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Pluto has atmosphere and seasons

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posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 01:13 AM
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Nothing new I guess, but news to me is that according to CNN Pluto has atmosphere and seasons.

Apparently they will send a probe there next year which can reach Pluto as early as 2015. Does anyone knows the official page for this mission? It would be cool if they could land a rover there or something, but problem is distance so you would have to wait a long time for each instruction back and forth. Anyone knows where one can read more about this planet and mission there?

Pretty interesting article.
www.cnn.com...




posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 07:38 AM
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It has an atmosphere? of what? and if it does have an atmophere is it still a gas?

Pluto has a long standing problem of being borderline what is accepted as a planet. If you figure in the mass of it's moon charon it is possible to think of it as a planet. Guess we have to wait another 10 years



posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 09:10 AM
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It's always been supposed that Pluto has a methane atmosphere... Just during most of its year it's frozen on the surface.


E_T

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 10:09 AM
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Originally posted by Raabjorn
Anyone knows where one can read more about this planet and mission there?
Use the Google, Luke.

pluto.jhuapl.edu...

Just hope that NASA's budget won't be cut. This might be one of the first to go because it has been cancelled/changed its form couple times already.



posted on Feb, 16 2005 @ 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by Raabjorn
It would be cool if they could land a rover there or something, but problem is distance so you would have to wait a long time for each instruction back and forth.


They had to already compensate for that on the Mars rovers. Even when you take into account that Mars is relatively close, it still takes a few minutes for the broadcast from Earth to make it that far, so they put a program onboard that could do simple tasks automatically, such as steer around rocks and other hazards.



posted on Feb, 16 2005 @ 11:24 PM
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it all deals with autonomus vehicles. How independant can they be. The mars rovers are far from indedependant.


E_T

posted on Feb, 17 2005 @ 03:28 AM
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Originally posted by Jehosephat
it all deals with autonomus vehicles. How independant can they be. The mars rovers are far from indedependant.
At least they're more intelligent than some people, they'll stop immediately if they are tried to drive to too inclined terrain... while human would jump to front of train if some religious prophet tells so.



Having more physical capability than 1997's Sojourner rover, Spirit and Opportunity also needed more autonomy. Engineers improved the auto-navigational driving software to give the golf cart-sized explorers more freedom.

When the rovers are navigating themselves, they get a command telling them where to end up, and then evaluate the terrain with stereo imaging to choose the best way to get there. They must avoid any obstacles they identify. This capability has enabled longer daily drives than would have been possible by simply depending on step-by-step navigation commands from Earth. As of mid-August, 2004, Opportunity has used auto-navigation to drive for 230 meters (about 755 feet, or one-third the distance between Eagle and Endurance craters), and Spirit for over 1250 meters (about 8 tenths of a mile), mostly during the nearly 3000-meter (nearly 2 miles) drive to the Columbia Hills.


The auto-navigation system takes pictures of the nearby terrain using one of the Mars Exploration Rover stereo camera pairs (body-mounted hazard-avoidance cameras on Spirit, mast-mounted navigation cameras on Opportunity). After stereo images are taken, 3-D terrain maps are generated automatically by the rover software. Traversability and safety is then determined from the height and density of rocks or steps, excessive tilts and roughness of the terrain. Dozens of possible paths are considered before the rover chooses the shortest, safest path toward the programmed geographical goal. The rover then drives between 0.5 and 2 meters (1.6 and 6.6 feet) closer to its goal, depending on how many obstacles are nearby. The whole process repeats until it either reaches its goal, or is commanded to stop.
marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov...



posted on Feb, 17 2005 @ 06:51 AM
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Just the eccentricity of Pluto's orbit alone would make it have "seasons." It's still going to be cold the whole time.



posted on Feb, 17 2005 @ 10:19 AM
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Originally posted by utrex
Just the eccentricity of Pluto's orbit alone would make it have "seasons." It's still going to be cold the whole time.


No kidding. Actually, from what I understood, most of the planets have seasons, so Pluto wouldn't be anything special in that respect. Although I'd like to have more detailed pictures of it than what we have; I'm sorry, two fuzzy bright dots being the most clear pictures of Pluto and Charon that we have is just not that exciting to me.




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