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Old 05-03-2007   #61
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70% Of 34 Gigabytes

The New Horizons probe is still sending back data gathered during it's slingshot maneuver with Jupiter and the NH folks are delighted with the quality and clarity of the work done by their little robot (well, not really little seeing as how the thing is the size of a grand piano...)

Here is the news release straight from the NH site complete with links to press release graphics and new images.

In a couple of months, the NH probe will be "put to sleep" because there is very little to do or see for the next 2 thousand million miles or so. About once a year, the mission control folks will wake NH up and run a few checks but pretty much all there is to do now is wait until NH reaches the general neighborhood of Pluto in 2015. And although the probe will be nowhere near any other planets until it reaches Pluto, the crossing of each planet's orbit is known with some fair accuracy:

>Saturn-June 8 2008
>Uranus-March 18 2011
>Neptune-August 24 2014
>>PLUTO ENCOUNTER-July 14 2015

As of noon Central time May 3 2007, The NH probe is

2,376.88 million miles from Pluto (3,852.22 million KM)

479,652,000 miles from Earth (771,925,000 KM)

Travelling at almost 48,000 mph (76,000 km/h)
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Old 06-28-2007   #62
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New Horizons Probe Is "Sleeping"

Quote:
Headlines
June 28, 2007

New Horizons Slips into Electronic Slumber

New Horizons’ first operational hibernation phase is off to a successful start! On commands transmitted from the Mission Operations Center at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, through NASA’s Deep Space Network, the spacecraft eased into hibernation mode in the early hours of June 27. Since then, New Horizons has twice broadcast “green” beacon tones back to Earth, indicating all systems are healthy and operating as programmed.

Hibernation – in which the spacecraft’s redundant components and guidance and control system are powered off – is designed to reduce wear and tear on spacecraft electronics, lessen spacecraft-operation costs and free up Deep Space Network tracking resources for other missions. New Horizons will “sleep” in this spin-stabilized state for most of the remaining 8-year cruise to Pluto; operators will wake New Horizons for about two months out of each year for system checkouts and instrument calibrations.

During hibernation, New Horizons’ onboard flight computer monitors system health and broadcasts a beacon tone through the medium-gain antenna. New Horizons will transmit a “green” coded tone if all is well, or a “red” tone if it detects a problem and requires help from the operations team. New Horizons is the first mission to make operational use of hibernation in flight and the associated beacon communications mode.


"We're looking forward to an uneventful spacecraft slumber," says New Horizons Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman, of APL. She adds that to be sure everything is nominal, the team will check in on New Horizons seven times during this hibernation period, which lasts two weeks.

This hibernation phase is not to conserve battery power because the NH is powered by a special nuclear power supply (it's not a "reactor" in the traditional sense but it is radioactive) called a Radioisotope thermoelectric generator. The RTG will produce power whether the NH is awake or asleep and will continue to do so for decades. It is the same type of power plant which the Voyager and Pioneer deep space probes were equipped with back in the 70's as well as the Jupiter Galileo probe (now gone; deliberately crashed into Jupiter) and the current Cassini Saturn probe and they are still providing power to these probes although at a far lower level than when new.
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Old 07-14-2007   #63
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New Horizons Current Position

I don't have any special news on the NH probe except to say that it is currently "sleeping" for a few months and will be awakened shortly to make sure that it can be awakened. The real hibernation mode won't be initiated until sometimes in the late fall. Anyway, I did a few rough calculations and some estimations as to just where the probe is in relation to earth, and what part of the sky it is in and I came up with the following maps. The "Starry Night" version I use is "Digital Download" with all the extra plug-in packages. It runs about 55 dollars American and is worth every cent.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PIC1 is the actual location of NH as seen from an imaginary position far "above" (North) of the solar system. (Taken from the actual "Where Is New Horizons Now?" website which can be found here.) This site is updated hourly.

