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OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
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I45owl Offline
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Post: #41
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
(01-01-2019 03:58 AM)Almadenmike Wrote:  
(12-31-2018 06:23 PM)I45owl Wrote:  
(12-29-2018 02:50 PM)sts60 Wrote:  I had an almost vanishingly small role supporting the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) powering this spacecraft. Trivia note: it was actually a flight spare for Cassini, and was refurbished with a mix of re-refined American and Russian plutonium (we used to buy Pu-238 from the Russians).
ETA: it’s the black finned double cylinder projecting to the lower left.
I used to try to argue with a friend that these probes did not actually have nuclear reactors sent into space, but were you aware of the (one, and I believe it was only one) actual reactor that was sent into space?
The SNAP-10A was the first -- and only -- reactor that the U.S. sent into space. But more than a dozen of the USSR's Cosmos launches included a reactor.

Even I find the latter a bit scary... the Soviets didn't have or earn the reputation for safety or sustainability planning. RTGs seem pretty foolproof, though there are various overblown concerns about what may happen if a rocket were to fail on launch and/or if it were to descend back to earth. I believe the US uses RTGs for probes... I'm unsure about whether they are used for satellites.

The timeframe of operation to descent into orbit should be such that the most dangerous elements (among them Cesium-137) that result from fission reactors should be minimal or gone by the time you have to worry about them.
01-03-2019 01:19 PM
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Almadenmike Offline
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Post: #42
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
(01-03-2019 01:19 PM)I45owl Wrote:  
(01-01-2019 03:58 AM)Almadenmike Wrote:  
(12-31-2018 06:23 PM)I45owl Wrote:  
(12-29-2018 02:50 PM)sts60 Wrote:  I had an almost vanishingly small role supporting the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) powering this spacecraft. Trivia note: it was actually a flight spare for Cassini, and was refurbished with a mix of re-refined American and Russian plutonium (we used to buy Pu-238 from the Russians).
ETA: it’s the black finned double cylinder projecting to the lower left.
I used to try to argue with a friend that these probes did not actually have nuclear reactors sent into space, but were you aware of the (one, and I believe it was only one) actual reactor that was sent into space?
The SNAP-10A was the first -- and only -- reactor that the U.S. sent into space. But more than a dozen of the USSR's Cosmos launches included a reactor.
Even I find the latter a bit scary... the Soviets didn't have or earn the reputation for safety or sustainability planning. ...

The most famous Cosmos/Kosmos satellite/reactor was #954, which broke up and descended to earth, leaving a trail of debris across far-northern Canada on January 24, 1978.

This is a good summary: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/ope...most-14411

Quote:Soviet engineers designed the RORSATs to ascend to a higher orbit at their end of mission, and eject their reactor cores into a centuries-long "graveyard orbit." But not every maneuver went smoothly. ...

Kosmos 954's reactor core contained over 100 pounds of highly enriched uranium, formed into carbide BBs and encased in carbon disks like hockey pucks. Kosmos 954 ran its reactor for over for four months, generating fission products like plutonium, cesium and strontium. Should one of these fuel pucks arrive intact on Earth, its lethal radiation could kill from up to 1,000 feet away. ...

Kosmos 954's debris field covered 15,000 square miles across the Northwest Territories from Great Slave Lake to Baker Lake. In minus-sixty-degree weather, search teams aboard helicopters flew out across the northern lands seeking out both chunks of Soviet hardware and the 10,000 people living in the debris field. It was so cold that instrument batteries had to be kept inside crew parkas, lest they lose charge in minutes. ...

For Russia, the inheritor of the Soviet Union's space assets and liabilities, the RORSATs remain a problem. Space debris experts have identified a belt of metal droplets orbiting the Earth, a metal fog of orbiting danger. These droplets are blobs of liquid metal coolant released when the RORSAT reactors were ejected. ...

From the Wikipedia page:
Quote:Kosmos 954 was not the first nuclear-powered RORSAT to fail; a launch of a similar satellite in 1973 failed, dropping its reactor into the Pacific Ocean north of Japan. Kosmos 1402 also failed, dropping its reactor into the South Atlantic in 1983. Subsequent RORSATs were equipped with a backup core ejection mechanism – when the primary failed on Kosmos 1900 in 1988 this system succeeded in raising the core to a safe disposal orbit.
01-03-2019 07:14 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #43
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
[Image: ultimathule_124.png?w=990&crop=1]
The latest image from the probe, which shows the rocky world in considerably greater detail.

Ultima Thule shows its lumps in latest images from New Horizons flyby
(This post was last modified: 01-26-2019 03:27 AM by GoodOwl.)
01-26-2019 03:24 AM
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owl at the moon Offline
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Post: #44
OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
Quote:To give you a sense of scale, the big concavity in what you might call the head of the snowman is about 4 miles across. The team writes in a blog post:

Not clear is whether these pits are impact craters or features resulting from other processes, such as “collapse pits” or the ancient venting of volatile materials.

My theory is that the smaller lobe was spinning relatively fast at first impact. I think the concavity in the head of the snowman is the original impact crater from when these two collided on the sharp mountain of Ultima where they connected. They briefly bounced apart, then came to rest a quarter-turn later.

And the bright ring is the icy debris from that collision.

I’m not an astrophysicist, just a hobbyist who likes astronomy. So I’m not planning to publish my ‘theory’ other than right here. Feel free to cite this post, though, if it turns out to be right. :)
01-27-2019 09:17 AM
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loki_the_bubba Offline
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Post: #45
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
Have they decided which lobe is Ultima and which one is Thule?
01-27-2019 11:00 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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Post: #46
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
(01-27-2019 11:00 AM)loki_the_bubba Wrote:  Have they decided which lobe is Ultima and which one is Thule?

