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Images of Pluto and Charon continue to captivate Nasa: 'This world is alive'

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posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:05 PM
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I know there have been other threads about Pluto and Charon, but I didn't see one referencing an announcement this Thursday.

Reading this article has me excited as to the conclusions or things they may have stumbled upon!

I know Im getting overly hopeful, but they are directing this announcement it looks like towards the "stain" on Charon. How amazing would it be if they had reason to believe this was something akin to algae blooms under the ice or something crazy like that, Im sure its not, but that type of speculation is always fun.

Heres a link to the article:

www.theguardian.com...


The newest images and data from Pluto continue to astound Nasa scientists, lead researcher Alan Stern said on Monday, telling a university hall that “2015 will be a year in textbooks forever” as the point when mankind unveiled the world on the edge of its solar system. “This world is alive,” Stern said of Pluto to a packed room at the University of Alberta. “It has weather, it has hazes in the atmosphere, active geology.” Last week Nasa released its highest resolution photos yet of the dwarf planet and its largest moon, Charon, revealing new mysteries that its spacecraft New Horizons had uncovered at the edge of the solar system. The space agency plans to unveil new data and images on Thursday. “Every week I am floored,” Stern said. “Nasa won’t let me tell you what we’re going to tell you on Thursday. It’s amazing.” Charon’s dark red pole poses an enigma to scientists, Stern said, admitting “we don’t know anything like it in the solar system. We don’t know if it’s a stain, if it’s a material or something else.” The moon shows a variety of terrains, including a canyon that runs 1,500 miles across the moon’s face, four times larger than the Grand Canyon and in places at least twice as deep as the American gorge, which cuts a mile into the earth on average. “It looks like the entire crust of Charon has been split open,” John Spencer, deputy lead scientist on the geology and geophysics imaging team, said in a statement. The photos also show relatively smooth, crater-less plains south of the canyon, with ridges and grooves that suggest a varied and recently active surface, rather than the typical moon pockmarked with craters that many scientists had expected. The researchers have at least one theory for what could have caused the surface to shift and change on a world so far from the sun: cold volcanoes driven by an internal ocean, a system known as cryovolcanism. “An internal water ocean could have frozen long ago, and the resulting volume change could have led to Charon cracking open, allowing water-based lavas to reach the surface at that time,” Paul Schenk, a New Horizons researcher, said in the statement.



Similarly, recent images from Pluto continue to bemuse and delight the researchers. One photo shows a bizarre landscape of rolling and grooved mountains, about 330 miles across, nicknamed the “snakeskin” by Nasa scientists and described by Bill McKinnon, a Nasa geology and geophysics researcher, as “more like tree bark or dragon scales than geology”. The ridges, vertically aligned and hundreds of meters tall, could be eroded material or structures that somehow grew out of the planet, Stern said. “They’re like flatirons on the side of mountains. We’ve never seen anything like that elsewhere on any of the planets or their satellites.” McKinnon said the researchers could not be sure what caused the ridges, but that the mountains could have been caused by internal forces as well as ice sublimating into gas as it sunlight finally reaches Pluto, which is on average more than 3.67bn miles away. Recent photos also show what Stern called “vast fields of features that look like dunes”, the shore of a disappearing glacial lake, and the fractured and steep cliffs of water ice mountains. Pluto’s atmosphere is currently too thin for any wind to shape dunes from the world’s open plains, meaning the origin of the fields – which could be made of volatile ice, sediment, tiny rock shards or something else – remains unknown. The field of ice may rest within a giant crater, according to one theory mentioned by Sterns, or liquid nitrogen may be flowing beneath the plains, moving viscous and smooth under the splintered glaciers. Other features on the dwarf planet suggest a time when Pluto had a stronger atmosphere that could support “running rivers of nitrogen”, Sterns said.



Newly downloaded images also revealed a startling array of colors all over the dwarf planet. On the snakeskin mountains, informally named Tartarus Dorsa, the rippled pattern of ridges and troughs alternates between blue-gray heights and reddish material, possibly sediment, in the grooves between. Spencer said the surface showed “a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges and deep reds”, and that “many landforms have their own distinct colors”, each a potential clue about the landscape’s origins. Data downloaded in September have set other puzzles for the researchers as well. The wide plain pitted with dunelike scallops, known to the scientists as Sputnik Planum, has a high concentration of methane, while the southern region called Cthulhu Regio has virtually none except in a few ridges and craters. Researcher Will Grundy said the scientists at this point do not know whether the odd pattern was because methane is more likely to condense in the plains and crater rims, or whether the methane ice itself brightens those regions.



New Horizons became the first spacecraft to reach Pluto in July, after a nine-year journey, and the gradual download of photos and data since then has confounded and elated the probe’s Nasa creators on Earth. Images have shown valleys veined with trenches and dotted by hills, evidence of nitrogen snow and dynamic, shifting terrain, and enigmas of glacier-like flows, massive ice mountains and a reddish atmospheric fog. Only a little more than 10% of the data about Pluto and its moons have been downloaded so far, Stern said. The spacecraft is now more than 3bn miles away from Earth and heading into the Kuiper belt, toward an object dubbed PT1 – “potential target one” – on the edge of the solar system. “It’ll get a better name,” Stern promised, adding that New Horizons, should it stay healthy, could run on its plutonium fuel into the 2030s. “Sometimes I hope I’m operating in the 2030s.”