PIC2 is my projected position of the probe as seen from an observer facing SOUTH in the south central US at 1230am on July 14. (Image generated with Starry Night software and edited in Paint)

PIC3 is a considerable rougher estimation as to where the NH is in the sky of an observer facing NORTHWEST in Sydney Australia on July 15 at 1230 am. (Starry Night and Paint again)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Of course, you cannot actually see the NH, or Pluto for that matter, but it is kind of exciting that you can at least look in the general direction of the little robot as it makes its way across 2,300 million miles of emptiness...one last thing: The NH's position changes very slowly in the sky so these estimations should be fairly accurate for some time...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg New Horizons 14 july.jpg (52.9 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg New Horizons location 14 July.jpg (69.9 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg New Horizons as seen from Sydney AU July 15 1230 am.jpg (84.5 KB, 2 views)
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Old 09-27-2007   #64
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New Horizons Pluto Probe-latest news

Like I said in my last post on the subject, our intrepid little robot is tearing across the dark and cold outer reaches of the Solar System at over 44,000 mph (70,000km/h) and had been put into electronic hibernation because although it will be crossing the orbits of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, NH will not be coming anywhere close to the actual planets themselves so there's no reason for the equipment and computers to be operating at full power for the entire duration of the flight. This really doesn't save power per se because the nuclear battery will be generating pretty much the same amount of power whether the unit's systems are ON or OFF and will continue to do so for decades. The hibernation phase is really to allow the cameras, computers, and other instrumentation to rest at minimum power levels until they are needed for the actual Summer 2015 Pluto encounter. The NH Mission control team did wake up NH to conduct one more course correction: (any bolding of text in the following quote was added by me)

Quote:
For Immediate Release
September 27, 2007
Maneuver Puts New Horizons on a Straight Path to Pluto
With a slight tweak of its trajectory this week, New Horizons is headed toward the heart of the distant Pluto system.

Starting at 4:04 p.m. EDT on Sept. 25, New Horizons fired its thrusters for 15 minutes and 37 seconds, using less than a kilogram of fuel to change its velocity by 2.37 meters per second, or just more than 5 miles per hour. Monitored from the New Horizons Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., the maneuver was only the fourth trajectory correction for the spacecraft since launch in January 2006, and the first since it sped through the Jupiter system last February. The spacecraft was nearly 727 million miles (1.16 billion kilometers) from Earth during the maneuver – just about halfway between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn.

The mission team will evaluate data from this maneuver to see if others might be necessary before New Horizons encounters Pluto in July 2015. Without the burn, New Horizons could have missed Pluto by about 300,000 miles (about 500,000 kilometers). Its success points the spacecraft inside the orbits of Pluto’s moons.

“The burn was right on the money, and everything we had hoped for,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of NASA Headquarters, Washington. “Our operations team at APL and the navigation team from KinetX really earned their pay. Planet Pluto, here comes New Horizons!”

Those teams have some busy months ahead, as they complete the first of the annual checkouts planned for the spacecraft’s cruise to Pluto. “This annual checkout is a little longer than the next ones will be because of the trajectory correction maneuver [TCM] and other activities,” says New Horizons Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman, of APL. “In fact, the TCM yesterday was just the beginning of three weeks of intense operations.”

The team spent the past five weeks collecting Doppler tracking data to support the TCM and checking out various spacecraft subsystems. The checkout will also include final commissioning activities for several science instruments and subsystems, and the team will put the spacecraft into full encounter mode for the first time.

“Many of the activities that routinely get done in the annual checkout are first-time activities which means crafting new command sets, testing them on our simulators and fixing them as need be,” Bowman says. “In mid-November and mid-December, we’ll perform precession maneuvers that allow New Horizons to enter a five-month hibernation period. So operations will not settle down until just before the winter holidays.”




"AU" stands for Astronomical Unit- the average distance between the Sun and the Earth: 93 million miles (150 million km)

1 km/sec = 2,237 mph (3600 km/hr)

"Heliocentric velocity" is the probe's speed in relation to the Sun.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg nhcp20070901_0650.jpg (52.2 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg nhov20070901_0650.jpg (54.9 KB, 49 views)
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Old 09-28-2007   #65
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Re: New Horizons Pluto Probe-latest news

BUMP

I want to pick this up again.

This article is mainly about the course correction which NH performed. As I read, pondering what I know of the probe and its path through the solar system, I was struck by the extraordinarily small "errors envelope". A miss of 200,000 miles is only a tiny fraction of a percent off a dead on hit when you consider that the target is still 2 thousand million miles away! If you were standing in a golf course in New York and hit a ball across the continental US, landing it somewhere on the green in a course in Los Angeles, that would be about the same margin of error as that miss of 200,000 miles. The course correction NH just performed turned that green hit into a hole-in-one.

