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NASA / Space Exploration Thread incl. Pluto-New Horizons
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #1
NASA / Space Exploration Thread incl. Pluto-New Horizons
Remember following Voyagers 1 and 2 on their Grand Tour years ago. This summer will be the final time we really get to see a whole new world (planet or dwarf planet system) like this in most of our lifetimes. pretty exciting!

1st Color Image of Pluto Snapped by Approaching NASA Probe (Photo)
[Image: space_logo_140.jpg]SPACE.com By Nola Taylor Redd
April 15, 2015 11:23 AM

[Image: 1st_Color_Image_of_Pluto-b934b23a006dddf...00e1b41a0c]
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft returns its first color photos of Pluto (center) and its largest moon, Charon (lower left).

NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto has returned its first color image of the dwarf planet and its largest moon, Charon.

The new photo, taken on April 9 from a distance of about 71 million miles (115 million kilometers), is already revealing insights about Pluto and Charon, as well as suggestions of the science to come when New Horizons flies by the Pluto system on July 14, NASA officials said.

The image reveals "tantalizing glimpses of this system," Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said during a news conference Tuesday (April 14), the day the photo was released. [Photos of Pluto and Its Moons]

"You can immediately see a number of differences" between Pluto and Charon, Green added.

For example, Charon is dimmer than Pluto. The contrast may be due to a difference in composition of the two bodies, or it could even be caused by a previously unseen atmosphere on Charon, Green said. The uncertainty should clear up this summer, when New Horizons gets history's first good look at the two frigid, faraway objects.

Pluto is getting its first close-up decades after planets such as Venus, Mars and Neptune received theirs. The delay means New Horizons is able to bring some pretty advanced scientific gear to the job.

New Horizons "is a real 21st century exploration spacecraft, with tremendous capability," mission principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, said during Tuesday's news conference. "It is in perfect health, full of fuel and carrying a scientific arsenal — the most powerful suite of science instruments ever brought to bear on the first reconnaissance of a planet."

One of those is the Ralph color imager, which captured the new color photo of Pluto and Charon.

A new class of planets

In the early days of planetary exploration, there were two broad categories of planets — the rocky terrestrial planets from Mercury to Mars, and the enormous gas giants of Jupiter and beyond. Pluto was classified as a planet, but it was something of an oddball at the outer edges of the solar system.

Over the past few decades, it has become increasingly clear that Pluto is not so odd after all. In fact, it is just one of many similar objects in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune's orbit.

"Fundamentally, we're going to Pluto because it's the human race's first opportunity to study an entirely new class of world," New Horizons co-investigator William McKinnon, of Washington University in St. Louis, said during the news conference.

When the New Horizons mission began taking shape, scientists knew about only one moon of Pluto — Charon, which is nearly 50 percent as wide as the dwarf planet. Since then, astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to discover four additional — and much smaller — moons around Pluto.

There may be yet more moons waiting to be discovered, as well as a ring system or debris fields around Pluto. Such features could present a collision risk to New Horizons, but mission team members aren't too concerned.

"As we did more testing of the spacecraft components back on Earth, our degree of concern declined with time," Stern said. "The probability of something severe happening to New Horizons is very low —significantly less than 1 percent — around one in 10,000."

That doesn't mean the team is taking potential dangers lightly. They've worked out alternate paths for the spacecraft to take if it appears to be in danger.

"We want to make sure we've taken every precaution to have a successful mission with New Horizons," Stern said... ciick link at top to read the rest of the article.
(This post was last modified: 07-08-2019 09:05 PM by GoodOwl.)
04-28-2015 03:55 AM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
I've been following this mission for several years now. The last few weeks have been thrilling and the coming month will be spectacular.

We are the first humans EVER to see Pluto and its moons. Even the Hubble can only manage a tiny blurry circle.

I've waited for this since I was 5-6 years old. I had many telescopes as a child and spent many hours scanning the skies.

Its hard to believe its actually happening now, but it is.
(This post was last modified: 04-28-2015 04:17 AM by ericsrevenge76.)
04-28-2015 04:14 AM
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GoodOwl Offline
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 04:14 AM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  I've been following this mission for several years now. The last few weeks have been thrilling and the coming month will be spectacular.

We are the first humans EVER to see Pluto and its moons. Even the Hubble can only manage a tiny blurry circle.

I've waited for this since I was 5-6 years old. I had many telescopes as a child and spent many hours scanning the skies.

Its hard to believe its actually happening now, but it is.

I know. This story is is refreshing and, as you say, spectacular, that it shows what a shame all the stuff that passes for "news" today is. This is like wondering what the new "Star Wars" will be like (I've read the expanded synopsis, it will be decent) only for REAL! Hoping people will post additional images, data and stories as New Horizons races closer every day.

I do also hope that Congress approves the relatively small amount of additional funding needed to finally send this probe onto the Kuiper belt so we can have a chance to examine that area and gain important new insights in our lifetime. Exciting times!
04-28-2015 07:22 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 07:22 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 04:14 AM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  I've been following this mission for several years now. The last few weeks have been thrilling and the coming month will be spectacular.

We are the first humans EVER to see Pluto and its moons. Even the Hubble can only manage a tiny blurry circle.

I've waited for this since I was 5-6 years old. I had many telescopes as a child and spent many hours scanning the skies.

Its hard to believe its actually happening now, but it is.

I know. This story is is refreshing and, as you say, spectacular, that it shows what a shame all the stuff that passes for "news" today is. This is like wondering what the new "Star Wars" will be like (I've read the expanded synopsis, it will be decent) only for REAL! Hoping people will post additional images, data and stories as New Horizons races closer every day.

