New Horizons nears Pluto

Here’s some useful information from Emily Lakdawalla at the planetary society for those who want to know what to expect as the flyby happens.
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/06240556-what-to-expect-new-horizons-pluto.html

Here's some useful information from Emily Lakdawalla at the planetary society for those who want to know what to expect as the flyby happens. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/06240556-what-to-expect-new-horizons-pluto.html
Thanks that was very cool - some interesting facts about making the most of limited time and download capabilities. A couple comments worth sharing:
Unless I'm missing something, this may be the last time we get that "first time seeing it" feeling for a very, very long time. Enjoy it folks. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Possibly forever, or at least until they invent warp drive. Nothing planned for Uranus or Neptune. We won't EVER go to Pluto again, so that KBO, which will be chosen over the summer, is it. The era of First encounters that began in 1959 is OVER.
As I guy born in 1955 and into this stuff all along what a long fascinating trip it's been.

And now, back at home we shall continue destroying the most fantastic planet of them all. :down:

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It's easy to wax nostalgic just as when the last shuttle mission landed but there's lots to look forward to. The James web telescope will be replacing Hubble in a few years and is likely to make some amazing discoveries.
no doubt. meanwhile back at Pluto, it's show time.
NASA’s New Horizons: A “Heart" from Pluto as Flyby Begins http://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-new-horizons-a-heart-from-pluto-as-flyby-begins After a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to Pluto, it’s show time for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the flyby sequence of science observations is officially underway. In the early morning hours of July 8, mission scientists received this new view of Pluto—the most detailed yet returned by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons. The image was taken on July 7, when the spacecraft was just under 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) from Pluto, and is the first to be received since the July 4 anomaly that sent the spacecraft into safe mode. This view is centered roughly on the area that will be seen close-up during New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach. This side of Pluto is dominated by three broad regions of varying brightness. Most prominent are an elongated dark feature at the equator, informally known as “the whale," and a large heart-shaped bright area measuring some 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) across on the right. Above those features is a polar region that is intermediate in brightness. “The next time we see this part of Pluto at closest approach, a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today," said Jeff Moore, Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team Leader of NASA’s Ames Research Center. “It will be incredible!" Last Updated: July 11, 2015 Editor: Tricia Talbert
Reminds me of some of the heart rocks my gal and I occasionally find.

These images a fascinating. The more I see the more I think Pluto should be reclassified as a planet. In case you didn’t know, there is a free app for iPhone and Android available to follow along: Pluto Safari.

These images are fascinating. The more I see the more I think Pluto should be reclassified as a planet. In case you didn't know, there is a free app for iPhone and Android available to follow along: Pluto Safari.
The petitions are probably already circulating through grade schools :coolsmile: 'Houston, We Have Geology' http://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-image-of-pluto-houston-we-have-geology
These images are fascinating. The more I see the more I think Pluto should be reclassified as a planet. In case you didn't know, there is a free app for iPhone and Android available to follow along: Pluto Safari.
The petitions are probably already circulating through grade schools :coolsmile: 'Houston, We Have Geology' http://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-image-of-pluto-houston-we-have-geology I vote planethood for Pluto and demoting Mercury to dwarf planet status.

I vote to keep it a dwarf planet. The reclassification isn’t meant as an insult to plutos status but as a method to better describe the increasing number and variety of objects in our solar system. In some ways reclassifying Pluto as the neaest Kuiper Belt Object could be seen as an honorary promotion.
When you look at Pluto it really does seem different. It is extremely small and icy. The plane of its orbit is inclined by 17 degrees to the orbit of all the rest of the planets. It also has the most eccentric orbit of any planet. It’s so eccentric in fact that there are times when plutos orbit actually passes inside that of Neptune.
Additionally there are other objects further out which are larger than Pluto in the Kuiper belt. It’s clear that it made no sense to call all of these objects planets and that it would be useful to have a more nuanced classification scheme. Hence the change in Plutos status which to me at least makes sense.