The other thing that still amazes me is the latest course correction was so small considering how NH got to where it is today and what it did a few months ago:
After launch, the NH was sent not on a course directly to Pluto, but on a course to Jupiter, the largest of planets. The plan was to send the NH into a course closer to Jupiter than the Moon is from Earth at a very precisely calculated angle and speed. Too sharp an angle and Jupiter's massive 2 1/2 Earth's gravity would pull the probe into a rapidly tightening orbit about Jupiter, ending in a burn up in the atmosphere. Too shallow and the probe would break away from Jupiter's gravity too soon, moving so fast and so far off course the probe would use all its maneuvering and navigation fuel before it could correct its course. The close pass with Jupiter went perfectly, sending NH on this "off by 200,000 mile" course to Pluto and picking up 9,000 mph in the process. That's a pretty amazingly accurate end result from such a radical and dangerous slingshot maneuver. The latest correction just fine-tuned this accuracy by another factor of 10. From here on out to Pluto its clear sailing; no more crazy slingshots around the planets past Jupiter. Saturn is on the far side of the Sun compared to the NH right now and Uranus and Neptune are maybe half a billion miles away to the probe's left.
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Last edited by ablethevoice; 10-02-2007 at 08:39 PM. Reason: fixed a wonky sentence
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Old 10-02-2007   #66
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Re: New Horizons Pluto Probe-latest news

So there was an official news release, then my extended commentary on the news. Now, Alan Stern has his say on what NH is doing and what the hardworking team at NH Mission Control is up to: (as usual, any bolding of text in the quote is mine)

Quote:
The PI's Perspective

Checking Out New Horizons
October 1, 2007

Since I last wrote here, at the start of August, New Horizons has already traveled another 100 million kilometers from the Sun, putting us more than 7.5 Astronomical Units out, roughly halfway between Jupiter and Saturn. By the middle of next year, we’ll be beyond Saturn’s orbit, where Cassini is. That will make New Horizons the farthest spacecraft on its way to or at its target.

As New Horizons continues to journey across the great abyss of the outer solar system, we on the science and operations teams continue our work. In the past two months, this small squad has accomplished a great deal. Major events and accomplishments have included:

* Completing the planning for the first of the mission’s annual spacecraft checkouts (ACO-1). These ACOs are our opportunity each year to test spacecraft systems, calibrate instruments, take cruise science data, and make course corrections, as necessary.

* Suffering a spacecraft prime Command and Data Handling (C&DH) computer reset on Aug. 4. Our mission ops team learned of this event by receiving a “red 2” beacon tone from the spacecraft, which triggered them into an intense three days of activity to diagnose the problem, recover the spacecraft, and return it to hibernation after determining that the reset posed no immediate danger to the mission.

* Taking precautions based on two shutdowns of our SWAP solar wind instrument during the Jupiter magnetotail exploration earlier this year. These precautions center on keeping SWAP turned off in our first annual checkout while a ground replica is built and tested to ensure we go forward with SWAP operations in ACO-2 and thereafter understanding what caused these shutdowns and how to avoid them in the future.

* Initiating ACO-1 on Aug. 16. It will continue until Nov. 16.

* Conducting our first trajectory correction since March 2006 — not long after launch. This 15-minute, 5-mile per hour tweak to our course occurred at 1900 UT on Sept. 27 and it went without a hitch. Our trajectory is now so close to perfect that we don’t expect to have to do another course correction for three to six years!

* Beginning a series of instrument annual checkouts, instrument calibrations, a few final instrument commissioning (i.e., first-time checkout) activities, and cruise science. Cruise science occurring in ACO-1 includes PEPSSI measurements of the energetic particle environment between Jupiter and Saturn; imaging by Ralph and LORRI to obtain phase-curve information about Uranus, Neptune and Pluto that cannot be obtained from Earth; and, of course, interplanetary dust environment measurements by the Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter.

* Conducting a science team meeting in early September at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, where Pluto was discovered.

* Appointing mission co-investigator Dr. Cathy Olkin of Southwest Research Institute to succeed Dr. Fran Bagenal as our science team Education and Public Outreach lead.

* After much analysis of alternatives, reaching a final decision on our Pluto aim point closest-approach distance. This decision will be ratified by the entire science team in mid-October and then publicly revealed. (Stay tuned!)

