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Tags astronomy , New Horizons , pluto

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Old 20th July 2015, 08:35 AM   #321
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My guess is we'll go back to Pluto in the same way New Horizons did--as a fly-by without plans to stick around. Let's face it, it's a relatively minor celestial body; something worth noting when you're in the area, but not worth making the trip specifically for.
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Old 20th July 2015, 08:44 AM   #322
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
My guess is we'll go back to Pluto in the same way New Horizons did--as a fly-by without plans to stick around. Let's face it, it's a relatively minor celestial body; something worth noting when you're in the area, but not worth making the trip specifically for.
I believe you've missed the key aspect of the mission: that is, to explore the Kuiper Belt Objects. The surprising findings will surely lead to more interest in the outer solar system.
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Old 20th July 2015, 08:47 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
My guess is we'll go back to Pluto in the same way New Horizons did--as a fly-by without plans to stick around. Let's face it, it's a relatively minor celestial body; something worth noting when you're in the area, but not worth making the trip specifically for.
If we head out that far again, I'd rather we visit some place new. I'm particularly curious about Haumea.
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Old 20th July 2015, 09:16 AM   #324
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
If we head out that far again, I'd rather we visit some place new. I'm particularly curious about Haumea.
Meh. The real challenge is Sedna.
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Old 20th July 2015, 09:23 AM   #325
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I believe you've missed the key aspect of the mission: that is, to explore the Kuiper Belt Objects. The surprising findings will surely lead to more interest in the outer solar system.
Trouble is, the Kuiper Belt is a really big place. My thought is that if/when we visit Pluto again, it'll be as a series of fly-bys to examine such objects.
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Old 20th July 2015, 09:27 AM   #326
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Me too, Haumea...I am tired of balls.
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Old 20th July 2015, 04:17 PM   #327
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My opinion is that there will be a "third space age" when we can finally pair up advanced electric engines with nuclear reactors and get reaction mass from the moon and go pretty much anywhere in the Solar System within a few months.

That is when we will orbit Pluto.
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Old 20th July 2015, 04:22 PM   #328
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
My opinion is that there will be a "third space age" when we can finally pair up advanced electric engines with nuclear reactors and get reaction mass from the moon and go pretty much anywhere in the Solar System within a few months.

That is when we will orbit Pluto.
The fourth age will have Bergenholm inertialess drives.

You read it here first.
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Old 20th July 2015, 04:24 PM   #329
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla Sama View Post
The fourth age will have Bergenholm inertialess drives.
The fifth age, after the Bergenholm age, will begin once the 4th age runs out of adjectives.
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Old 20th July 2015, 04:31 PM   #330
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Originally Posted by Denver View Post
The fifth age, after the Bergenholm age, will begin once the 4th age runs out of adjectives.
Terse Age.
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Old 20th July 2015, 04:48 PM   #331
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Pluto is SO 2015! We need to go someplace we haven't properly been. Neptune/Triton get my vote. Orbiter of course.
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Old 20th July 2015, 07:46 PM   #332
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Pluto is SO 2015! We need to go someplace we haven't properly been. Neptune/Triton get my vote. Orbiter of course.
I say, pick the places most likely to have life and send probes back to them. See if we can nail down if any actually have life or not.
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Old 20th July 2015, 08:47 PM   #333
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
I say, pick the places most likely to have life and send probes back to them. See if we can nail down if any actually have life or not.
Sure. Europa would be my bet. Got a whole sack of technological challenges but that didn't stop us before.
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Old 21st July 2015, 01:13 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Sure. Europa would be my bet. Got a whole sack of technological challenges but that didn't stop us before.
It's the challenges that make it interesting...
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Old 21st July 2015, 02:09 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Sure. Europa would be my bet. Got a whole sack of technological challenges but that didn't stop us before.
i suppose we'd really want to land there with some device trundling about like the ones on Mars, taking samples to see if any traces of life have percolated up to the surface through cracks in the ice. Is that within the scope of current technology?

I take it that creatures living in igloos on the surface and "fishing" through holes in the ice are unlikely to be found.
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Old 21st July 2015, 05:28 AM   #336
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
i suppose we'd really want to land there with some device trundling about like the ones on Mars, taking samples to see if any traces of life have percolated up to the surface through cracks in the ice. Is that within the scope of current technology?

