New Horizons Pluto Encounter

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by obeygiant, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. obeygiant, Jun 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015

    obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Updated LORRI images

    Can't wait until July 14!
     
  2. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #2
    Agreed, I'm very excited to see Pluto up close. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. satcomer macrumors 603

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    This will be historical! The science will further mankind's understanding of our own solar system.
     
  4. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #4
    Hey Hey
    Ho Ho
    Pluto's dwarf planet status has to go!
     
  5. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    Ha ha, tell that to Neil Degrasse Tyson! :p
     
  6. obeygiant thread starter macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    Looks like we won't be able see everything right away.

    Once New Horizons clears the Pluto system, it will begin sending information back to Earth, and the scientists finally get confirmation that their long journey was a success. The craft was built with as few moving parts as possible, so it will literally turn around to talk to Earth. New Horizons will transmit 64 GB of information back to NASA at 1 KB per second, a trickle compared to even the 56K connection speeds of 1990s dial-up internet. The entire process of downlinking the information to the Deep Space Network will take 16 months. The data will take years to process.

    Popular Mechanics
     
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    Fascinating. I love reading about this sort of thing.

    Great story, and thanks for posting and sharing.
     
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator

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    That's one slow data transfer!
     
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    Yes, I remember those 56K connection speeds, and how one used to hope you got 56K, or 52k, or even 49K, rather than anything under 35K when the connection kicked in.

    Still, it will be fascinating to see what sort of detailed data actually does come down that channel, irrespective of how slowly it travels…...
     
  10. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

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    The Sky Guide app has a countdown for the arrival for the New Horizons probe. It is currently 10 days 19 hours 2 minutes and 12,856,000 km from Pluto.
     
  11. aaronvan Suspended

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    Starting to gt some detail on Pluto. Looks like it might have a big Deathstar-style crater like Mimas.
     
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator

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    I'm not an expert in those space projects, but I imagine the extraordinarily slow transfer speed is due to the long distance and probably more so due to trying to conserve power on board the craft.

    But waiting to see images of Pluto for the first time in our space exploration history has to be agonizing for those on the mission.

    I'm looking forward to seeing them too for sure.
     
  13. Scepticalscribe, Jul 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    Sure, I agree.

    Well, for what it is worth, I remember as an awestruck kid watching the news reports on the launches of both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, (they were launched about a fortnight apart in late August and mid September 1977) in autumn 1977, and the calm voice of the newsreader explaining what they had been designed to do, where they were supposed to fly to, and when they were to make their respective rendezvous with destiny and discovery.

    Those destinies were set in the far future, years and years away - when you are a kid, two years will seem an eternity. I remember thinking about those dates, and wondering about the passage of time, in my life as well as the lives of those splendid pair of Voyagers.

    At that time, their date with Jupiter - scheduled for 1979 - was still two years away, and they were to fly on to greet (and inspect) Saturn two years after that again, in 1981. Actually, I still remember my stunned awe, hearing the calm voice of the newsreader explain - reading from his notes - that their exploratory journeys would then diverge, with Voyager 2 taking a different path which would allow a fly past of Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989. Wow, 1989? It seemed forever and a day away.

    I followed the reports of all of those fly-pasts, and devoured whatever written material I could lay hands on; later, as a student, I even attended a few talks given by astronomers and scientists in the university, and still recall one extraordinarily interesting talk given by a journalist who had developed a passionate interest in these topics, and had made himself the state broadcaster's expert on space exploration.

    Anyway, by 1989, when the Neptune fly-past occurred, I had been teaching for a few years. I remember reading an account of the Neptune fly-past in one of the university coffee shops, the daily newspaper spread out in front of me, coffee cup and saucer placed to one side, still awestruck by what I was reading.

    And, no more than the Pluto mission which is the subject matter of this thread, given the passage of time and the development of technology in the meantime, these craft are sending a wealth of data using technology that has been long - if not quite obsolete but somewhat superseded - but one which still works wonders.

    Anyway, whenever there is such a fly-by, even now, I am transported back to being that kid who watched those news reports in the 1970s, as thrilled and as awestruck as ever.
     
  14. obeygiant thread starter macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    [​IMG]

    Yeah when the mission launched my oldest daughter was 2 years old. And I remember thinking she would be 10 when New Horizons reached Pluto. It kind of blew my mind back then but now the day is almost here and I can't believe all the "water under the bridge" since then.
     
  15. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

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    8 days 16 hours 36 minutes & 10,352,458 km to go!:D
     
  16. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    Well worth waiting for. And extraordinary, just extraordinary.
     
  17. aaronvan Suspended

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  18. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

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    #18
  19. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    I can only assume that they'll be extraordinarily motivated to try to fix it in time; indeed, anything I have read on such topics wold seem to suggest that they will take it as a personal and professional challenge and will rise to the occasion. Until they announce that it has not been possible to effect the relevant repairs or work out what has gone wrong, I'll take the view that they will manage some last minute miracles, as they have done so often to date.
     
  20. obeygiant thread starter macrumors 68040

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    NASA says scientists are planning to return the New Horizons probe to normal science operations on Tuesday, a week before its historic Pluto flyby, after figuring out what caused a weekend glitch that briefly knocked it out of contact with Earth.

    "I'm pleased that our mission team quickly identified the problem and assured the health of the spacecraft," Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science, said Sunday in a mission update. "Now — with Pluto in our sights — we're on the verge of returning to normal operations and going for the gold."

    The New Horizons team traced Saturday's failure to a hard-to detect timing flaw in a spacecraft command sequence that occurred during operations to prepare for the July 14 flyby, NASA said. Because of the flaw, the spacecraft went out of communication for almost an hour and a half, switched control from its primary to its backup computer and came back online in protective safe mode.

    The piano-sized spacecraft let engineers know that it was healthy and capable of receiving commands. Over the day that followed, New Horizons team members went through a troubleshooting routine to track down the glitch.

    Now they're gradually bringing the spacecraft back to normal — but the task requires a few days in part because New Horizons is almost 3 billion miles (5 billion kilometers) away. It takes four and a half hours for signals to reach the probe at the speed of light, and another four and a half hours to receive the spacecraft's response.

    The operation that triggered the flaw won't happen again, NASA said. New Horizons is currently about 6 million miles (9.9 million kilometers) from Pluto and is traveling on course for its flyby at a speed of more than 30,000 mph (50,000 kilometers per hour). NASA said the outage shouldn't have any impact on the $728 million mission's ability to meet its primary objectives.

    "In terms of science, it won't change an A-plus even into an A," the mission's principal investigator, Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, said in Sunday's update.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/spac...am-reviving-pluto-probe-after-anomaly-n386876
     
  21. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

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  22. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    #22
    Great news; I'm delighted to hear that they fixed it - and I had no doubt whatsoever that they would rise to the challenge.

    Now, let us wait and see some of what Pluto has to offer by way of spectacular - and unexpected - discovery.
     
  23. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    NASA just posted some new images of Pluto today.

    Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 4.30.19 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 4.30.30 PM.png
     
  24. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    Awesome. Brilliant. Fascinating.

    For years, a few paragraphs tagged on in the final section of 'Solar System' publications were all that one ever could find about Pluto….and now, we can get to actually see what the surface looks like and explore other aspects and features of the planet as well.

    This is extraordinarily interesting. I could spend hours poring over stuff like this.

    And, thanks for taking the tine and trouble to post this @SandboxGeneral.
     
  25. JamesMike macrumors demi-god

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