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billybob linux
5th December 2011, 04:54 PM
NASA probe now closer than ANY OTHER spacecraft to Pluto

Breaks Voyager 1 record set in 1986



http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/05/pluto_nasa_new_horizons/

A NASA probe came closer to Pluto than any other vessel in the history of space travel on 2 December.

The New Horizons mission broke the closest-approach mark to the dwarf planet of 1.58 billion kilometers that was set by NASA's Voyager 1 in January 1986

jbuckley2004
5th December 2011, 05:11 PM
Can't wait for it to get there (summer of 2015)

I was lucky enough to be on launch-support team and got to test the "autonomous control" software before it left. It's monitoring the critical s/w systems during the long hibernation and reporting back periodically, which is something you can't take for granted for 9 years in space. A house call for repair is pretty much out of the question, of course.

It gets interesting if/when something goes wrong. The magic of double and triple redundancy takes care of most problem, but the procedure for reacquiring the sun and then the earth and then the clock (that's important!) is a little amazing. At least, I think it is.

It was neat to see that thing in the clean room at APL.

billybob linux
5th December 2011, 05:22 PM
What amazes me is, not just the technology, but the technology and science (mission planning etc) to get there. Being involved in a mission like that must have been quite an experience !

DBelton
5th December 2011, 07:52 PM
That headline sounds better than if it was

"NASA probe closer to Uranus" :lol:

jbuckley2004
5th December 2011, 09:45 PM
What amazes me is, not just the technology, but the technology and science (mission planning etc) to get there. Being involved in a mission like that must have been quite an experience !

Yeah, it was a great experience. That was the first (maybe the last?) time I worked on a schedule that could not be slipped; using Jupiter to slingshot to Pluto meant that missing the launch window would cost 12 years. Wasn't going to happen. The good news? Overtime! :dance:

I had worked on Hubble back in '85 (one of thousands), so honestly, the science-stuff seemed second to that. But the engineering amazed me. They really went overboard making sure they could prove it would survive the journey and still be able to do stuff.

What's even cooler is the idea that, after Pluto, it's going to visit a Kuiper Body (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuiper_belt) or two way out there at the edge of the Solar System.

Now *that*'s science!

stevea
5th December 2011, 09:57 PM
Meh - Pluto's not even a planet any more; vermin of the skies. It's a bit like being close to the Black Eyed Peas. :rolleyes:

I am joking. The mojo for this, like many of the NASA missions is the management skills/methods involved.

jbuckley2004
5th December 2011, 10:07 PM
Heh! I'm an astronomer by education (a programmer by profession!) so let me tell ya this about those astronomer types who can't figure out what is or is not a planet.

They're also still trying to figure out what the heck 74% of the *universe* is - all that dark matter and dark energy they talk about! :doh:

For all that, everyone should remember to always be nice to your local neighborhood astronomer. Or, the next time there's an eclipse, they *won't* bring the sun back.

:cool:

Dan
5th December 2011, 10:26 PM
... always be nice to your local neighborhood astronomer. Or, the next time there's an eclipse, they *won't* bring the sun back.

:cool:<..:blink:..>




Ooooohhhhkaaaay! Will do.

kona0197
6th December 2011, 01:26 AM
The New Horizons mission broke the closest-approach mark to the dwarf planet

Doesn't that news source know that Pluto isn't a planet? :doh:

Evil_Bert
6th December 2011, 03:04 AM
Doesn't that news source know that Pluto isn't a planet? :doh:
Or, rather, 'doh' on you! ;)

Dwarf planet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_planet) is a grading given by the International Astronomical Union. You also might have read a little of the linked article where it states:

Pluto, which was demoted to a dwarf planet in August 2006 ...

If I sound a bit harsh, well, I'm having a bad day, so, so should everyone else! :C

kona0197
6th December 2011, 03:08 AM
Regardless, they called it a "dwarf planet" when it isn't a planet at all. Personally I think Pluto should still be called a planet.

Evil_Bert
6th December 2011, 03:10 AM
Oh, good grief! :rolleyes:

DBelton
6th December 2011, 03:55 AM
hmmm.. kona wants pluto to be a planet?? I'll bet he wants it to run windows, too! :lol:

Seriously.. They have explained thousands of times why they "demoted" pluto to a dwarf planet instead of a planet. I believe it was something to do with it actually being one of the numerous bodies in the Kuiper belt.

JohnVV
6th December 2011, 09:14 AM
Heh! I'm an astronomer by education (a programmer by profession!) so let me tell ya this about those astronomer types who can't figure out what is or is not a planet.
so to the non astronomer
i started out doing an Astrophysics major ,( cosmology )
It is a minor body .
It NEVER "fit" in with the rest

but to be fair
Some asteroids got elevated TO A MINOR body .

the newly found P4 (the fourth body in the pluto/Charon system
http://thumbnails47.imagebam.com/16306/fb8c7a163050534.jpg (http://www.imagebam.com/image/fb8c7a163050534)

pluto
http://thumbnails43.imagebam.com/16306/c66366163050558.jpg (http://www.imagebam.com/image/c66366163050558)
- web site-
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/whereis_nh.php

CronoCloud
6th December 2011, 04:27 PM
Minor Planet 134340 is an overgrown comet with delusions of planethood

CronoCloud

oldcpu
6th December 2011, 07:34 PM
I was lucky enough to be on launch-support team and got to test the "autonomous control" software before it left. It's monitoring the critical s/w systems during the long hibernation and reporting back periodically, which is something you can't take for granted for 9 years in space.

Deep space missions are always fascinating. ...

I'm an engineer working in operations on the European Meteosat Geostationary satellites and relative to deep space missions, in the geostationary operations we are spoiled by continuous in-contact time.

It reads like your time on the project was fascinating and I too am curious to see what we learn as the probe gets closer.

resistor200
7th December 2011, 09:14 PM
Pluto will always have a place in my orbit.

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