Author Topic: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015  (Read 116080 times)

Offline AJA

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #420 on: 07/24/2015 06:36 PM »
They found another mountain range toward the West (left.. don't know orientation) of Norgay Montes, and called it Hillary Montes.

"A lot of fine structure between the montes, and the Cthulu reggio."
Substantially smaller polygons though, indicating thinner ices.

Craters that have probably ponds of this Nitrogen ice.

Showed a fly-over (enabled by stereo data)... and mentioning craters... (casually saying, one of them was "the size of the DC metro area")
« Last Edit: 07/24/2015 06:38 PM by AJA »

Online Chris Bergin

Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #421 on: 07/24/2015 06:37 PM »
Flyover!!

Online Chris Bergin

Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #422 on: 07/24/2015 06:38 PM »

Online Chris Bergin

Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #423 on: 07/24/2015 06:40 PM »
NASA Presser:

Flowing ice and a surprising extended haze are among the newest discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which reveal distant Pluto to be an icy world of wonders.

“We knew that a mission to Pluto would bring some surprises, and now -- 10 days after closest approach -- we can say that our expectation has been more than surpassed,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. “With flowing ices, exotic surface chemistry, mountain ranges, and vast haze, Pluto is showing a diversity of planetary geology that is truly thrilling."

Just seven hours after closest approach, New Horizons aimed its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) back at Pluto, capturing sunlight streaming through the atmosphere and revealing hazes as high as 80 miles (130 kilometers) above Pluto’s surface. A preliminary analysis of the image shows two distinct layers of haze -- one about 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the surface and the other at an altitude of about 30 miles (50 kilometers).

“My jaw was on the ground when I saw this first image of an alien atmosphere in the Kuiper Belt,” said Alan Stern, principal investigator for New Horizons at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. “It reminds us that exploration brings us more than just incredible discoveries -- it brings incredible beauty.”

Studying Pluto’s atmosphere provides clues as to what’s happening below.

“The hazes detected in this image are a key element in creating the complex hydrocarbon compounds that give Pluto’s surface its reddish hue,” said Michael Summers, New Horizons co-investigator at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Models suggest the hazes form when ultraviolet sunlight breaks up methane gas particles -- a simple hydrocarbon in Pluto’s atmosphere. The breakdown of methane triggers the buildup of more complex hydrocarbon gases, such as ethylene and acetylene, which also were discovered in Pluto’s atmosphere by New Horizons. As these hydrocarbons fall to the lower, colder parts of the atmosphere, they condense into ice particles that create the hazes. Ultraviolent sunlight chemically converts hazes into tholins, the dark hydrocarbons that color Pluto’s surface.

Scientists previously had calculated temperatures would be too warm for hazes to form at altitudes higher than 20 miles (30 kilometers) above Pluto’s surface.

“We’re going to need some new ideas to figure out what’s going on,” said Summers.

The New Horizons mission also found in LORRI images evidence of exotic ices flowing across Pluto’s surface and revealing signs of recent geologic activity, something scientists hoped to find but didn’t expect.   

The new images show fascinating details within the Texas-sized plain, informally named Sputnik Planum, which lies within the western half of Pluto’s heart-shaped feature, known as Tombaugh Regio. There, a sheet of ice clearly appears to have flowed -- and may still be flowing -- in a manner similar to glaciers on Earth.

“We’ve only seen surfaces like this on active worlds like Earth and Mars,” said mission co-investigator John Spencer of SwRI. “I'm really smiling.”

Additionally, new compositional data from New Horizons’ Ralph instrument indicate the center of Sputnik Planum is rich in nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane ices.

“At Pluto’s temperatures of minus-390 degrees Fahrenheit, these ices can flow like a glacier,” said Bill McKinnon, deputy leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team at Washington University in St. Louis. “In the southernmost region of the heart, adjacent to the dark equatorial region, it appears that ancient, heavily-cratered terrain has been invaded by much newer icy deposits.”

View a simulated flyover using New Horizons’ close-approach images of Sputnik Planum and Pluto’s newly-discovered mountain range, informally named Hillary Montes, in the video below:

http://go.nasa.gov/1MMEdTb

The New Horizons mission will continue to send data stored in its onboard recorders back to Earth through late 2016. The spacecraft currently is 7.6 million miles (12.2 million kilometers) beyond Pluto, healthy and flying deeper into the Kuiper Belt.

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. SwRI, based in San Antonio, leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

For more information on the New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, schedules, video and images, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

Offline AJA

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #424 on: 07/24/2015 06:42 PM »
Questions:

Aviation News: There's something that look like a COPYRIGHT mark (:-/)... what's driving the flow into the craters? Elevation details etc.
Some parts of Pluto are probably ancient. Craters have dark central peaks, and bright zones of ice flowing into the sides.
They're measuring elevation of some of the mountains using shadow lengths.

<Stream dropped out>

How did the source region get there to begin with? Icy layer above? Something's allowing ices to well up from within? Surface mechanisms etc.
"We have a vast region, that appears to be truly a reservoir. Informally calling it a beating heart."
It could be formed by glaciers flowing into it. It could be from something deeper inside..where it's warmer etc. Really interesting ideas, and they're enjoying animated discussions.