* Continuing to build our second ground system spacecraft simulator (“NHOPS 2”), which will be operational after a thorough series of tests by May 2008.

* Putting in place an ambitious plan to architect, design, and then code our detailed Pluto system encounter sequence in 2008 with a first rehearsal in 2009.

* And, making a series of decisions on what onboard flight software modifications are needed for the Pluto encounter, based on our bank of real-world encounter experience gained at Jupiter. We’ve identified about a dozen necessary software upgrades in either our C&DH or Guidance and Control (G&C) flight software. These will be uplinked to the spacecraft in late 2008 during ACO-2.

So, as you can see, although New Horizons is sleeping much of the time, its ground team is not! In fact, the pace of activity is intense and will remain so until we complete our first encounter rehearsal on the spacecraft in 2009.

In the next month, major activities will include more than 50 instrument and spacecraft checkouts, an update to our onboard fault detection and correction (autonomy) software code, the kickoff of Pluto far encounter planning, and the start of software design for the new C&DH and G&C software loads previously described.

Keep an eye out for a Jupiter results press conference from the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences meeting on Oct. 9, followed by a special issue of Science magazine that week with a series of technical reports (and the cover itself) about the significant findings already gleaned from our Jupiter encounter results.

Well, that catches you up with where New Horizons is and what the spacecraft and project teams have been doing. I’ll be back with more news in November, as we transition back to hibernation. In the meantime, keep on exploring, just as we do!
- Alan Stern
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Old 10-09-2007   #67
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Re: New Horizons Pluto Probe-latest news

As you may recall, the NH probe made a very close pass with Jupiter earlier this year. This maneuver was designed primarily as a way to gain a good deal of speed (about 9000 miles per hour- trimming about 3 years off the travel time to Pluto) but of course, the Mission Control folks also used this close pass with a planet as a test bed to make sure the probe's instruments all worked like they were expected to work. They did- quite well.

Today, the NH folks released a news bulletin outlining the discoveries and observations made during the Jupiter slingshot maneuver:

Quote:
Headlines

For Release: October 9, 2007 (10:30 a.m. EDT)

Pluto-Bound New Horizons Sees Changes in Jupiter System

The voyage of NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft through the Jupiter system earlier this year provided a bird’s-eye view of a dynamic planet that has changed since the last close-up looks by NASA spacecraft.

New Horizons passed Jupiter on Feb. 28, riding the planet’s gravity to boost its speed and shave three years off its trip to Pluto. It was the eighth spacecraft to visit Jupiter – but a combination of trajectory, timing and technology allowed it to explore details no probe had seen before, such as lightning near the planet’s poles, the life cycle of fresh ammonia clouds, boulder-size clumps speeding through the planet’s faint rings, the structure inside volcanic eruptions on its moon Io, and the path of charged particles traversing the previously unexplored length of the planet’s long magnetic tail.

“The Jupiter encounter was successful beyond our wildest dreams,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of NASA Headquarters, Washington. “Not only did it prove out our spacecraft and put it on course to reach Pluto in 2015, it was a chance for us to take sophisticated instruments to places in the Jovian system where other spacecraft couldn’t go, and to return important data that adds tremendously to our understanding of the solar system’s largest planet and its moons, rings and atmosphere.”
Full news release and links to images and other graphics can be found here.
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Old 01-17-2008   #68
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Happy Birthday New Horizons

Alan Stern's views on the start of the second full year of traveling since launch.

Quote:
The PI's Perspective
Happy Birthday New Horizons!
Two Years on the Road to the Ninth Planet
January 17, 2008


Just like the parent of a kid growing up from an infant to a toddler, my experience with New Horizons in flight – since our launch two years ago this week – is that the first two years have passed amazingly quickly and yet amazingly slowly, all at the same time. I guess that given some of the spacecraft hiccups of the past several months, one could also analogize that New Horizons has reached the “Terrible Two” stage and is into saying “no” a little more these days than in its first year.

