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are they still sending a probe to pluto?

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posted on Oct, 8 2006 @ 03:52 PM
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just wondering, but are they still going to send that one probe to pluto in 2010 after that whole "it's not a planet" deal (which I think is crap) ?




posted on Oct, 8 2006 @ 04:01 PM
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Yes - assuming that by "that one probe" you meant the New Horizons mission. It was launched on January 19, 2006 - long before the whole planet/not a planet controversy. The mission is on track and is already sending back pictures, most recently of Jupiter, which the probe will use to perform a gravity assist maneuver this coming February.

As for the planet/not a planet flap, there are plenty of astronomers who agree with you when you say that it is "crap", so Pluto's status could change - perhaps more than once - before New Horizons encounters it in July 2015.



posted on Oct, 9 2006 @ 05:20 AM
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Whatever astronomers want to call it, Pluto should not be called a planet. It has much more in common with the thousands of objects in the Kuiper Belt than it does with the eight major planets.

Mind you, I still think that the term "dwarf planet" is garbage.

On a side note, I find it astonishing that so many so called "experts" aren't able to grasp the meaning of "any object that has gravitationally cleared the region of space in which it resides". They keep mentioning that plenty of objects cross the orbits of the eight major planets, but that statement in itself makes it abundantly clear that they haven't got a clue what they're talking about.

In short, it means that the region to either side of the object's orbit (out to a certain distance) has been cleared of all low eccentricity, low inclination objects. That's because objects of this type would be strongly perturbed every time that they caught up with the planet (or vice versa). That just isn't true for objects with high eccentricity, high inclination orbits, because of the high relative velocities and infrequent close approaches.

Obviously, you could then ask the question.......how far does this region need to extend from an object before it can be called a "planet" ? Well, that's the $64,000 question, but it doesn't alter the fact that Pluto (and Eris for that matter) are insufficiently massive for this to happen on a detectable scale.


[edit on 9-10-2006 by Mogget]



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