the probe fell silent on Nov. 15 after its historic comet landing.

"Philae is doing very well," Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), said in a statement. "The lander is ready for operations." [See more comet photos from Rosetta and Philae]

According to Ulamec, Philae is currently experience temperatures of minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 35 degrees Celsius) and has about 24 watts of power available. During its wake-up call to Earth, Philae beamed 300 data packets home and was most likely active before the first signal reached Earth on Saturday, ESA officials said.

"We have also received historical data – so far, however, the lander had not been able to contact us earlier," Ulamec said in the same statement.

Philae is a solar-powered probe about the size of a washing machine that landed on Comet 67P on Nov. 12, 2014. It dropped to the surface from its mothership Rosetta, but bounced twice when its anchor-like harpoon system failed to secure it to the surface. The probe ultimately ended up in the shadow of a cliff face on the comet. After about 60 hours the probe's batteries ran out and it went into hibernation on Nov. 15.

Over the last seven months, Rosetta and Philae mission scientists in Europe have hoped that once Comet 67P approached closer to the sun, Philae might receive enough sunlight to wake itself up from its forced slumber. Those hopes, it seems, have finally been realized.
ESA officials said Philae has more details about Comet 67P to share with scientists on Earth.

"Now the scientists are waiting for the next contact," ESA officials wrote in a statement. "There are still more than 8,000 data packets in Philae’s mass memory which will give the DLR team information on what happened to the lander in the past few days on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko."

The Rosetta comet mission launched toward Comet 67P in 2004 and traveled 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) over 10 years to reach its destination. Rosetta arrived at the comet in August 2014 and is expected to continue studying 67P through December.

[Image: Its_Alive_Comet_Lander_Philae-f25ddf077a...c2919b85ea]
These images from the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft show the approach of the Philae comet lander (insets) to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on Nov. 12, 2015, including views of the probe's bounces on the surface.
06-14-2015 11:36 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #75
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
While we're waiting for more new pictures from the Pluto-New Horizons spacecraft...here's something related that is an interesting perspective:





POV of rising weather balloon captured — VIDEO
Posted June 20, 2015 - 3:51pmUpdated June 20, 2015 - 3:59pm

By RON PAUL GAVINO
REVIEWJOURNAL.COM

Now this is a view that you’ll remember. And it’s conveniently right on the computer screen.

Thanks to YouTube user, WiredToTheCore, you can experience the view of climbing to the top of Earth’s atmosphere and then dropping right back down.

The six-minute video shows the footage captured from a camera strapped to a weather balloon released in Carbon, Alberta, Canada. While the footage is usually shaky and dizzying, it does well to show off the amazing scenery around it.

At the height of the clouds, you can see the vast green plains and the little town adjacent to the launch area.

After a cut, all that can be seen are clouds all around. Slowly, you start to make out Earth’s horizon. Then finally you see the blackness that is space.

It’s a surreal experience, seeing the edge of life as we know it.

After a few minutes of enjoying the scenery (and the strangely motivational music in the background) the balloon pops, and the camera begins its descent back to Earth. You can even see the falling remains of the balloon.

A good portion of the re-entry is captured, including the camera’s crash landing on the grassy fields from where it started.
06-22-2015 11:04 AM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #76
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
....and here we go with color Pluto/Charon orbit video from only about 48 million miles out. Weird wild stuff, Johnny:

Pluto and its Moon Charon, Now in Color
June 19, 2015





The first color movies from NASA’s New Horizons mission show Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, and the complex orbital dance of the two bodies, known as a double planet.

“It’s exciting to see Pluto and Charon in motion and in color,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “Even at this low resolution, we can see that Pluto and Charon have different colors—Pluto is beige-orange, while Charon is grey. Exactly why they are so different is the subject of debate.”

New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, zipping by about 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface. It’s the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, a relic of solar system formation beyond Neptune. Sending a spacecraft on this almost 3-billion mile journey will help us answer basic questions about the surface properties, atmospheres, and moons of the Pluto system.

These near-true color movies were assembled from images made in three colors — blue, red and near-infrared – by the Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera on the instrument known as Ralph, a “Honeymooners” reference that classic TV fans can appreciate. The images were taken on nine different occasions from May 29-June 3.

Although the two movies were prepared from the same images, they display the Pluto-Charon pair from different perspectives. One movie is “Pluto-centric”, meaning that Charon is shown as it moves in relation to Pluto, which is digitally centered in the movie. (The North Pole of Pluto is at the top.) Pluto makes one turn around its axis every 6 days, 9 hours and 17.6 minutes—the same amount of time that Charon rotates in its orbit. Looking closely at the images in this movie, one can detect a regular shift in Pluto’s brightness—due to the brighter and darker terrains on its differing faces.

(click story link above for rest of story)
06-22-2015 11:21 AM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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Post: #77
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
Just being Orange is a real surprise. Scientist have been suggesting it would be a blue, icy world for decades.
06-23-2015 01:13 AM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #78
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
I'm a bit surprised that we can't get better resolution yet, less than a month out. I guess it has to do with how relatively little light there is that far out from the sun. I understand they will be having a live event day on July 14 during closest encounter. I remember when Voyager went to Neptune for the first time. I have an old videotape of the live coverage of the first close photos as they were being beamed back. Unfortunately, I taped over some old MTV videos from back in the day...while the Neptune coverage is very cool to have, I would also like to have some of those old videos from when MTV actually showed music not garbage programs.

..But I digress. I am super excited to see Pluto and its moons up close. I hope the funding for this mission continues to send images back from the Kuiper belt. I understand a planned mission to one of Jupiter's moons is in the offing. I maintain my position that it would be worthwhile to have a probe/satellite orbiting every planet by now.
06-23-2015 11:35 AM
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Post: #79
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(06-23-2015 11:35 AM)GoodOwl Wrote:  I'm a bit surprised that we can't get better resolution yet, less than a month out. I guess it has to do with how relatively little light there is that far out from the sun. I understand they will be having a live event day on July 14 during closest encounter. I remember when Voyager went to Neptune for the first time. I have an old videotape of the live coverage of the first close photos as they were being beamed back. Unfortunately, I taped over some old MTV videos from back in the day...while the Neptune coverage is very cool to have, I would also like to have some of those old videos from when MTV actually showed music not garbage programs.

..But I digress. I am super excited to see Pluto and its moons up close. I hope the funding for this mission continues to send images back from the Kuiper belt. I understand a planned mission to one of Jupiter's moons is in the offing. I maintain my position that it would be worthwhile to have a probe/satellite orbiting every planet by now.


Its still about 15 million miles away, and some of the pictures were probably taken when the distance was even further.

They are getting better by the minute though. Here's a new photo of Charon showing a dark spot.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bridaineparn...utos-moon/

And I believe this picture was taken weeks ago. The pictures being taken today are probably much better than the ones they have been releasing.
(This post was last modified: 06-23-2015 11:50 AM by UofMstateU.)
06-23-2015 11:49 AM
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Post: #80
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-29-2015 12:22 AM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 11:45 PM)UCF08 Wrote:  Well, isnt pluto not really a planet? If thats the case id assume there are more objects of similar sizes out beyond it, yes? If not, the distinction doesnt matter and wouldnt have been made most likely.

Its a planet.

They have simply reclassified it as a ice dwarf planet.

The reason Pluto's classification was changed because its orbit is aligned with the Kuiper belt.

There are some other dwarf planets in the kuiper belt, and some are still waiting to be discovered.

[Image: tr401atg-w800h800z1-9177-dear-nasa.jpg]
06-23-2015 12:57 PM
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