Honestly, though, it’s been a great second year that included a phenomenally successful Jupiter encounter, a course correction, our first annual checkout, and science team work to begin in earnest the planning for the encounter at Pluto, still seven years hence. (Interestingly, this month also commemorates the seventh anniversary of the first New Horizons team meetings to write our proposal to NASA, so we are now at the halfway point from project inception to encounter!)
Click HERE for more on Alan's commentary, as well as a couple of pix of the NH birthday cake
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Old 05-04-2008   #69
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Gold Machine's Green Beacon

Yeah, it's a cryptic title for a thread, until you read the news story. It's about the New Horizons Pluto probe which is coated in gold-colored foil (hence the "gold machine"):

Quote:
New Horizon Tones Green On All Beacons As Long Cruise To Pluto Continues
by Alan Stern
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 30, 2008

As you read these words, the New Horizons spacecraft remains in a long period of almost continuous hibernation that we entered in February 21st that which will stretch until September 2nd. During this time the spacecraft will fly from 9 to almost 11 times as far from the Sun as the Earth is, covering over 300 million more kilometers!

And with the exception of a single, two-week high activity period that begins on May 20th, the spacecraft is running on its own, and doing little besides checking into report status each Monday and to deliver a brief telemetry report most Thursdays. These contacts have shown that things are going well: all of the weekly status reports (technically called "beacon tones") have been green, and all of the telemetry passes have shown that the spacecraft is performing well.

Although our spacecraft has been hibernating, our ground and science teams have not been quiescent at all.

Planning for the Pluto encounter is in full swing now, with the goal of completing all of the near encounter sequence design and testing within about a year, so that we can conduct a full scale rehearsal on New Horizons in mid-2009. In fact, just this week we completed a formal review called the Encounter Requirements Review.

This review's purpose was to verify that, before we begin designing the detailed encounter sequences, we have in hand a fully complete list of every scientific and navigation activity that we plan to conduct during the encounter.
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Old 05-05-2008   #70
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

What exactly are they planning on doing, once NH reaches Pluto?
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Old 05-05-2008   #71
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

Pretty much the same kind of exhaustive planetary survey they did at Jupiter last year. Ya gotta remember, Pluto is the only planet (dwarf, whatever the fuck) that has never been observed up close. No one even knows what color Pluto is apart from it having brownish-orange markings. No one knows what makes these markings the color they are. Pluto is only about 1600 miles across and is 3 billion miles away, so any telescope only sees Pluto as a blurry little blob. Even the Hubble can only barely discern Pluto's disc.

And, if you didn't know, the NH isn't stopping at Pluto. NH will do a fly-by at about 27,000 mph and continue on to the Kuiper belt, then outward to the interstellar abyss. The Pioneer and Voyager missions are technically "over" but their RTG units are still producing power and the probes are still functioning- more or less- even after 30+ years. The NH will be doing a similar long-term job until 2030 or later.

HERE is an overview of the mission and the reasoning behind going to Pluto in the first place.






(Both the above diagrams are viewed from "above" the North Pole of the Sun. The largest (brightest) star visible in both diagrams is Sirius.)
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Old 05-05-2008   #72
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

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Originally Said by ablethevoice View Post
No one knows what makes these markings the color they are. Pluto is only about 1600 miles across and is 3 billion miles away, so any telescope only sees Pluto as a blurry little blob. Even the Hubble can only barely discern Pluto's disc.
How's the Hubble able to photograph nebulae with amazing clarity, yet has trouble viewing a planet within our solar system? Do nebulae emit an amazing amount of light, due to the heat of all that matter swirling around?
Quote:
And, if you didn't know, the NH isn't stopping at Pluto. NH will do a fly-by at about 27,000 mph and continue on to the Kuyper belt, then outward to the interstellar abyss.
well, considering you said it's but 1600 miles across, that means it will only be as close to the planet as it will get for roughly four to five minutes. Is it just going to take a huge amount of photos? and why not have the probe orbit the planet to view it from all angles before heading elsewhere? Did the scientists at NASA get too lazy to do all the calculations required to get the right speed/trajectory?
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Old 05-05-2008   #73
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

It's not the brightness, it's the actual "size" in the sky. For example, the Andromeda galaxy, to the naked eye appears as a 5th magnitude star, but if your eye was about a million times more sensitive to dim light, you'd see that the Andromeda galaxy actually appears twice the size of the full moon - about 1 degree wide. The 5th magnitude point your eye is seeing as a "star" is only the nucleus of the galaxy. Pluto, on the other hand is less than 1/100 of an arcsecond wide- far, far smaller than the Andromeda galaxy.

