[FPSPACE] Pluto: Historic Day in Planetary Exploration

Keith Gottschalk kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Thu Jul 23 09:57:20 EDT 2015


If wikipedia got it right, they state that back in 1930, the year Pluto
was discovered and named, within months Disney Studio renamed their new
cartoon dog from "Rover" to "Pluto".

    By a fun coincidence, the Disney animators coloured their cartoon
dog orange. Eighty-five years later, when our cameras got close enough,
we discover that Pluto does indeed have orange-ish splotches on it:
scientists propose these are tholins formed by the impact of solar UV on
the methane ices.

    Today at lunch, we at the University of the Western Cape Space
Association held a Pluto party to celebrate this once in a lifetime
event! It was a quiet brown bag party, where we projected onto the
screen of a lab twelve images which JHUAPL dot edu had so far uploaded. 
I gave a running commentary & answered questions. Praise be to US
taxpayers & engineers!

- Keith

>>> "Peter Pesavento"  07/23/15 12:34 PM >>>
Well,
 
It*s here.
 
Roughly 40 minutes ago, New Horizons had its closestapproach to the
planet Pluto.
 
The United  States and NASA can be proud of thisconcluding achievement
of planetary exploration that began in 1962 with thefirst probe sent to
Venus.
 
The USAand NASA have visited/explored all the following planets (at
least to someextent):
 
a)*Mercury
b)*Venus
c)*Earth
d)*Mars
e)*Jupiter
f)*Saturn
g)*Uranus
h)*Neptune
i)----Pluto
 
This is a first in the history of Mankind.  No other nationtrailblazed
this like the USA.
 
Around 8 PM this evening (Eastern Daylight Time), there willbegin a data
dump of what New Horizons has accumulated from this current timeframe of
right now (if all goes well).
 
Also, for the fpspacers in the United States, later this eveningon PBS
television they are supposed to have a special about the Pluto flyby.


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