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Thread: Pluto / New Horizons

  1. #1

    Default Pluto / New Horizons

    Hey who here knows about the planet Pluto and the spacecraft that is about to fly past it next week? I'm a fan of Pluto and have always wanted to know more about it. But, since it is so small and so far away even our most powerful telescopes on the ground and even the Hubble space telescope can't get more then blurry blotchy images of it.

    But now we're 1 day, 19 hours, about 45 minutes away from the closest approach of the flyby and already are getting amazing pictures back! The spacecraft has been in flight for about 9.5 years!

  2. #2

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    I've always thought it was interesting just because it is ' the last house on the block '.
    It was a bit of a scare when it shut down communications a few days ago.
    It will be interesting to see the photo spread once the space craft has finished the pass-by.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluMew View Post
    Hey who here knows about the planet Pluto and the spacecraft that is about to fly past it next week? I'm a fan of Pluto and have always wanted to know more about it. But, since it is so small and so far away even our most powerful telescopes on the ground and even the Hubble space telescope can't get more then blurry blotchy images of it.

    But now we're 1 day, 19 hours, about 45 minutes away from the closest approach of the flyby and already are getting amazing pictures back! The spacecraft has been in flight for about 9.5 years!
    It's really cool that these photos seem to have re-energized public interest in space. The reason why Hubble has a tough time with images of Pluto is because Pluto moves too fast. With how little light gets reflected from Pluto, it requires a long exposure to get enough light for it to be visible, but unlike deep-space photos Pluto will have moved too far in the field of view of the photos for the image to have clarity. This is why we have such clear images of distant clusters of galaxies from Hubble, but it doesn't produce good images of objects within the solar system.
    Last edited by DMVanGrif; 12-Jul-2015 at 17:32. Reason: Grammar

  4. #4

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    Last I heard, what happened was that the computer crashed while it was executing instructions and programing ground controllers uploaded while preparing it for flyby. The spacecraft has redundant systems onboard though. So after it recognized what happened it stopped all activity switched to the backup system and radioed home to let us know. I missed the first (critical) part of the phone conference where they explained exactly what caused the computer crash, but the long and short is that the main computer was OK, the spacecraft was OK, and it wasn't going to affect the flyby, at all. The exact sequence of events that caused the crash won't be repeated and the computer code being used for the flyby has been extensively vetted and reviewed and tested on engineering models of the computer such that there should be no problems.

    The spacecraft was returned to normal operation on its main computer last Tuesday and the science lost due to the "Safing Event" was negligible.

  5. #5

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    so far the pictures are pretty good. but when I get closer it should be need and a lot clearer.

  6. #6

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    I've been following this story with interest too. Always have been a fan of Pluto, which in my heart will always be a planet

  7. #7

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    i've a passing interest and have been following the progress on BBC teletext, but i'm ready for it being an anti-climax of an encounter.

  8. #8

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    I like Pluto but I think Mickey Mouse is more interesting. I've been reading some articles on the mission to Pluto in The Washington Post, and it's fascinating. I wonder if this fly by will be able to reveal what Pluto is predominantly made up of? Pluto is in a ring of other rocks and ice all traveling at a high rate of speed.

  9. #9

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    I'm really hyped to learn and see more of Pluto. Really, almost any kind of Space News is interesting to me.

  10. #10

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    Hey all, I just found a neat website / webapp from NASA, called NASA's Eyes. More or less lets you ride along with their spacecraft in a computer simulation.

    http://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/eyes-on-pluto.html

    There's also a button to "preview" the flyby and make time flyby faster so you can see what the craft will be doing.

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