back to article Pluto plastered in what looks like 1970s orange wallpaper – proof

The first color photos of Pluto and its moon Charon have been received from NASA's New Horizons probe. And the dwarf planet is beige-orange just like a bad 1970s kitchen. "It's exciting to see Pluto and Charon in motion and in color," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI …

  1. Red Sceptic

    We had a kitchen wall this colour, which my mum thought would be "nice and cheerful". Bad enough in the tin, but once on the wall it really did catch the eye, especially in a 3m x 3m kitchen with a low ceiling.

    Thanks for bringing back this rather poignant memory, SwRI and El Reg.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Lucky you. My mum thought "stone picture" wallpaper on one wall, two line green facing each other and orange on the remaining wall was a good idea.

  2. ZSn

    Twice the goodness

    Actually I think that they can push it up to nearly 2 kbit/s, however this uses fuel becuase they have to spin it to stabilise it as the two TWTAs use so much power that they have to turn the guidance system off!

    The joys of nuclear power, and you thought that your computer was slow and underpowered!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Twice the goodness

        Late 80s dialup speed. Not bad if you don't have to share the phone line. I remember downloading Linux 0.x via some old modem bank that still hadn't been upgraded in 1993. It did the job though.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1

          Re: Twice the goodness

          > Late 80s dialup speed

          Aye, well, that were nothing. I remember 'aving acoustic couplers, and gettin' 300 baud ...</yorkshire_grumble>

          1. mr.K

            Re: Twice the goodness

            You had acoustic couplers! You lucky bastard. In my day we had to do the drumming when father used TCP/IP over bongo drums to download his porn. I took us three days to get a nipple.

    2. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Twice the goodness

      TWTA = Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers, see:

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Twice the goodness

      the two TWTAs use so much power that they have to turn the guidance system off

      Here at the office we also have two unguided TWATs with too much power.

  3. ratfox Silver badge


    See title

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Enhance!

      Maybe if they gave the job to the CSI lab people?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enhance! -Maybe if they gave the job to the CSI lab people?

        Maybe if they gave criminal investigation to space scientists we wouldn't get so many bad convictions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Enhance! -Maybe if they gave the job to the CSI lab people?

          I don't want the image feed from pluto to be intercut with flashbacks from someone's earlier life in the military / the secret service / an israeli kibbutz.

  4. TheProf


    ".....Exactly why they are so different is the subject of debate."

    Surely it's the subject of "Science".

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: WTF?

      Um, scientific debate?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        Pretty sure it's just a ritual thing.

        > discoloration on the surface that may be volcanic in origin

        Most likey ritual paintings.

  5. Little Mouse

    Small, or Far Away?

    That's not Pluto. It's a Hydrogen atom on the camera's sensor.

    1. Shades

      Re: Small, or Far Away?

      Small, far away

  6. Martin Budden


    I'm just relieved it is orange, not blue:

  7. VeganVegan

    Not just 1970's colour scheme

    but also 1970's pixel resolution.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Speed

      Almost like travelling on Network Southeast.

    2. Just Enough

      Re: Speed

      Its approach is even closer without an apostrophe getting in the way.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Essex tan surrounded by pasty mates

    Maybe a centrifugal/gravity sweet-spot has ensured the moon is formed by particulates of a specific density?

    So the differing colours are due to different materials.


    Not an astrophysicist, but that's my guess.

  10. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Is this news?

    Hubble imaged Pluto and found that it was a black/beige combination.

    A newsflash to say "We're getting closer, we've fired up the colour cameras and they're working to specification" would be news.

    A newsflash to say Pluto is beige feels a bit like hearing it on DaveJaVu ...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    From the Wikipedia article:

    " The Jupiter flyby provided a gravity assist that increased New Horizons‍ '​ speed by 4 km/s (14,000 km/h; 9,000 mph). The encounter was also used as a general test of New Horizons‍ '​ scientific capabilities, returning data about the planet's atmosphere, moons, and magnetosphere. Most of the post-Jupiter voyage was spent in hibernation mode to preserve on-board systems, except for brief annual checkouts."

    It's a pity Arthur C Clarke died before his science fiction was echoed in reality.Just as well there was no AI on board though.

  12. 0laf Silver badge

    Yay science

    I'm getting quite excited but the New Horizons mission, shame it's going to take quite a while to get a fleeting glimpse of the little planet as the probe scoots by. There has been so much great space science going on this year. Well done boffins.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Yay science

      Patience Grasshopper... considering that it was launched almost 10 years ago, another month is a long wait at all. Got to think on the cosmic scale here.

  13. The last doughnut

    A tremendous feat of engineering. I doff my hat to those involved.

    Any chance of an in-depth El Reg article about the technology used at the receiving end, to pull the data out of the noise?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Big_Boomer

    Beige ?

    So now we just need to resurrect Heinlein so he can write the sequel to "Red Planet",... "Beige Pluto". Either that or get Kim Stanley Robinson to write "Beige Pluto" :-)

  15. Twinkle

    I always wondered what happened to that wallpaper. Who would have guessed they sent it into space to get rid of it?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019