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Countdown to Pluto

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posted on Jan, 17 2014 @ 06:15 AM
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I still keep saying there 9 planets in our solar system rather than 8.




posted on Jan, 17 2014 @ 09:22 AM
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crazyewok
I still keep saying there 9 planets in our solar system rather than 8.


I'm with you, brother.

For people such as myself who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s learning grade-school mnemonic devices such as "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies" for remembering the planets have a hard time forgetting that there are nine planets.

However, I'm OK with Pluto being demoted, because the reason makes sense. Besides, if Pluto were still considered a planet, then we would have at least TEN planets, because Eris would also fall into the "Pluto" definition of planet. Eris is even larger than Pluto and it has its own Moon. We may even have more than ten planets, because other bodies similar to Eris and Pluto might qualify.

In fact it was the discovery of Eris that prompted the International Astronomical Union to re-define the meaning of "Planet" and to create the new category of "dwarf planet", in which to put Eris and Pluto.

If Eris were never discovered, then Pluto may still be called a planet.



edit on 1/17/2014 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2014 @ 09:23 AM
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Soylent Green Is People

crazyewok
I still keep saying there 9 planets in our solar system rather than 8.


I'm with you, brother.

For people such as myself who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s learning grade-school mnemonic devices such as "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies" for remembering the planets have a hard time forgetting that there are nine planets.

However, I'm OK with Pluto being demoted, because the reason makes sense. Besides, if Pluto were still considered a planet, then we would have at least TEN planets, because Eris would also fall into the "Pluto" definition of planet. Eris is even larger than Pluto and it has its own Moon. We may even have more than ten planets, because other bodies similar to Eris and Pluto might qualify.

In fact it was the discovery of Eris that prompted the International Astronomical Union to re-define the meaning of "Planet" and to create the new category of "dwarf planet", in which to put Eris and Pluto. If Eris was never discovered, then Pluto may still be called a planet.



And you have Ceres to between Mars and Jupiter.



posted on Jan, 17 2014 @ 09:37 AM
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What have we done? Sending plutonium to pluto? Lets hope the myths are myths.
And they should have called at least one moon goofy!

To be serious ,i can not wait to see some images. Surprises tend to be the norm in space discoveries and New Horizons is a fantastic mission.



posted on Jan, 17 2014 @ 10:28 AM
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symptomoftheuniverse
What have we done? Sending plutonium to pluto? Lets hope the myths are myths.
And they should have called at least one moon goofy!

To be serious ,i can not wait to see some images. Surprises tend to be the norm in space discoveries and New Horizons is a fantastic mission.



It should be noted that New Horizons will NOT be spending a lot of time at Pluto. It will simply be flying past Pluto at 37,000 mph, taking pictures and gathering data as it quickly passes by. The only way it could spend an extended amount of time there is if it went into orbit round the dwarf planet, but there is simply no way for the spacecraft to slow down enough to enter Pluto's orbit.

It will begin observing Pluto in February 2015, and make its closest approach (10,000 km or 6000 miles) in July 2015. By the end of 2015, it will have completed its observations of Pluto, and Pluto will be far in the spacecraft's "rear view mirror", so-to-speak. After that, New Horizons will move onto the Kuiper belt in 2016, making observations of Kuiper belt objects. Professional and amateur astronomers are looking for Kuiper Belt targets for New Horizons as we speak.

10,000 km is still very close, even though the encounter will be a relatively fleeting one. The spacecraft should get some really nice images of the Pluto system. One picture I hope they take would be a picture of our Sun from out there; I'd like to see what the Sun looks like from so far away.



On a side note, I often wondered why Goofy spoke, stood upright, wore clothes, lived in his own house, and had a family...

...but Pluto was just "a dog". What's up with that?



edit on 1/17/2014 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 09:32 AM
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a reply to: Thebel

A quick update July 2014 -

NASA spacecraft just one year away from Pluto


Less than a year from now, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will make the first-ever visit to Pluto, potentially revolutionizing scientists' understanding of the dwarf planet.

Because Pluto is so far away — it orbits the sun at an average distance of 3.65 billion miles — many questions about the dwarf planet's composition and activity remain unanswered. Researchers hope New Horizons will lay some of those questions to rest when it flies by Pluto on July 15, 2015.

