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Tags astronomy , New Horizons , pluto

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Old 11th July 2015, 09:21 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I wonder if you could make that in useful amounts with a particle accelerator?
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Old 11th July 2015, 11:47 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by foophil View Post
Some surface features are starting to come in nicely.
Most unfortunately, according to the BBC
Quote:
The US space agency's New Horizons probe was less than 2.5 million km from the diminutive world on Saturday and closing in fast. Come Tuesday, it will be grabbing shots from an altitude of just 12,500km. But the newly published image, showing Pluto's "spots", is of the hemisphere that will soon rotate out of view. It will not be seen again until after New Horizons has gone behind the 2,300km-wide dwarf, and then only in the faint light reflected off the little planet's biggest moon, Charon.
Is this the result of an alien conspiracy to hide the true nature of the "spots"?
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Old 12th July 2015, 12:02 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Between Dawn, Rosetta/Philae, and New Horizons, it's been a veritable feast of fun stuff this year for fans of astronomy.
Not just astronomy. Other space missions have greatly aided observations of our one and only home. There were like 5'earth science missions that went up since last year.
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Old 12th July 2015, 09:19 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Most unfortunately, according to the BBC Is this the result of an alien conspiracy to hide the true nature of the "spots"?
Well, obviously!

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Old 12th July 2015, 09:28 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
Well, obviously!

Truly.
This way-out-of-the-way little dwarf planet is clearly incredibly important somehow to ET.
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Old 12th July 2015, 09:41 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Monketi Ghost View Post
Truly.
This way-out-of-the-way little dwarf planet is clearly incredibly important somehow to ET.
A convenient cold-storage depot on the edge of a gravity well? Makes sense to stockpile things were they are relatively easy to get to and leave from.
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Old 12th July 2015, 11:13 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
A convenient cold-storage depot on the edge of a gravity well? Makes sense to stockpile things were they are relatively easy to get to and leave from.
Well - who built Icehenge?
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Old 12th July 2015, 12:23 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
Well - who built Icehenge?

Bender, of course, after he got tired of cavorting with the penguins.
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Old 12th July 2015, 12:33 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Grashtel View Post
A) The RTG is quite sufficient for NH's needs and NASA had it, would you prefer that they just let it burn out on a shelf? RTGs have a limited shelflife, the isotopes don't stop decaying just because they aren't being used.

B) IIRC there are issues with getting the material to build new RTGs due to the shutdown of the reactor in the US that makes them.
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
NASA recycles a lot of stuff. On one NASA site I work in there are a few areas where they store the non-dangerous stuff (metal components, decommissioned tanks, and the like), and occasionally you'll see folks go in and get stuff they need. No sense letting it go to waste.
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Wow, I was half kidding, but I see it's a serious problem. I'm glad they have a robust recycling program too. Working under a tight budget will do that to you though.
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Old 12th July 2015, 01:43 PM   #50
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You also have to realize that "refurbished", in this context, isn't even remotely close to "refurbished" in a consumer context. Most consumers equate "refurbished" with "dodgy, used, formerly broken equipment fixed up to make a quick buck from the marks". In this context, the RTG could not have been "used" as it's pretty hard to get a used RTG from, say, the now defunct Galileo probe. It's more like "surplus"; the RTG was a spare, or for a cancelled project, and must be refreshed and polished as required for the new use.
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Old 12th July 2015, 02:17 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by grmcdorman View Post
You also have to realize that "refurbished", in this context, isn't even remotely close to "refurbished" in a consumer context. Most consumers equate "refurbished" with "dodgy, used, formerly broken equipment fixed up to make a quick buck from the marks". In this context, the RTG could not have been "used" as it's pretty hard to get a used RTG from, say, the now defunct Galileo probe. It's more like "surplus"; the RTG was a spare, or for a cancelled project, and must be refreshed and polished as required for the new use.
Yes, can't have it going out across the universe, representing humanity, all dingy now, can we.
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Old 12th July 2015, 06:34 PM   #52
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Charon's Chasms and Craters
One Million Miles to Go; Pluto is More Intriguing than Ever
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Old 12th July 2015, 06:44 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Is this the result of an alien conspiracy to hide the true nature of the "spots"?
I'd tell you, but then we'd have to kill you.
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Old 12th July 2015, 06:49 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post

From that link:

Quote:
The brightness of the rays of material blasted out of the crater suggest it formed relatively recently in geologic terms, during a collision with a small body some time in the last billion million years.

Um... that is not exactly recent even in geologic terms.
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Old 12th July 2015, 06:57 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Most unfortunately, according to the BBC Is this the result of an alien conspiracy to hide the true nature of the "spots"?
Its vril!!!! Giant lakes of vril!!!
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:03 PM   #56
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This is so freaking cool! I remember the excitement I felt at seeing the first close-up images from the Voyager images. This is giving me that same feeling again.
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:24 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by foophil View Post
Um... that is not exactly recent even in geologic terms.