I do also hope that Congress approves the relatively small amount of additional funding needed to finally send this probe onto the Kuiper belt so we can have a chance to examine that area and gain important new insights in our lifetime. Exciting times!


I couldn't agree more.
04-28-2015 09:28 PM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.
04-28-2015 09:42 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.
04-28-2015 10:07 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

I remember a funny quip by Neil Degrasse Tyson which was basically along the lines of "of course it's the fastest thing they built, researchers want to be alive by the time they get to complete their experiments".
04-28-2015 10:10 PM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 10:10 PM)UCF08 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

I remember a funny quip by Neil Degrasse Tyson which was basically along the lines of "of course it's the fastest thing they built, researchers want to be alive by the time they get to complete their experiments".
You can't mention him here. He is the devil.
04-28-2015 10:14 PM
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UCF08 Offline
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
I know, I just thought it was a good way to put it and didn't want to take credit for it when it wasn't my thought.
04-28-2015 10:17 PM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 10:10 PM)UCF08 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

I remember a funny quip by Neil Degrasse Tyson which was basically along the lines of "of course it's the fastest thing they built, researchers want to be alive by the time they get to complete their experiments".

When they spoke about the mission prior to the launch, the described having to select rather young team members due to the mission length. I'm sure that made the 50 year olds feel real good.
04-28-2015 10:38 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 10:38 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:10 PM)UCF08 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

I remember a funny quip by Neil Degrasse Tyson which was basically along the lines of "of course it's the fastest thing they built, researchers want to be alive by the time they get to complete their experiments".

When they spoke about the mission prior to the launch, the described having to select rather young team members due to the mission length. I'm sure that made the 50 year olds feel real good.


I thought the same thing as well lol
(This post was last modified: 04-28-2015 10:47 PM by ericsrevenge76.)
04-28-2015 10:47 PM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

Not too long ago, major stories like this were dominant in the headlines and people's conversations. This is a truly amazing feat of mankind's engineering! Hope no glitches from here on so we get as much data relayed as possible.
04-28-2015 11:37 PM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
It may be just hype to pump funding for additional projects but there is some discussion of additional bodies in orbit of the Sun beyond Pluto.
04-28-2015 11:42 PM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
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.
04-28-2015 11:45 PM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-28-2015 11:37 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

Not too long ago, major stories like this were dominant in the headlines and people's conversations. This is a truly amazing feat of mankind's engineering! Hope no glitches from here on so we get as much data relayed as possible.

Indeed

They said this week everything is functioning perfectly and they are anticipating no mechanical failures at this point.

VERY EXCITING
(This post was last modified: 04-29-2015 07:44 AM by ericsrevenge76.)
04-29-2015 12:19 AM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(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.
04-29-2015 12:22 AM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-29-2015 12:19 AM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 11:37 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

Not too long ago, major stories like this were dominant in the headlines and people's conversations. This is a truly amazing feat of mankind's engineering! Hope no glitches from here on so we get as much data relayed as possible.

Indeed

They said this week everything is functioning perfectly and they are anticipation no mechanical failures at this point.

VERY EXCITING

NASA does all of their calculations in metric.
04-29-2015 07:23 AM
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ericsrevenge76 Away
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-29-2015 07:23 AM)vandiver49 Wrote:  
(04-29-2015 12:19 AM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 11:37 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

Not too long ago, major stories like this were dominant in the headlines and people's conversations. This is a truly amazing feat of mankind's engineering! Hope no glitches from here on so we get as much data relayed as possible.

Indeed

They said this week everything is functioning perfectly and they are anticipation no mechanical failures at this point.

VERY EXCITING

NASA does all of their calculations in metric.


makes it easier to consult and work with scientists from all over the word.
04-29-2015 07:44 AM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-29-2015 07:23 AM)vandiver49 Wrote:  
(04-29-2015 12:19 AM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 11:37 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 10:07 PM)ericsrevenge76 Wrote:  
(04-28-2015 09:42 PM)UofMstateU Wrote:  I remember when this mission was launched. The sheer speed was outrageous. Over 36,000MPH. It took just over 3 days for an Apollo mission to reach the moon. New Horizons flung past it in a matter of hours. It passed by the orbit of Mars in just months, and swung past Jupiter in just 13 months, which is about half the time it took Voyager to get there.


Its the fastest moving object NASA has ever built.

Not too long ago, major stories like this were dominant in the headlines and people's conversations. This is a truly amazing feat of mankind's engineering! Hope no glitches from here on so we get as much data relayed as possible.

Indeed

They said this week everything is functioning perfectly and they are anticipation no mechanical failures at this point.

VERY EXCITING

NASA does all of their calculations in metric.

There is an interesting aside to this that is a very good example on the development of science.

When the New Horizons was launched in 2005, there was a pre-calculated trajectory programmed in to the mission. Mid course corrections could also be made.

Now if on the same day of the launch, an astronomer wanted to determine where to point his telescope on the day the craft would arrive at Pluto, he could do so using the equations developed by Newton and Lagrange.

The craft itself, would start with Newton/Lagrange, but would have to make adjustments based on both Special and General Relativity.

In other words, Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation is "pretty good" but Einstein's General Relativity is much better. Who knows where we'll be if quantum gravity is ever understood.
04-29-2015 07:59 AM
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RE: Pluto -NASA space mission flyby (and maybe to Kuiper Belt afterwards!)
(04-29-2015 07:23 AM)vandiver49 Wrote:  NASA does all of their calculations in metric.

That's a good thing because...........

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04-29-2015 08:06 AM
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