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Tags astronomy , New Horizons , pluto

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Old 13th July 2015, 12:31 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Rum View Post
The miles involved are in the billions - 3 or 4? It is amazing what clever peeps can do these days!
Believe it or not, we're still in contact with both Voyagers. 11 or 12 billion miles away, roughly.

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/where/index.html
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:43 PM   #82
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Pluto is bigger than it was first thought. Slightly. So screw you Eris!

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33513905
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:48 PM   #83
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Events like this make me wonder what would happen if we detected a similar, foreign object coming close to our solar system, something that didn't look like a rock or comet. I wonder if we could capture it without damage? What a revelation that would provide if it looked "designed" in the same way that our spacecraft would undoubtedly look to another lifeform.
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:51 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
Believe it or not
I believe it, and am aware of it. Tough little probes.
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Old 13th July 2015, 01:07 PM   #85
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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.
Maybe not.

Here is an ESA proposal which could put an orbiter around Pluto with total trip time of "only" 15 years. But it requires an ion engine and nuclear (RTG) power source.

http://www.esa.int/gsp/ACT/doc/PRO/A...2004-Pluto.pdf
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Old 13th July 2015, 01:20 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
I wonder if you could make that in useful amounts with a particle accelerator?
Not useful amounts no.
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Old 13th July 2015, 01:22 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by CynicalSkeptic View Post
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.
How much longer would the trip have been if they'd tried for an orbit. (Crazy patterns* allowed, but at least one realistic scenario, please.)




*Swing by, loop waaaay out, get pulled back, swing by loop waaay in, oscillate until orbit is stable?
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Old 13th July 2015, 01:23 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
Believe it or not, we're still in contact with both Voyagers. 11 or 12 billion miles away, roughly.

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/where/index.html
V'ger will be back!
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Old 13th July 2015, 01:37 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by Sherman Bay View Post
Events like this make me wonder what would happen if we detected a similar, foreign object coming close to our solar system, something that didn't look like a rock or comet. I wonder if we could capture it without damage? What a revelation that would provide if it looked "designed" in the same way that our spacecraft would undoubtedly look to another lifeform.
I've wondered this myself... what would we do if we spotted something coming in, maybe a kilometer across, and spectroscopically determined that it was metallic. Not many natural metallic objects way out there... we'd have to consider the possibility that it was artificial. Biggest news of the millennium, right there.
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Old 13th July 2015, 02:03 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by turingtest View Post
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...
Really puts V'ger's cloud into perspective.
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Old 13th July 2015, 02:11 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
I've wondered this myself... what would we do if we spotted something coming in, maybe a kilometer across, and spectroscopically determined that it was metallic. Not many natural metallic objects way out there... we'd have to consider the possibility that it was artificial. Biggest news of the millennium, right there.
What if it's pure neutronium?
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Old 13th July 2015, 02:23 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
I've wondered this myself... what would we do if we spotted something coming in, maybe a kilometer across, and spectroscopically determined that it was metallic. Not many natural metallic objects way out there... we'd have to consider the possibility that it was artificial. Biggest news of the millennium, right there.
A simple chemical analysis would suffice (well, for a given value of "simple"). We know, roughly, what to expect from rocks, even metals-heavy ones like some asteroids. Generally, we can expect a lack of purity--natural systems don't refine certain ores. If we see that the thing is fairly pure gold, iron, aluminum, or the like, it's a good indication that we should look for other clues. And we could use the light bouncing off it to make that determination. It wouldn't be proof, but it'd be a good indication.
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Old 13th July 2015, 02:51 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
A simple chemical analysis would suffice (well, for a given value of "simple"). We know, roughly, what to expect from rocks, even metals-heavy ones like some asteroids. Generally, we can expect a lack of purity--natural systems don't refine certain ores. If we see that the thing is fairly pure gold, iron, aluminum, or the like, it's a good indication that we should look for other clues. And we could use the light bouncing off it to make that determination. It wouldn't be proof, but it'd be a good indication.
One of my favorites is J002E3. Thought to be an asteroid at first, spectral analysis indicated titanium oxide, the white paint used on the Saturn V rockets. It turned out to be the S-IVB from Apollo 12.
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Old 13th July 2015, 03:11 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
One of my favorites is J002E3. Thought to be an asteroid at first, spectral analysis indicated titanium oxide, the white paint used on the Saturn V rockets. It turned out to be the S-IVB from Apollo 12.
Nice:

J002E3WP

eta: Cool animated gif:



L1 is a Lagrange point?

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Old 13th July 2015, 03:14 PM   #95
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Does anyone have a link to a countdown? Aologies if there's already one posted.