I'm guessing the author got their numerals mixed up...
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:36 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
I'm guessing the author got their numerals mixed up...
...or pushed back the age of the universe by 5 orders of magnitude.
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Old 13th July 2015, 06:35 AM   #59
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It'll be just a flyby ? That's dissapointing.
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Old 13th July 2015, 06:44 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Bender, of course, after he got tired of cavorting with the penguins.
It was fun on a bun and I was blasted while it lasted.
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Old 13th July 2015, 06:48 AM   #61
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I must admit, the Pluto system is turning out to be more interesting than I'd expected.
I mean, I'm still expecting a geologically dead world with impact craters and varying albedos that will need analyses to explain them, but Pluto isn't as featureless as I'd figured it would be.
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Old 13th July 2015, 06:52 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Monketi Ghost View Post
Truly.
This way-out-of-the-way little dwarf planet is clearly incredibly important somehow to ET.
Of course it's important. It's Yuggoth.
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Old 13th July 2015, 06:52 AM   #63
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How far away is Pluto? Pretty frickin' far.
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Old 13th July 2015, 07:08 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
It'll be just a flyby ? That's dissapointing.
It was either that, or wait until we're all long, long dead to go into orbit around the Pluto barycenter.
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Old 13th July 2015, 07:32 AM   #65
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Even at the current distance, the pictures are freaky cool even without Deep Dreaming them.

Tomorrow...
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Old 13th July 2015, 07:37 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
It was either that, or wait until we're all long, long dead to go into orbit around the Pluto barycenter.
It's also probably more useful. A flyby gives us the chance to explore the Ort Cloud more than an orbit would.

Still, I agree that I'm a bit sad that we won't be spending much time in the area.
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Old 13th July 2015, 08:00 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
It's also probably more useful. A flyby gives us the chance to explore the Ort Cloud more than an orbit would.

Still, I agree that I'm a bit sad that we won't be spending much time in the area.
Oh, me too. But it's like seeing boobies when you're a kid: better a quick glimpse on late-night cable than nothing at all.
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Old 13th July 2015, 08:13 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by turingtest View Post
How far away is Pluto? Pretty frickin' far.
That was cool. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 13th July 2015, 08:14 AM   #69
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Very Excited.
I remember the Voyager probes, when they were visiting the gas giants etc. and even did an essay on them. They were a real technical acheivement for their time. But it was always a bit sad that they couldn't visit Pluto.

Then in recent years, when we were getting ready for our first born, we got a rug to go in her bedroom with all the planets on. It included Pluto, even though it had been desgnated a dwarf planet by then (B&Q don't really follow astronomy clearly).

Now she's 4, we play a game which is sort of combination of the Adventure Game's Vortex (Brits of a certain age will remember this), and Mornington Cresecent. Bascially we jump on each planet and try to catch each other out.

But the great thing is that she's pointing at them and saying "planet!". She probably doesn't quite get what that means, but its progress.

All this just before we finally see Pluto up close, I can't help but feel a bit of irony, and yet delight.
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Old 13th July 2015, 08:30 AM   #70
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All that planet/dwarf planet stuff is so weird. It drew in people who felt passionately about it, and I noticed that some never seemed to give a crap about astronomy until Pluto's status became an issue.
Even from my youngest days of interest, I could tell it was going to be debated hotly. I can recall that by the time I was ten, 1980, I'd decided it didn't have enough in common with the rest to be called a planet.
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Old 13th July 2015, 08:50 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
Oh, me too. But it's like seeing boobies when you're a kid: better a quick glimpse on late-night cable than nothing at all.
My dad introduced us to Monty Python early on. But yeah, better a drive-by than not going there at all.
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Old 13th July 2015, 09:38 AM   #72
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Wink

Iíve created a Pluto finder chart and ephemeris that can be viewed at www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids.html
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:17 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
It was either that, or wait until we're all long, long dead to go into orbit around the Pluto barycenter.
Why long dead ? No way to slow down the probe on the way ?
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:22 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by Monketi Ghost View Post
All that planet/dwarf planet stuff is so weird. It drew in people who felt passionately about it, and I noticed that some never seemed to give a crap about astronomy until Pluto's status became an issue.
Even from my youngest days of interest, I could tell it was going to be debated hotly. I can recall that by the time I was ten, 1980, I'd decided it didn't have enough in common with the rest to be called a planet.
And all that because they didn't want a solar system with 17 planets or something. Pussies.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:39 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Why long dead ? No way to slow down the probe on the way ?
It would need an awful lot of fuel to slow down. And of course if you need all that fuel to slow down, you need more even more fuel to carry that fuel around.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:42 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Why long dead ? No way to slow down the probe on the way ?
No practical way, no. First, you'd have to carry along the fuel to do that. That means accelerating the probe plus a rocket plus fuel to get there in the first place. Then halfway along you have to start slowing down. It would at least double the overall mission time.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:48 AM   #77
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I didn't mean using the probe itself to slow down but perhaps a planet(oid) on the way, etc.

Anyway, the probe will come pretty damn close to Pluto, so we should get decent pictures.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:59 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by DGM View Post
That was cool. Thanks for sharing.
YW. It took me two tries to make it all the way to Pluto- the first time, I stopped somewhere between Jupiter and Saturn. And the legend at the end said a lot, too- "Might as well stop now. We'll need to scroll through 6,771 more maps like this before we see anything else." Pfft- we went a mere 39.5AU...
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:00 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I didn't mean using the probe itself to slow down but perhaps a planet(oid) on the way, etc.

The problem is Pluto's gravity is too weak to help much.
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:08 PM   #80
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So the command to execute the fly-by sequence has been uploaded and New Horizons will not communicate with the DSN again until the sequence is complete -- around 2050 EDT Tuesday (8:50 PM Tuesday) or 0050 Wednesday UTC (1250 AM) -- by which time the probe should have suspended collection operations, pointed it's antenna back toward Earth and transmitted a diagnostic sequence. This signal should be received by NASA's 70m DSN facility at Robledo de Chavela, near Madrid, Spain.

ETA: The times cited are receive times.

Crossed fingers and tightened buttocks.
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