New Horizons visits Ultima Thule

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Sydde, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
    #1
    The spacecraft that gave us the great pictures of Pluto has just passed its next target (about an hour and a half ago). It is 12 light-hours away and transmits very, very slowly (in not-even-K bps), so some time Tuesday afternoon we might get some vague images or other info. Unless, of course, it ran into something.
     
  2. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #2
    4 billion miles away from Earth. It will take 2 years to beam back all of the data.
     
  3. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #3
    I have been reading about this today, avidly, and with absorbed and fascinated interest.

    This is an amazing - an awesome - story.
     
  4. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #4
    We are also chasing an astroid!
     
  5. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
    #5
    It appears that we have confirmation of the encounter and the lack of slamming into anything.
     
  6. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    #6
    Reminds me of someone I was at school with who was a horrible driver. His retort was always, "You lived to complain about it, didn't you?".
     
  7. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
  8. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #9
    Likewise; I have always found this sort of exploration and discovery both incredibly exciting and exceptionally interesting.
     
  10. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #10
  11. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
    #11
    It appears to be a “contact binary”: two rocks fused together.

    [​IMG]
    Vox link
     
  12. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    #12
    I can't be the only one to see a face on the lower lobe.

    Ultima-thule-face.jpg

    The upper lobe looks a bit like a cartoonishly exaggerated chef's toque.

    Or maybe a man bun.
     
  13. obeygiant, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019

    obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool
    #13
    This initial look at Ultima Thule was taken from a distance of about 30,000 miles, when the spacecraft was zooming toward the small, distant world. At the moment of closest approach, New Horizons came within 2,200 miles of the surface.

    “Everything we are telling you is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “Far less than 1% of the data is already down on the ground.”

    The new images revealed that Ultima Thule’s topography rises and falls by about a mile in height, but whether those differences in elevation are due to craters or mountains and hills is still to be determined. Future images taken from different angles will allow scientists to analyze the shadows falling on Ultima Thule’s surface, which may help answer those questions.

    Scientists will also look for opportunities to peer into the planetesimal’s interior and search for signs of layering, or regions with different chemical compositions.

    And they’ll hunt for evidence of small moons or satellites orbiting Ultima Thule, which could help them determine its mass.

    “It’s just going to get better and better,” Stern said.
    Its amazing after 4 billion miles they can miss this rock by 2200 miles. Current speed of NH is about 16.6 kilometers per second. That's difficult to comprehend. Light speed is 299792 km/s

    They say it'll take almost 2 years to relay all the data. This download is expected to take 20 months at a data rate of 1-2 kilobits per second
     
  14. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
    #14
    This thing is something like twenty miles long and ten miles across the wide end, and we spotted it from over four billion miles away, in the star-laced night. That is freaking amazing.
     
  15. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    #15
    I just watched a Nova episode (Pluto and Beyond) and there was a scene that showed the correction being done as the probe approached. There was a yellow (?) cross on the image that showed the predicted center, and a blue-green cross that showed the actual center. Since there was a difference, they knew they needed to correct the trajectory, and by how much.

    It's a good Nova episode, well worth watching. Here's one version of it, I'm sure you can find others:
    https://www.thirteen.org/programs/nova/pluto-and-beyond-gwcrnv/
     
  16. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
    #16
    Sad news: “Data transmission from New Horizons will pause for about a week while the spacecraft passes behind the sun as seen from here on Earth. Data transmission resumes Jan. 10, starting a 20-month download of the spacecraft's remaining scientific treasures.” Well, ok, not really sad, as such, but, argh, "The waiting is the hardest part ..."
     
  17. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
    #17
    Approach animation from recently received earlier images.

    It looks like NASA is working hard to collect the data at a time when their department is not receiving much in the way of government support. Hope they can keep it going.
     
  18. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Frogstar World B
    #18
    It seems as though Ultima Thule May be even stranger than we thought
    After analyzing these new images, scientists say the larger lobe more closely resembles a large pancake, and the smaller lobe looks a bit like a walnut. The new photos reveal a dramatically different object because they were taken from a different angle than the images that were downloaded first.
     
  19. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    #19
    Looks like the disc slipped off the turtle's back, and is now abreast instead of atop.
    I'm not sure where the elephants went.
     

Share This Page