"Many predictions have been made by the science community, including possible rings, geyser eruptions, and even lakes," Adriana Ocampo, program executive for NASA's New Frontiers program, said in a statement. "Whatever we find, I believe Pluto and its satellites will surpass all our expectations and surprise us beyond our imagination." [New Horizons' Flight to Pluto in Pictures]

Orbiting the sun once every 248 years, Pluto lies outside the reach of most visible instruments. The best images from NASA's famous Hubble Space Telescope simply show Pluto's spherical shape and reddish color. Changes in the dwarf planet's color patterns over the years hint that something is happening there, but no one knows exactly what.

By late April 2015, New Horizons will be close enough to Pluto and its moons to capture pictures rivaling those of Hubble. On July 14, 2015, the craft will make a close flyby of the icy world, ultimately zooming within about 6,200 miles of its surface. If it cruised past Earth at that range, New Horizons would be able to recognize individual buildings and their shapes.

"Because Pluto has never been visited up-close by a spacecraft from Earth, everything we see will be a first," Ocampo said. "I know this will be an astonishing experience full of history-making moments."


click link for remainder of article..

While Pluto is no longer considered a planet, it can give us insight into the dwarf planet class.

Space exploration and why do we go is the celestial equivalent of rock climbing and we we scale them -

Because its there.



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:35 AM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

Thanks for this.

One thing that is interesting about this is that it is a fly-by mission. As I mentioned in my post above (from January), the New Horizons craft has no way to slow down or go into orbit around Pluto, so it has one chance to get it right.

Hopefully the cameras and data collection instruments all work well when the time comes. I'd love to find out more details about this apparent "change of seasons" that Pluto seems to display.


edit on 7/28/2014 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 10:56 AM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

I am a little surprised some of these probes are not fitted with a reverse thruster setup to slow it for orbit.

Either or a flyby is better than not going at all. It might help explain why Pluto seems to be changing colors.



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 11:21 AM
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a reply to: cprnicus then don't use NASA on this mission they pass on the raw telemetry to four core science teams under Southwest Research Institute to compile and render into usable data and publish. think of NASA for this mission crudely as the taxi and advertising service.



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 11:24 AM
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originally posted by: Xcathdra
a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

I am a little surprised some of these probes are not fitted with a reverse thruster setup to slow it for orbit.
Not that surprising. A reverse thruster would need fuel. To get that additional fuel away from Earth takes even more fuel. To get that fuel away from Earth takes even more fuel. To get that fuel away from Earth takes even more fuel. And so on.

This is why there's not enough mass in the universe to send a shuttle payload to the nearest star within 900 years, it's the "propellant problem":

www.nasa.gov...


Here are four examples [large graphic] of what it would take to send a canister about the size of a Shuttle payload (or a school bus) past our nearest neighboring star...and allowing 900 years for it to make this journey.

Well....If you use chemical engines like those that are on the Shuttle, well..., sorry, there isn’t enough mass in the universe to supply the rocket propellant you’d need.


What you suggest could be done but the increased fuel requirements of the mission would be enormous. One reason a Pluto orbit would take more fuel than say a Saturn orbit, is that Pluto has a lot less mass, so less gravity, meaning you'd have to slow the spacecraft down a lot more compared to a Saturn orbit, and it's going pretty fast, maybe the fastest spacecraft ever! The New Horizons budget was $650 million and Cassini's was $3 billion, so for $3 billion they might have been able to put it in orbit like Cassini though I'm not sure if they could still meet the other mission parameters, like they might have to not make it as fast, so they wouldn't have to slow it down as much for orbiting, and then the mission would take much longer giving things on the spacecraft a longer time to fail.



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 01:32 PM
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Will be interesting to see if there are outter objects detectable near that celestial region or will it have transmission "adjustments" once close to the moons. PLUTO Images should be interesting if the surface is observable. How these devices move so fast and can halt w/o any structural damages is amazing

edit on 7/28/14 by Ophiuchus 13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 01:46 PM
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If it ends up looking close to this (minus the gas giant):



Then I'll be on the look-out for these:




All Trek jokes aside, I'm looking really forward to seeing Pluto more clearly. It's like that hazy object in the distance no one can get up close to -- the mystery of appearance is half the intrigue.