I take it that creatures living in igloos on the surface and "fishing" through holes in the ice are unlikely to be found.
I think the first Europa mission will be a Lander or rover to examine the chemistry of the surface. If we found signs, or even hints, of biology, then Europa would pretty much have to be to main focus of every space agency on Earth.
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Old 21st July 2015, 05:44 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
I think the first Europa mission will be a Lander or rover to examine the chemistry of the surface. If we found signs, or even hints, of biology, then Europa would pretty much have to be to main focus of every space agency on Earth.
We've done been told already.
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Old 21st July 2015, 05:45 AM   #338
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
I think the first Europa mission will be a Lander or rover to examine the chemistry of the surface. If we found signs, or even hints, of biology, then Europa would pretty much have to be to main focus of every space agency on Earth.
Definitely look for hints in the upwellings before trying to drill into the liquidsphere.
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Old 21st July 2015, 05:46 AM   #339
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Sure. Europa would be my bet. Got a whole sack of technological challenges but that didn't stop us before.
Titan is better--if there is life, it'll be at the surface of those organic solvent ponds. We've already sent a probe there; all we need to do is go back and send a probe with a digital camera and radio. Add a few other bells and whistles, perhaps, but not many--the point is to see if there is life, and the "seeing" part is the key.

Or, even better: a combo mission. Have the craft drop such a probe off on Titan, stick around for a while to relay the info back to Earth, then go to Europa, repeat, then go to the next candidate, repeat...(obviously the itinerary is flexible). It'd take a while, but it would be worth it. We could, with one mission, answer one of the greatest questions of all time: Are we alone?
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Old 21st July 2015, 06:34 AM   #340
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Originally Posted by Monketi Ghost View Post
We've done been told already.
Come on. What are they going to do ? Blot out the sun ? Give me a break !
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Old 21st July 2015, 06:36 AM   #341
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Come on. What are they going to do ? Blot out the sun ? Give me a break !
Ignite Jupiter? It'd make colonising the Jovian system easier.
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Old 21st July 2015, 07:56 AM   #342
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Originally Posted by Monketi Ghost View Post
We've done been told already.
Come on! Are we 'Muricans, or what?
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:14 AM   #343
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Titan is better--if there is life, it'll be at the surface of those organic solvent ponds.
Problem is, Europa seems to have water oceans, and we know that such an environment is hospitable to life. Titan has lakes of methane and ethane: no liquid water - the rocks are frozen water. No life we are familiar with could endure such conditions.

It is far from certain that anything describable as life could evolve or survive on a body like that.
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:16 AM   #344
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By the way: how can a body as small as Titan, way smaller than Mars, be able to hold such a thick atmosphere ?
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:16 AM   #345
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Problem is, Europa seems to have water oceans, and we know that such an environment is hospitable to life. Titan has lakes of methane and ethane: no liquid water - the rocks are frozen water. No life we are familiar with could endure such conditions.

It is far from certain that anything describable as life could evolve or survive on a body like that.
True, but we already have some evidence of metabolic processes on Titan.
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:21 AM   #346
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
By the way: how can a body as small as Titan, way smaller than Mars, be able to hold such a thick atmosphere ?
Probably because Saturn's magnetic field shields it from solar winds, which are also weaker at Saturn's orbit than at Mars's orbit.
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:24 AM   #347
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Huh. Hadn't thought about that.
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:25 AM   #348
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
True, but we already have some evidence of metabolic processes on Titan.
Do you have a link? Because that's really interesting.
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:27 AM   #349
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Do you have a link? Because that's really interesting.
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsyst...n20100603.html

There you go. It's a popular-press article, but you can find the peer-reviewed stuff pretty easily from there. I find the non-biological arguments to be somewhat lacking; not necessarily wrong, but I believe a scientific hypothesis needs to be more than "It might be something weird we don't know about yet".
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:37 AM   #350
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
I find the non-biological arguments to be somewhat lacking; not necessarily wrong, but I believe a scientific hypothesis needs to be more than "It might be something weird we don't know about yet".
The flip side is that since alien life is the explanation we want to be true, we need to be extra cautious about not jumping to that conclusion.
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Old 21st July 2015, 08:41 AM   #351
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsyst...n20100603.html

There you go. It's a popular-press article, but you can find the peer-reviewed stuff pretty easily from there. I find the non-biological arguments to be somewhat lacking; not necessarily wrong, but I believe a scientific hypothesis needs to be more than "It might be something weird we don't know about yet".
I take your point, but I also agree with the principle enunciated in the NASA article.