ETA : Just saw the other thread.
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Old 13th July 2015, 03:15 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
It turned out to be the S-IVB from Apollo 12.
That'd cause a stir on the collector's market. Worth a short story ...
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Old 13th July 2015, 03:20 PM   #97
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13½ hours to closest approach.... MARK!
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Old 13th July 2015, 03:25 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by turingtest View Post
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...
There wouldn't be a chance in hell I would get through that if not for the auto-scroll.

As soon as I saw the size of the sun in the first frame, I knew it was a long journey......
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Old 13th July 2015, 04:59 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by DGM View Post
There wouldn't be a chance in hell I would get through that if not for the auto-scroll.

As soon as I saw the size of the sun in the first frame, I knew it was a long journey......
(Gulp) Auto-scroll? (j/k, I saw it the second time, or I still would never have made it all the way through)
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Old 13th July 2015, 05:06 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by turingtest View Post
(Gulp) Auto-scroll? (j/k, I saw it the second time, or I still would never have made it all the way through)
The stops along the way were what made the journey so memorable. Well worth the trip............
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Old 13th July 2015, 05:22 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by CapelDodger View Post
Does anyone have a link to a countdown? Aologies if there's already one posted.

NASA TV, though you may get better throughput via their UStream channel.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:02 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by sts60 View Post
I did a little engineering support for the refurbished RTG which is powering P-NH to the ninth planet* and beyond. Wow, time flies when you're a small spacecraft starting out on a big honkin' rocket. It's great to finally see the awesome science and beautiful images. Exciting stuff.


* Yes, I said planet. Old school!
Do RTG's put out the same amount of energy continuously or can they be throttled back so that the RTG is only getting used up when energy is required?
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:10 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
Believe it or not, we're still in contact with both Voyagers. 11 or 12 billion miles away, roughly.

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/where/index.html
I stumbled on this site today:
http://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

When I found it the first time one of the antennae was communicating with Voyager.

When I took a look at it before I made this post the 70 meter antenna in Spain was communicating with Rosetta.

Totally cool !. I just checked back before I pushed Submit button and the 70 meter Goldstone antenna is communicating with New Horizons.

Picture of the Goldstone antenna when my wife and I visited a few years ago.
https://photos.google.com/u/0/album/...uNeM2Uhr0IaWra

The area of the antenna is about an acre.

ETA: Perhaps more accurately, the Goldstone antenna is sending messages to New Horizons. It doesn't seem to be receiving anything right now.
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Old 14th July 2015, 12:57 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
Do RTG's put out the same amount of energy continuously or can they be throttled back so that the RTG is only getting used up when energy is required?
The radioactive decay rate can't be manipulated. The plutonium is giving off energy all the time, depending on its age. Regardless of how you use it, after so many years the power output will drop below some minimum threshold.

You could use batteries to hold some energy and use it at higher power levels intermittently, but rechargeable batteries tend to have low energy density, so they're often not that useful.
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Old 14th July 2015, 12:59 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla Sama View Post
How much longer would the trip have been if they'd tried for an orbit. (Crazy patterns* allowed, but at least one realistic scenario, please.)

*Swing by, loop waaaay out, get pulled back, swing by loop waaay in, oscillate until orbit is stable?
How would it become stable (by which is presumably meant circular) in anything short of cosmic periods of time? Tidal forces? Braking by Pluto's atmosphere?
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Old 14th July 2015, 03:08 AM   #106
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This is sort of interesting. I took a look at the site I linked to above which shows what satellites the Deep Space Network antennae are communicating with and right not it shows two antennae at Goldstone and two antennae in Australia sending data to the New Horizons space craft. There are many possibilities of what is going on, perhaps at the top of the list should be that I don't understand what I'm looking at and there is a mistake in the information displayed.

Perhaps there is more than one receiver on the New Horizons spacecraft? Rhere is a lot of redundancy. I looked around a bit and according to one source it sounds like the receiver can distinguish between left and right circular polarization signals and there are two receivers for redundancy. So does that explain why there might be four signals at once being sent to the new Horizons spacecraft. I'm not sure.

I'm surprised that transmitting from the much smaller antennae is worthwhile given how much larger the gain of the larger antennae is. If they can send data to the spacecraft with the much smaller antennae it suggests that they will be able to communicate with the spacecraft much farther away than it is now. And I suppose that's true because they can communicate with voyager and it is several times farther away than New Horizons is right now.
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Old 14th July 2015, 04:51 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla Sama View Post
How much longer would the trip have been if they'd tried for an orbit. (Crazy patterns* allowed, but at least one realistic scenario, please.)