This is exciting stuff..

“Nasa won’t let me tell you what we’re going to tell you on Thursday. It’s amazing.”

Thats a loaded quote. Yet they said the same thing about the Mars announcement last week.

What do you guys think?
edit on 7-10-2015 by Lucidparadox because: spellcheck




posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:13 PM
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i bet it's water.

And i do like that loaded quote. But nasa get head over heels about nothingg, and wont tell you about the aliens... sooo
edit on 7-10-2015 by DaRAGE because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:26 PM
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im going with ice.



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:30 PM
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You know.. this will sound like a dumb question. But I have to ask because there are so many people on this site who may be more knowledgeable on the subject...

When I was a late teen, I would play madden (football) online, and the latency was always an issue with me. It would bother me that every button I press would take a few more split seconds than it should to happen on screen.

Thats modern tech.. and thats using HARD WIRES, HERE ON EARTH...

How long does it take for the data for these images to be sent from all the way out on the edge of our solar system and make its way here?

What type of signal to they use that can cover that type of distance?

How is the signal they use that travels that distance able to transmit such hi-res photos?


That baffles me, it really does, especially considering it was using tech from 2006.



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:30 PM
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It's infested with giant red mites/crabs or it has the measles?

edit on 10/7/15 by proob4 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:34 PM
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a reply to: Lucidparadox

Speed of light.

www.nasa.gov...

4.5 hours to reach us from Pluto.
Around one kilbyte per second thats why it takes so long to get the data.

www.planetary.org...://www.google.co.uk/



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:39 PM
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My guess is they found complex organic molecules. The building blocks for life.



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:43 PM
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originally posted by: Lucidparadox
You know.. this will sound like a dumb question. But I have to ask because there are so many people on this site who may be more knowledgeable on the subject...

When I was a late teen, I would play madden (football) online, and the latency was always an issue with me. It would bother me that every button I press would take a few more split seconds than it should to happen on screen.

Thats modern tech.. and thats using HARD WIRES, HERE ON EARTH...

How long does it take for the data for these images to be sent from all the way out on the edge of our solar system and make its way here?

What type of signal to they use that can cover that type of distance?

How is the signal they use that travels that distance able to transmit such hi-res photos?


That baffles me, it really does, especially considering it was using tech from 2006.


Resolution is irrelevant so long as they can distinguish between On and Off


The latency? I think your game was a little quicker



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:47 PM
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originally posted by: DaRAGE
i bet it's water.

And i do like that loaded quote. But nasa get head over heels about nothingg, and wont tell you about the aliens... sooo

NASA has a lot of scientists who can get excited about "sciency stuff".

However, sciency stuff is not nothing. It may be nothing to a layperson, but scientists build careers and spend years researching those things that some laypeople think are "nothing".



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 08:57 PM
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originally posted by: d8track
My guess is they found complex organic molecules. The building blocks for life.

I'm not sure if New Horizons (being small, light and relatively simple/relatively inexpensive) has the instruments to be able to positively determine organic molecules. It does have a spectrometer for analyzing the atmosphere and another spectrometer for analyzing other materials, but I wonder how fine a resolution those spectrometers have.

But yeah, it would not surprise me if Pluto had organic compounds. The Kuiper belt contains objects that were the primitive building blocks of the solar system, and it seems organic compounds existed at the time the solar system was being built.



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 09:02 PM
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a reply to: VoidHawk

Sorry, maybe I didnt phrase my question about the latency correctly..

I was saying that, since there is an annoying latency with a hardwired video game here on earth...


When I think of that extrapolated over the distance between here and pluto it makes me think it would take YEARS to transfer data for a photo



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 09:15 PM
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Well it is Pluto - So it must be Frost Giants!



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 09:15 PM
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a reply to: Lucidparadox


…and a reddish atmospheric fog.


Ewww, gotta see that. Impactor residual heat, maybe?



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 09:16 PM
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a reply to: Lucidparadox

All explained in the link I provided.



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 09:19 PM
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a reply to: Lucidparadox

Wouldn't it be great if they found an ocean under the crust? The tidal forces from Pluto's many Moons might just cause enough internal friction for there to be an ocean under the ice.



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 09:34 PM
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Oh wow, you guys had fun with this haven't you. There is only one passage side doesn't matter



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 10:12 PM
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originally posted by: lostbook
a reply to: Lucidparadox

Wouldn't it be great if they found an ocean under the crust? The tidal forces from Pluto's many Moons might just cause enough internal friction for there to be an ocean under the ice.



One theory surrounding the announcement on Thursday could be the discovery of frozen oceans underneath the surface of Pluto.

Theoretically, the water freezing underneath Pluto's surface could shift and crack the land, forming cold volcanoes to appear on the surface.
www.mirror.co.uk...



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 10:15 PM
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originally posted by: Hyperia
Oh wow, you guys had fun with this haven't you. There is only one passage side doesn't matter


Care to make a little sense?.



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 10:16 PM
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a reply to: Lucidparadox

DB Cooper...or snow/ice



posted on Oct, 7 2015 @ 10:43 PM
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a reply to: boymonkey74

Naah, be happy instead


One step at a time, not leap frog into s***



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