"Scientific conservatism suggests that a biological explanation should be the last choice after all non-biological explanations are addressed."

ETA Ziggurat, I see you got there first.

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Old 21st July 2015, 08:47 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
The flip side is that since alien life is the explanation we want to be true, we need to be extra cautious about not jumping to that conclusion.
Agreed--I said "evidence", not "proof". It's curious, something worth looking into. I'm willing to accept that we've found stromatolites on Mars (if nothing else, being proven wrong would result in facinating science), but here I'm not willing to go that far. I'm just saying that no alternative I've yet seen offered rises to the level of a testable scientific hypothesis, and since it's the only place we've found any evidence of life outside th Earth we should go back to look for more evidence.

Originally Posted by Craig B
I take your point, but I also agree with the principle enunciated in the NASA article.

"Scientific conservatism suggests that a biological explanation should be the last choice after all non-biological explanations are addressed."
I disagree. We shouldn't jump to such a conclusion, but "all non-biological explanations" is far too open-ended, and allows us to perpetually ignore evidence. I believe we should treat this hypothesis the same as any other.
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Old 21st July 2015, 09:03 AM   #353
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To be clear, where possible I prefer to use Strong Inferrence--with multiple working hypotheses and tests that exclude all but one (a quick google will show you the paper). When I say "treat it as any other hypothesis" I mean let's figure out what possible options there are, a way to test those options, and put them to the test.
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Old 21st July 2015, 11:35 AM   #354
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Just watched the excellent Sky at Night programme on New Horizons. One theory as to why the surfaces of both Pluto and Charon seem so young that I hadn't heard before is that the collision that formed Charon occurred relatively recently.
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Old 21st July 2015, 11:37 AM   #355
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Just watched the excellent Sky at Night programme on New Horizons. One theory as to why the surfaces of both Pluto and Charon seem so young that I hadn't heard before is that the collision that formed Charon occurred relatively recently.
I proposed that a while back. It wouls explain much of what we see, I think.
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Old 21st July 2015, 11:42 AM   #356
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Yeah but apparently the big heads at NASA don't like that solution.
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Old 21st July 2015, 11:49 AM   #357
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Why not?
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Old 21st July 2015, 11:55 AM   #358
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Why not?
Guy didn't say (he was quoted in an article... not sure I can find it again) but he said he'd rather rethink the science of how planetary surfacing works than consider a late formation.


(Googling "Charon recent formation")


Ah, there it is (top search result! Thanks, Google.) :

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...to-charon.html

Here's the relevant part:

Quote:
With both Charon and Pluto appearing so youthful, my first question about this was: is it time to consider the idea that the Charon-forming impact happened a lot more recently than we thought? I asked the question at the press briefing, but as it was my second question they didn't answer it. I've been polling scientists since, and while geologists like the idea, dynamicists say that the odds of such an impact happening late are "infinitesimal" (that's a quote from Bill McKinnon). I asked him whether a late impact is less likely than retaining primordial heat to the present day, and he -- a geophysicist -- seems to prefer rethinking his geophysics work to considering a late impact.
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Old 21st July 2015, 12:01 PM   #359
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So, no real reason given. I'm not at all convinced by one scientist's aversion to considering an idea--I'm too familiar with the Alvarez Hypothesis and the tectonics debates. Until someone gives me a solid reason, I'm going to continue to accept it as a viable explanation.

After all, we KNOW things hit each other, even back 100 ma. WE got hit 65 ma.
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Old 21st July 2015, 12:05 PM   #360
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Yeah but not with anything near that size, however. Personally I don't think a recent collision is unrealistic, but then this was an opinion, not a science paper.
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