Ultima is the big one and Thule is the smaller one.
01-27-2019 11:54 AM
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Almadenmike Offline
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Post: #47
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
(01-27-2019 11:54 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(01-27-2019 11:00 AM)loki_the_bubba Wrote:  Have they decided which lobe is Ultima and which one is Thule?

Ultima is the big one and Thule is the smaller one.

Yes.

Here's a screenshot from a January 2 article that mentions that ... and has a graphic of how the scientists think the material coalesced.

[Image: 31954197267_3979074227_c.jpg]
01-27-2019 12:06 PM
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OptimisticOwl Offline
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Post: #48
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
(01-27-2019 12:06 PM)Almadenmike Wrote:  
(01-27-2019 11:54 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(01-27-2019 11:00 AM)loki_the_bubba Wrote:  Have they decided which lobe is Ultima and which one is Thule?

Ultima is the big one and Thule is the smaller one.

Yes.

Here's a screenshot from a January 2 article that mentions that ... and has a graphic of how the scientists think the material coalesced.

[Image: 31954197267_3979074227_c.jpg]

I think in the modern fashion of combining the names of a pair into one we should call this Thultima.
(This post was last modified: 01-27-2019 12:25 PM by OptimisticOwl.)
01-27-2019 12:24 PM
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I45owl Offline
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Post: #49
RE: OT: PLUTO Press Conferences- New images-explanations
Back on the Nuclear Reactors in space theme, I came across the discussion of NASA's KRUSTY program, announced recently.

01-30-2019 01:45 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #50
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
(01-30-2019 01:45 PM)I45owl Wrote:  Back on the Nuclear Reactors in space theme, I came across the discussion of NASA's KRUSTY program, announced recently.


Per your post, changed Thread title as there's a lot going on/upcoming in NASA/Space news relevant to our alum base.
02-03-2019 10:33 AM
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I45owl Offline
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Post: #51
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
(02-03-2019 10:33 AM)GoodOwl Wrote:  Per your post, changed Thread title as there's a lot going on/upcoming in NASA/Space news relevant to our alum base.

Thanks, but that's a dangerous precedent you are setting. Any given thread in this forum is liable to go nuclear, though we rarely go full Godwin.
02-03-2019 02:48 PM
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georgewebb Offline
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Post: #52
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
(02-03-2019 02:48 PM)I45owl Wrote:  
(02-03-2019 10:33 AM)GoodOwl Wrote:  Per your post, changed Thread title as there's a lot going on/upcoming in NASA/Space news relevant to our alum base.

Thanks, but that's a dangerous precedent you are setting. Any given thread in this forum is liable to go nuclear, though we rarely go full Godwin.

We can all be thankful that Godwin's subject didn't go nuclear 03-wink
02-03-2019 02:51 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #53
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
[Image: new-horizons-kuiper-belt-paths.jpg?inter...|1024:1024]
New Horizons and Ultima Thule will be 4.1 billion miles away when it visits the Kuiper Belt object. This chart shows the path of New Horizons compared to other probes that have left the solar system. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

NASA's New Horizons Just Made the Most Distant Flyby in Space History. So, What's Next?
02-04-2019 03:18 AM
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loki_the_bubba Offline
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Post: #54
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
The snowman is more like a pancake, or a dented walnut, or....something.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47187733
02-11-2019 05:33 PM
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billstudabaker Offline
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Post: #55
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
More like a couple of English muffins, or biscuits.

Mmmmm... breakfast.
02-11-2019 05:36 PM
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westsidewolf1989 Offline
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Post: #56
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
The Baker Institute is hosting an interesting talk next month with a former Johnson Space Center director.

https://www.bakerinstitute.org/events/1984/
02-11-2019 07:07 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #57
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
(02-11-2019 05:33 PM)loki_the_bubba Wrote:  The snowman is more like a pancake, or a dented walnut, or....something.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47187733

The thing I love about space exploration is that just when we think we've figured something out something new emerges from additional data. One heckuva plan. I needs me some more popcorn for this ride. Thanks to those that saw fit to fund this ship's wild ride...here's to many, many more to come!

[Image: _105587939_1.jpg]
now it looks like a coupla Milk Duds that got smashed together and melted a bit in the box.

[Image: milkdud1.jpg?w=500&h=334]
[Image: milkdud3.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2019 02:39 AM by GoodOwl.)
02-15-2019 02:35 AM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #58
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
Neptune's newfound moon, Hippocamp, might be left over from a comet crash

link: https://www.cnet.com/news/neptune-newfou...met-crash/

The Neptune neighbor, missed until now, offers clues to how moons form and shows once again that space is more crowded than it seems.


[Image: moon-size-comparisons.jpg]
02-27-2019 05:12 AM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #59
RE: OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
03-08-2019 12:08 AM
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owl at the moon Offline
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Post: #60
OT: NASA/Space Thread also PLUTO/New Horizons
(03-08-2019 12:08 AM)GoodOwl Wrote:  Scientists solve weighty matter of Milky Way mass

[Image: 594b94a2cd86aa4de26ad2226cd44e190cb91281.jpg]

1.5 trillion solar masses.
Interesting.
Also, several flagged this as problematic in the comments:
Quote:The Milky Way, the galaxy which contains Earth's solar system, is home to up to 400 billion stars and an estimated 100 billion planets.
03-08-2019 12:38 AM
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