Gnome planet encounter- it's been a long time coming, and excitement is at Xmas levels!
NASA has published new photos of the freezeworld Pluto, taken by its Far-travelling New Horizons probe - that prominently feature what appears to be a pareidolic whale and a tasty doughnut (or donut). The New Horizon space podule is closing in for its 14 July flyby of the frosty dwarf planet. The images, taken between 27 June …
Being a planetary mission scientist is one of great risk, and also of being able to make the best of whatever unexpected events get thrown your way. Many stories in the past of projects being in planning stages for years then for the mission to be destroyed on the launch pad, soon after take-off, or into the mission. Or some aspect not working properly, or as expected; always able to be creative in the face of adversity and extract new science out of seeming shortcomings.
Great stuff guys, your patience is really appreciated!
I just love these missions, they put me in mind of the excitement of the Viking, Pioneer, and Voyager missions to planets in my youth (not to mention the Apollo program I followed avidly as a kid). These blurry-but-best-yet images of Pluto are really thrilling. Cannot wait to see the results of the flyby
"Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought.
Er, excuse me, who am I?
Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?
What do I mean by who am I?
Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.
Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?
Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation …
Or is it the wind?
There really is a lot of that now isn’t it?
And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?
And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence."
" the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again."
Of course we see in the blots things familiar to our brains. It's the idea behind the Rorschach's test.
However we still can have a few days of imagination, thinking out funny thing which the blobs might represent. My fun idea is they are Hebrew characters stating "I am who I am". That would be a true shocker, wouldn't it?
This is why I read the Reg. The articles are long on technical detail compared to the popular press (plus there are often commentards who can fill in the gaps where they get things wrong or leave out details) but the lines like that which give me a good laugh are what really keep me coming back! Have a pint, you earned it!
The data rate from Pluto is around 1kbps (they can get it up to 2 - 3kbps for a short while), it means it is going to take at minimum of two weeks to get all the Pluto flyby data to Earth.
More details can be found here, http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/01300800-talking-to-pluto-is-hard.html
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