'Houston, We Have Geology'
Wouldn't that be cryo-Plutology? But then it would have to be cryo to be Pluto so that must be redundant. psik
'Houston, We Have Geology'
Wouldn't that be cryo-Plutology? But then it would have to be cryo to be Pluto so that must be redundant. psik Hey psik, where you been hiding? Dropped by just to deliver a second smack down in a row :grrr: ;-P Back to Pluto… okay, okay
geology (n.) Look up geology at Dictionary.com 1795 as "science of the past and present condition of the Earth's crust," from Modern Latin geologia "the study of the earth," from geo- "earth" + logia (see -logy). German Geologie is attested by 1785. In Medieval Latin, geologia (14c.) meant "study of earthly things," i.e. law, as distinguished from arts and sciences, which concern the works of God. Darwin used geologize as a verb.
As for 'cryo', hang on and wait til the fat lady (opps the New Horizons) sings, maybe it's not all ice and frozen gases
I vote planethood for Pluto and demoting Mercury to dwarf planet status.
Darron you might get a kick out of this blog and comments thread
Why is Pluto not a planet? Posted by Greg Laden on July 13, 2015 http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/07/13/why-is-pluto-not-a-planet
In the discussion, some are calling for Mercury's head, so to speak, if not Pluto, to heck with lonely, moonless frying freezing Mercury. But more interesting is all the different nuances that come into play when trying to define what's a planet and what's not. Makes my mind spin, at times like this it's a relief to be a consensus kinda guy - I can take the experts word for it and call it good. :cheese: (dang, once again hit 'edit' rather than 'quote')

They’re pushing for a kick ass name for one of Pluto’s features.]

And speaking of Pluto's features, NASA scientists are now giving unofficial names to some of the things they've spotted -- names they can submit to the International Astronomical Union for official approval. They're sticking with the trend of underworld creatures and gods -- Pluto, after all, was the Roman god of the underworld -- and have tentatively named a previously observed dark, whale-shaped splotch (just to the left of the broken heart) after "Cthulhu," the dark deity invented by author H.P. Lovecraft. Described as part man, part dragon, and part octopus, Cthulhu has gained something of a cult following in the Internet age.
New Horizons has phoned home to say its okay. Data dump to begin later.]
NEW HORIZONS IS ALIVE! The "I'm OK" signal has been received at Earth, letting us know the probe survived closest encounter. That's fantastic news! That's all we'll get for a while; the probe has been very busy taking data while it's still close to Pluto and its moons, and turned away just long enough to let us know it's working. Since it's all one big piece, it can only do one thing at a time, and this time is best spent doing what it does best: Looking at Pluto. This was a quick burst of data, and it will send images and data later tonight.
Flip left-right and use just the head. Pluto 0n Pluto. psik

NASA whistleblower leaks detailed closeup of Pluto.

Uh oh.

The first images from the close pass are starting to come in.]

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Pluto has mountains of water ice towering near its equator. The peaks reach up to 11,000 feet high in a region where there are no obvious impact craters. This suggests that some geologic force created the mountains, while other relatively recent activity kept the surrounding terrain fresh and smooth. That's a shock, because until now, scientists thought that the most probable thing driving this kind of activity on icy worlds is tidal heating—the gravitational push-and-pull from a much larger orbital partner.

There was a great NOVA program on PBS tonight about the flyby with up to the minute info and photos. The most interesting thing about the show to me was to see the people involved in the program. Its really an accomplishment when you think of the technology and the skills required to put a team together to comlete this unbelievable feat.
This probe was built and managed by the Applied Physics Lab (APL) at Johns Hopkins in Maryland which is often referred to as the east coast JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab). We visited the better known JPL in Pasadena last year and took a tour. A lot of history made there and very worth your while if anyone is planning a trip out that way. You need to apply in advance though since spots are limited and they have to put you through a security clearance.
APL and JPL compete for projects as they are proposed making for real cutting edge skills and ideas with a success rate unmatched anywhere in the world for these out of the world mission impossibles.

I’m watching that program right now. Very interesting. Pluto is turning out to be much more interesting than expected.

There was a great NOVA program on PBS tonight about the flyby with up to the minute info and photos. The most interesting thing about the show to me was to see the people involved in the program. Its really an accomplishment when you think of the technology and the skills required to put a team together to comlete this unbelievable feat. This probe was built and managed by the Applied Physics Lab (APL) at Johns Hopkins in Maryland which is often referred to as the east coast JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab). We visited the better known JPL in Pasadena last year and took a tour. A lot of history made there and very worth your while if anyone is planning a trip out that way. You need to apply in advance though since spots are limited and they have to put you through a security clearance. APL and JPL compete for projects as they are proposed making for real cutting edge skills and ideas with a success rate unmatched anywhere in the world for these out of the world mission impossibles.
The founder of JPL was a bit of an "odd duck," to say the least. This podcast gives a good bit of his story.]

Charon is a beauty too:
Full picture here].
I think you will find the newest pictures always at from the NASA-New Horizons’ homepage].