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CWSmith
04-29-2015, 03:48 PM
New Horizons is approaching Pluto and early photographs from the spacecraft suggest that Pluto may have polar ice caps.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150429

I think the Hubble may have made similar claims, but as New Horizons reaches closest approach on July 15 the images will get MUCH better. It's going to be interesting.

Pluto is 32x more distant from the Sun than the Earth. Everything out there is pretty darn cold.

CK 17
04-29-2015, 05:16 PM
Frozen methane maybe?

CWSmith
04-29-2015, 05:32 PM
Frozen methane maybe?

That's what I'm wondering. Most everything freezes out there, or at least what we're used to thinking about.

Mid-July should be interesting.

JimD
04-29-2015, 07:39 PM
Where there's ice there's cold beverages. This could be an important find for future manned exploration.

WX
04-29-2015, 07:43 PM
The fact the craft left Earth in 2006 certainly gives a sense of scale to the distances involved. I'm looking forward to the close up shots and I read that high res photos will start on the 28th May.

BrianW
04-29-2015, 09:04 PM
Surely it won't be frozen in July.

Gerarddm
04-29-2015, 10:40 PM
I love this kind of stuff. Makes me feel good about being human amidst the typical horror.

TomF
04-30-2015, 07:53 AM
A planet dangerous even for brass monkeys.

Paul Pless
04-30-2015, 10:38 AM
A planet dangerous even for brass monkeys.not a planet :D

CWSmith
04-30-2015, 10:54 AM
not a planet :D

Don't get me started! My friend likes to wear the T-shirt that reads "When I was your age Pluto was a planet."

Paul Pless
04-30-2015, 10:57 AM
space geek stuff

current speed: 16.26 km per second
weight: 1054 pounds
the craft carries 16 thrusters, four 1 ft pound thrusters are for trajectory control, 12 .2 ft pound thrusters are for spin/stabilaztion
new horizon navigation is automated and done through two separate star cameras (think high tech sextant)
power is 228 watts decaying by 5% per year provided by 11kg of Plutonioum 238

instruments include two cameras, two telescopes, two mass spectrometers, a dust collector, instruments to study solar


a grand piano mated to a cocktail bar satellite dish

http://www.redchairblogs.com/starstruck/files/2013/07/New_Horizons_RTG.jpg

Peerie Maa
04-30-2015, 12:05 PM
Frozen methane maybe?

Apparently it is most likely nitrogen.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32524978

CWSmith
04-30-2015, 12:25 PM
More space geek stuff:

What amazes me most is that 228 watts of power. Due to degradation, they only need 200 watts to run the full spacecraft.

I can't find specifics on the power needed to communicate, but on Voyager it's about 20 watts. With that, New Horizons can send 1000 bits/sec of information to Earth from 3 billion miles away.

switters
04-30-2015, 12:28 PM
Earth First!

We will warm the rest of the planets later.

Paul Pless
04-30-2015, 01:21 PM
More space geek stuff:The entire space craft is built to conserve heat, but early in its journey it will get too hot, so there are radiator fins built into the radioisotope thermoelectric generator. During the transit from Jupiter to Pluto the radiator fins have been disabled to conserve heat within the part of the spacecraft which contains the scientific instruments. . .

Paul Pless
04-30-2015, 01:22 PM
I can't find specifics on the power needed to communicate, but on Voyager it's about 20 watts. With that, New Horizons can send 1000 bits/sec of information to Earth from 3 billion miles away.since 2007, new horizons has spent virtually the entire time shut down, coming 'alive' only once per year, briefly to check systems

CWSmith
04-30-2015, 03:25 PM
since 2007, new horizons has spent virtually the entire time shut down, coming 'alive' only once per year, briefly to check systems

I know. However, with an RTG they aren't saving power. They just don't want to commit the Deep Space Network to tracking it and not something else.

Although they've had very little data, they have some really nice new results on newborn interstellar pickup ions. :)