As far as not settling into Pluto orbit, there's an explanation for that too. Quite simply, it is moving too fast. The engineers worked very hard to get the probe to travel fast enough to get to Pluto in a reasonable amount of time- knowing that they would be doing a high speed pass. It would take about 1000 times more fuel than the NH is carrying (for maneuvering) to burn off all that speed and allow Pluto's feeble gravity to capture it. So, it was send a probe slowly, take 30 or 40 years to get there with the intention of staying in the Pluto system, or send it fast and gather as much data as you can during the 30 or 40 days it will be in the immediate neighborhood of Pluto. The launch vehicle which got NH off the ground is the largest rocket NASA has and the maximum payload that machine can carry is something like 1,054 pounds. So, again, it was a choice of sending a simple affair with mostly fuel tanks and almost no scientific payload, or a lot of science and a minimum amount of fuel.
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Old 05-05-2008   #74
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

hm.. *nods*

What I'd like to eventually see is a satellite of some kind orbiting each planet in our solar system. Obviously, that would take a great deal of time and effort, and it's not likely to reach fruition in my lifetime, but there's a wealth of possibilities that open up with such a network. Have they already begun such a discussion in regards to Mars. I'd figure a human landing would require some sort of satellite.. if not, I could imagine it would make things run more smoothly.
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Old 05-05-2008   #75
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

Mars has no less than 3 orbiting devices currently surveying the surface as well as the 2 rovers still working on the surface AND there's the Phoenix polar lander due to land later this month. Mars is the Grand Central Station of the solar system right now.

A few months ago, when those dust storms blocked so much sun from the rovers that they thought they'd die, any signals received by Earth from the rovers were not sent at full power straight to Earth. In the interest of conserving as much battery power as they could, the signals were sent with a much lower power level to one of the orbiters which relayed it to Earth.
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Old 05-05-2008   #76
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

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And, if you didn't know, the NH isn't stopping at Pluto. NH will do a fly-by at about 27,000 mph and continue on to the Kuyper belt, then outward to the interstellar abyss. The Pioneer and Voyager missions are technically "over" but their RTG units are still producing power and the probes are still functioning- more or less- even after 30+ years. The NH will be doing a similar long-term job until 2030 or later.
I was just doing some research into the interstellar abyss you were speaking of. I figured out where Voyager 1 was and by that realized it'll take approximately 500 years for it to reach the Oort Cloud.

I really had no idea the Oort Cloud was so far away. A thousand times more distant than the Kuiper Belt. It'd take a damn year to get there just at light speed.

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Mars has no less than 3 orbiting devices currently surveying the surface as well as the 2 rovers still working on the surface AND there's the Phoenix polar lander due to land later this month. Mars is the Grand Central Station of the solar system right now
I like the fact we're doing so much work on Mars but I'd be much more happy if we were also focusing on the Moon. I think it should be the current focal point of the solar system right now as it's so much closer. Any work we do on it can be done more quickly because the materials from Earth are readily available. Any problems can be quickly solved because of its close proximity. I'm worried that if something terrible were to go wrong on Mars (with, say, a manned mission) that it would cause people to lose hope in the space program.
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Old 05-05-2008   #77
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

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I really had no idea the Oort Cloud was so far away. A thousand times more distant than the Kuiper Belt. It'd take a damn year to get there just at light speed.
Space is vast and we humans are still but insects.
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Old 05-05-2008   #78
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

I want to be a space whale then. At least in terms of being able to venture around the galaxy.

It's just not fair. I want to see more before I die. I mean, hell, can't we even get underway in the exploration of Europa?! Why does everything have to take so damn long.

It's like... the one thing that you can throw money at to improve it (like space exploration and technology) nobody is throwing money at. We'd rather throw money at Africa to feed a bunch of starving kids. I got news for ya, bub, you can't live off of US dollars. For one, they don't taste good and two, the Euro is better anyway.
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Old 05-05-2008   #79
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

All it would really take is a couple weeks of dedicated attention in the news media, and maybe an Al Gore documentary, and space programs globally would have more than enough funding..

...that is until people start caring about other things again. Currently, most people use the argument that we need to try and get our own planet's environment under control before we venture outwards.. strangely similar to the, "we need to get our own country in order before we go reshaping others," argument.
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Old 05-06-2008   #80
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Re: Gold Machine's Green Beacon

^All of which boils down to the logical truth: "We'll be royally fucked if we don't leave soon."
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