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darkreaver

New Horizons arrives at Pluto

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Its beautiful. Like a yellowish Pokeball.

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At last, a clear image of the accused "planet."

...

It's rather adorable for something named for a god of the underworld.

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What kind of aliens could possibly live on Pluto? I remember Steven Hawking theorized about some kind of tiny white fuzzball that moves extremely slowly to conserve energy in the harsh cold environment.

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Interesting that the "Heart" is pretty much crater less. I wonder if it was formed by volcanism, but that just doesn't seem right for an object smaller than the moon & with a fairly low density. I fact the entire surface seems to be lacking in craters for an object that is located in the Kepler Belt, for example Ceres which is half the size though it is located in the Asteroid Belt, seems to have way more craters. Makes you wonder how dense the Kepler Belt is compared to the Asteroid Belt, or is it possible that Neptune has enough gravity to help clear other objects away from Pluto, the 2 planets do have an interesting relationship. It will be interesting to see what NASA has to say about all this, I look forward to any more new information.

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Doom Dude said:

It's about time we got nice pictures of Pluto. I want to explore that dark region.


Mufasa said you must never go there.

It's interesting how nearly everyone seems to think it's important to have high-res images of Pluto. Pluto has been in our minds for so long it needs good pictures too.

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To think, when it first launched, this was its view of Pluto.


What I'm perhaps most surprised about is that it has been confirmed larger in size than Eris, albeit marginally. I'm sure people will inevitably now be asking, was the whole fuss over the definition of a planet worth it?

Also, I definitely didn't predict a couple of months ago that Pluto had at least a sixth moon that would be discovered by the flyby...Unless it turns out that it does, in which case, I did.

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SavageCorona said:

I wonder if man will ever set foot on Pluto or even get near it.


Eventually, I'm sure someone will. The gravity's low enough that it should be less of an engineering risk than landing and taking off from the moon was. You're going to need someone VERY patient though! Nine years each way. Sheesh!

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I'm also really curious why the heart shaped bit is so smooth.

This is incredible stuff!

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I've been waiting for this moment since New Horizons left the ground. Although I knew the approach was getting closer, I completely forgot that the flyby was going to be today. Imagine my surprise seeing this thread, clicking on it, and seeing that photograph.

My jaw practically dropped. I mean, that's fucking Pluto.

The image is a bit interesting, but not particularly spectacular. It just looks like another moon in our solar system. I wasn't really expecting more.

Sadly, unless New Horizons does another flyby of some other Kuiper belt object, this may very well be the last new planet-like body any of us will ever see.

Edit: Is it just me, or does like every false-color photo released by NASA look creepy as fuck?

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Eris Falling said:

To think, when it first launched, this was its view of Pluto.

Here's the really cool part that I realised:

Pluto was discovered in 1930, only 85 years ago. In a mere 85 years we've gone from seeing an anomalous dot in the sky, to inventing the entire field of rocket science and space travel, and sending a probe ship over 2 billion miles there to take photos of it.

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Very intrigued into the darkened sections. There seems to be an awful lot of Geology (Plutography) for such a body.

Pretty neat to be on the same date as Mariner's voyage to explore Mars.

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Jaws In Space said:

I fact the entire surface seems to be lacking in craters for an object that is located in the Kepler Belt, for example Ceres which is half the size though it is located in the Asteroid Belt, seems to have way more craters. Makes you wonder how dense the Kepler Belt is compared to the Asteroid Belt, or is it possible that Neptune has enough gravity to help clear other objects away from Pluto, the 2 planets do have an interesting relationship. It will be interesting to see what NASA has to say about all this, I look forward to any more new information.

The kuiper belt as a whole has a size much greater and a density far, far less than that of the asteroid belt. The outer regions of the solar system are incredibly barren. Pluto's atmosphere may likely provide enough weathering through repeated sublimation and re-freezing to erase incidental cratering.

Eris Falling said:

I'm sure people will inevitably now be asking, was the whole fuss over the definition of a planet worth it?

Yes, yes it was.

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fraggle said:

Here's the really cool part that I realised:

Pluto was discovered in 1930, only 85 years ago. In a mere 85 years we've gone from seeing an anomalous dot in the sky, to inventing the entire field of rocket science and space travel, and sending a probe ship over 2 billion miles there to take photos of it.


Wow, that IS amazing. Very cool news and almost impossible to fathom what man has accomplished in such short order.

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RUSH said:

Very cool news and almost impossible to fathom what man has accomplished in such short order.

Yup, in that time frame we've increased pollution massively, had some of the biggest ecological disasters ever, had the most destructive conflict in history ever, systematically killed six million people in industrial death factories, killed millions in China, the USSR, Cambodia, Bosnia... and "ethnically cleansed" many other areas, invented nuclear weapons and used them on two cities, witnessed the rise of fundamentalist terrorism, globalisation, we continue to ignore the millions who die from preventable diseases, we've had wars in more places than it is worth listing and so many, many more examples of man's voluntary and wilful inhumanity to man...

Yup...


Now, if we could just stop being dicks to each other for a few minutes, imagine what we might really achieve.

All that being said, New Horizons is indeed cool. :P

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Enjay said:

Yup, in that time frame we've increased pollution massively, had some of the biggest ecological disasters ever, had the most destructive conflict in history ever, systematically killed six million people in industrial death factories, killed millions in China, the USSR, Cambodia, Bosnia... and many other areas, invented nuclear weapons and used them on two cities, witnessed the rise of fundamentalist terrorism, globalisation, we continue to ignore the millions who die from preventable diseases, we've had wars in more places than it is worth listing and so many, many more examples of man's voluntary and wilful inhumanity to man...


You forgot the slow erosion of the constitution as the NSA continues to fear homegrown "terrorists" and collect phone and internet data about innocent US citizens. Not to mention mankind now has the ability for the first time in existence to completely annihilate itself and all other life on earth via nuclear war - a threat that will always be a looming possibility in the infinite time that is the future. Almost impossible to fathom what man has accomplished in such short order ;)

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