*Swing by, loop waaaay out, get pulled back, swing by loop waaay in, oscillate until orbit is stable?
Possibly. Basically you'd have to carry sufficient "fuel" to brake from constant velocity, so either a slower coast or a far bigger probe. I'm unable to crunch the numbers atm but back-of-the-envelope suggests many times larger.

Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
I've wondered this myself... what would we do if we spotted something coming in, maybe a kilometer across, and spectroscopically determined that it was metallic. Not many natural metallic objects way out there... we'd have to consider the possibility that it was artificial. Biggest news of the millennium, right there.
That's tending towards an OCP, I expect it'd shake money loose and not just for NASA.

Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
What if it's pure neutronium?
A 1km3 sphere of neutron degenerate matter would mass ~2.1E26kg, more than thirty five times as much as the Earth or about one-ninth as much as Jupiter; it's gravitational pull would be noticed quickly.

Originally Posted by CynicalSkeptic View Post
Nice:

J002E3WP

eta: Cool animated gif:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...2e3f_orbit.gif

L1 is a Lagrange point?
Yep L1 is the Lagrange point between the primary and secondary masses, i.e. between the Earth and Luna in this case.

Originally Posted by CapelDodger View Post
That'd cause a stir on the collector's market. Worth a short story ...
Hopefully it'll become part of a space station at some point.

Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
Do RTG's put out the same amount of energy continuously or can they be throttled back so that the RTG is only getting used up when energy is required?
RTGs rely on radioactive decay, so technically the heat produced is always slowly decreasing. There's no way to alter this bar manipulating the nuclear force in some manner we cannot currently achieve.


And finally, I'm surprised no-one has mentioned New Horizons's passenger; Clyde Tombaugh.
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Old 14th July 2015, 05:13 AM   #108
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One last good close-up of Pluto for you before the black out period kicked in:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33524589

Now we wait until tomorrow for the signal to resume.
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Old 14th July 2015, 05:14 AM   #109
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[quote=catsmate;10764083]That's tending towards an OCP, I expect it'd shake money loose and not just for NASA. [\QUOTE]

OCP ? Omni-Consumer Products ?

Quote:
And finally, I'm surprised no-one has mentioned New Horizons's passenger; Clyde Tombaugh.
I'll never understand the human obsession with dead remains.
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Old 14th July 2015, 05:21 AM   #110
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Pluto looks remarkably round...any measure of oblateness?
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Old 14th July 2015, 05:39 AM   #111
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I can't believe neutronium was brought up, LOL
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Old 14th July 2015, 05:47 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
How would it become stable (by which is presumably meant circular) in anything short of cosmic periods of time? Tidal forces? Braking by Pluto's atmosphere?
I was suggesting that it would be captured by Pluto's gravity. It would have to slow considerably for that to happen, and that would have meant a longer trip with a "turn-over" somewhere near half way. Just curious as to how much time that would add to the trip.
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Old 14th July 2015, 05:58 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by CynicalSkeptic View Post
L1 is a Lagrange point?
Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Yep L1 is the Lagrange point between the primary and secondary masses, i.e. between the Earth and Luna in this case.
is it? in the animation it seems 3-4 times farther from earth than the moon, I'd rather say L1 for sun-earth
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Old 14th July 2015, 06:12 AM   #114
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[quote=Belz...;10764113]
Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
That's tending towards an OCP, I expect it'd shake money loose and not just for NASA.

OCP ? Omni-Consumer Products ?
Outside Context Problem

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'll never understand the human obsession with dead remains.
It's a gesture. One of those strange human things.
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Old 14th July 2015, 06:13 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by wea View Post
is it? in the animation it seems 3-4 times farther from earth than the moon, I'd rather say L1 for sun-earth
D'oh, my bad.
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Old 14th July 2015, 06:24 AM   #116
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I believe it is now transmitting data back to earth. Will take awhile to get here though.
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Old 14th July 2015, 06:31 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
I believe it is now transmitting data back to earth. Will take awhile to get here though.
Not at the moment.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/The-Flyby.php
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Old 14th July 2015, 06:35 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by One Skunk Todd View Post
But it was four hours ago.
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Old 14th July 2015, 06:37 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by One Skunk Todd View Post
To expand on this a bit, the probe is too busy taking observations right now to communicate with Earth. After it finishes the flyby, it will begin data transmission. Because of the low data transfer rate, it will take about a year (IIRC) to download all the data from the flyby.
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Old 14th July 2015, 06:40 AM   #120
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Via Boingboing:

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