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 02:16 PM
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originally posted by: Ophiuchus 13
How these devices move so fast and can halt w/o any structural damages is amazing

Nothing's gonna halt. It will be like taking photos of a mountain from a fast-moving jet.



posted on Jul, 28 2014 @ 02:19 PM
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a reply to: wildespace

I understand, interesting hopefully there are some colorful or clear images. Thanks for clarifying wildespace

edit on 7/28/14 by Ophiuchus 13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 2 2014 @ 01:55 AM
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Wanted to briefly add my £2: A LOT of observations are planned, including full-color mosaics. While key science will mostly be done ±1 week from closest approach, for this kind of flyby mission, we're working on getting as much usable and important data as soon as we can, hence why limited observations actually start in January next year, and we should be able to resolve Pluto around February.

But stuff like change detection is why we'll be imaging it weekly and then more than weekly as we approach to se can get several rotations in. The plasma instruments will be taking data a lot and don't care really when closest approach is. The spectrometer for atmospherics is more interested in observations as we depart Pluto and it can look back at sunlight scattered through the atmosphere. Though still, pictures are what most of the public want to see (I would expect the random person to care about a picture more than the results of a dust counter), and of course the best pictures will be done when we're closest so's to get the best pixel scale. There will also be imaging of the five moons and searches for rings and other moons.



posted on Aug, 2 2014 @ 03:12 AM
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a reply to: astrostu

Thanks for the details.

When you say "we", do you mean that you are on the New Horizons science team?



posted on Aug, 2 2014 @ 01:15 PM
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originally posted by: wildespace
a reply to: astrostu

Thanks for the details.

When you say "we", do you mean that you are on the New Horizons science team?


I'm kinda attempting to worm my way in
. Last year, I was asked by the sorta but really Deputy PI (I can't remember what she said her official title was) to help with organization. Basically, boring coordination and data entry stuff between the science teams, science ops, mission ops, and everyone else. It was a temp thing, going to go through August of last year, but they kept me on and are now going to be hiring me full-time to continue with this coordination stuff. I've mostly been working on figuring out how much data observations will take and how much space we have and downlink time etc., as well as interfacing between the instrument teams and mission ops to iterate on what the instrument teams want to do versus what gets sequenced.

Since I'm actually a geophysicist and study craters, I'm - as I said - sorta worming my way in, and trying to get more involved with planned science stuff, but you have to be very careful about stepping on toes. Keep in mind that at the time the thing was proposed, roles were already assigned. And at this point, less than a year out, all postdocs have been hired and roles really assigned (I somehow missed the advertisement for the geology one, which ticks me off, but a friend got it so I guess I'm happy for her). So, it's hard for me to try to get stuff to do, and I've resigned myself to the idea that I won't, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Keep in mind that the people who built the instruments are obviously the ones who want to be first authors on the papers. The ones who want to speak to the press (well, some of them anyway). The ones who want to make those once-in-a-lifetime discoveries. Postdocs are backup and get the less interesting stuff when the instrument PIs are overloaded. And then there's me ... I'm at least hoping to be a part of some papers since I'm the fastest crater counter that we know of, but, we'll see.
edit on 2-8-2014 by astrostu because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2014 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur


One reason a Pluto orbit would take more fuel than say a Saturn orbit, is that Pluto has a lot less mass, so less gravity, meaning you'd have to slow the spacecraft down a lot more compared to a Saturn orbit, ....


?? what ?

Gravity is acceleration, bigger mass more force...
a body falling into a gravity field accelerates, so it needs more energy to stop compare to lower mass

you talk it backwards !!!



posted on Aug, 4 2014 @ 06:05 PM
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originally posted by: Ophiuchus 13
a reply to: wildespace

I understand, interesting hopefully there are some colorful or clear images. Thanks for clarifying wildespace


There is no drag on the instruments in space. No air, no wind etc...No pressure or resistance on the craft.



posted on Aug, 4 2014 @ 06:07 PM
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a reply to: Thebel
S & F.
Looking forward to the photos.




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