back to article NASA gets last Pluto data

NASA reports that the last data from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto has finally been received on Earth. On July 14 last year, the spacecraft shot past Pluto and amassed over 50GB of data about the mini-planet. Getting it back to Earth was the tricky part – the massive distances involved mean that the data flow was limited to …

  1. Grikath Silver badge
    Pint

    Yay!!

    Time for a Pint for the lads/lasses then ... :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay!!

      In wonder of the hol-yeastic heavens! (in a slightly pissed voice)

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Who knows what the next generation of probes might use for comms...

    Laser relay to a Mars orbiter?

    Quantum entanglement (at least as a demonstration)?

    Impressive work nonetheless.

  3. FIA

    I'm confused

    ... and amassed over 50GB of data about the mini-planet. Getting it back to Earth was the tricky part – the massive distances involved mean that the data flow was limited to one kilobit per second

    So, that's 1KiB every 8 seconds?

    ... 7K a minute?

    ... 420K an hour?

    ... 10080K a day? (So 9MiB a day)

    50GiB == 51200MiB

    51200/9 = 5688.8 days == 15.5 years?

    So, are the numbers wrong? My maths? Or do they just pick and choose what to retrieve?? (Even if it's 1KiB/Sec that's still nearly 2 years, has it really been that long since it got there???)

    1. 8Ace

      Re: I'm confused

      I'd suggest some sort of compression was used, I'm sure this was all factored in at the start.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: I'm confused

      Well it couldn't be 15.5 years since it only left here in early 2006. But the data rate does vary as explained in this quick video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjEesn2TFBA

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I'm confused

        They're obviously using the famous Microsoft minute here, as seen on the progress bar whenever you download something via Windows. As anyone who has done so knows, a Microsoft minute can last anywhere between a few seconds and several days.

  4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Boffin

    That's a lot of data

    50GB is a significant amount of data, even in today's terms, but thinking back to when this mission was conceived that sort of data volume would be almost unimaginable.

    NASA obviously forecast that data storage would become bigger/faster/cheaper down here on Earth by the time the data started to be sent back, but presumably they needed fairly hefty storage/buffering capacity at the point of capture. Quite a feat given the tech at the time the craft was built.

  5. TrevorH

    The one kilobit figure is wrong

    Having done a little reading around it seems that the spacecraft has 2 transmitters and both can be used simultaneously if they shutdown other equipment on board. That nearly doubles the data rate to 2Kb/s but that still doesn't explain the discrepancy. I also see that the image data can be compressed by a considerable factor so this is probably more likely to be the explanation - the 50GB figure is going to be the total data size before compression.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: The one kilobit figure is wrong

      I don't think compressing the image data is all that good an idea.

      Otherwise one will be left trying to decide whether that "weird feature" is an artefact or an actual physical element.

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: The one kilobit figure is wrong

        You can use lossless compression. We did have image compression before you kids turned up with your JPEGs and your Grindrs, you know...

        <grizzly>

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Alien

    Yuggoth Mail!

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