Alan: Nothing like these images existed two weeks ago. And we're all reacting to it in real time.
Pluto has a very intimate structure - with a lot of complex, intricate network of geology interacting with each other, and it's rare among the pantheon of other objects. He's reminded of Titan.

Now on to the phone lines:
NYT - What are the temperatures - at various places?
Glaciers - 38 K. Solid nitrogen can creep, and it's very sensitive to temperature. Even 10s of metres... the pressure from the overburden of ice, can change the properties... making it less viscous and much more able to flow. (Sub-terranean N2 currents too..probably...a lot of work to do)


Reuters (Irene): Could you tell us where the earlier (2 year old) data set for Pluto's atmospheric pressure is from?
(Given the REX measurements led to a drop of 2x in 2 years).
This is data taken from stellar occultation. The difference with REX is that you can go right down to the surface with radio data. Very good data, and very low error on the REX.
Alan adds a caveat -- that the REX data is probably that sensitive that this pressure might even be a (relatively) transient phenomenon, which could be reversed.
JGreen adds that SOFIA also flew to NZ, and chased Pluto's shadow as it occulted another star. A valuable recent occultation that could add context to the data.

Re: The haze... you probably wouldn't see it looking vertically. Long slant lines of sight needed. Some question about a particular chemical name, and he explains that it's not a particular chemical, but a mixture.

Re: distribution of hazes... some bits of the haze, and some chemicals are dark.. and since they have a different albedo, they could act as markers for the transport mechanisms, when interpreted in concert with the colour banding of the surface

Another follow up: More accurate mass estimates?
No new mass estimates. Approach gave them great data. Major constraint (given models and everything)... was knowing the radius/diameter.. which NH estimated to a precision of +/- 1km around 1186 km. That has implications for density, and that will go into the models for the mass constraint. Pluto is less dense than they thought, but Pluto is still generally more rockier. Pluto is a rocky planet, with a thick icy shell, and may have a sub-shell ocean.

Pluto is very very close to spherical.

Pluto was probably spinning very very fast, after the impact of formation. So we think it must have been really really warm to ensure that no residual shape could be supported. Cautions this is all preliminary.

So we'll spend time going to conferences, and arriving at a consensus. Or not. That's how science works.

Sky and Telescope: (confused, and mistakes the atmospheric data for an increase in density) Could there be a possibility that Argon is playing a role in the composition measurement?

Spaceflight Insider: Considering Pluto's a lot more dynamic than what was previously thought, what does that do to a definition of a planet?
Alan: We've called the system a double planet, for very good reason. (Barycentre in free space between two bodies). Earth moon system is not quite there... deep in the mantle, but not out.

It's very hard NOT to call an object with this complexity, with an atmosphere, with geological cycles, and a complex system of moons.. very difficult to not call it a planet.
This is going to shake itself out... one scientist at a time.

Leo Enwright: Hypothetical ocean. How will that fit in to what we're seeing? Could the N2 glaciers be explained without the ocean?
No direct evidence for an interior liquid water ocean. What he means is that any mantle (icy) is much larger than what the models would have estimated earlier... and so there might be an underlying ocean. (Me: increased pressure?)

On to social media questions.
The way they make the false colour images, and another question about whether a non-atmopshere-planet would be able to give us that (Alan: "haunting") silhouette image.

Could sunlight be responsible for the N2 ice?
It's not sunlight, but it's heat. In fact, if there's a slope, it will move.
They've modelled the hexagon formation.. and if the ice is a half-mile deep... then it could even be due to slow convection of the ice. Internal heat. (leaking out, and heat of formation..)

When will see the other side of Pluto, in relatively high-res?
Already have those images on the ground. They saw that 3.2 days out from approach (given Pluto's rotation speed)
[I think the questioner was going for some magic with Charon shine.]
They do have imagery that could improve far side, and that'll come down in September (queued approach images, AIUI)

Back to the room:
How d'you have haze higher than expected, but the atmospheric pressure decrease? And did you get there in the nick of time (atmospheric escape).
The haze particles are very very buoyant, and they can stay far out.
Alan: The second question and the affirmative answer to it, kind of helped get NH get off in the 2000s, rather than later. Still more data to get.

..and done.

Not before a PAO quote though: "This team is not rewriting textbooks, they are writing textbooks".
« Last Edit: 07/24/2015 07:09 PM by AJA »

Offline jacqmans

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #425 on: 07/24/2015 06:43 PM »
Pluto sends a breathtaking farewell to New Horizons. Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s atmosphere rings its silhouette like a luminous halo in this image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15. This global portrait of the atmosphere was captured when the spacecraft was about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Pluto and shows structures as small as 12 miles across. The image, delivered to Earth on July 23, is displayed with north at the top of the frame.

Credits: NASA/ JHUAPL/ SwRI

Online Chris Bergin

Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #426 on: 07/24/2015 07:09 PM »
Thanks to AJA for the notes!

No word on when the next presser will be.

Offline AJA

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #427 on: 07/24/2015 07:11 PM »
Thanks to AJA for the notes!

Happy to have a host (NSF) where I can nerd out over this! :D


Online Chris Bergin

Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #429 on: 07/24/2015 08:03 PM »
My connection must have timed out when I wanted to post this, but Alan Stern's new bumper sticker:

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #430 on: 07/24/2015 08:09 PM »
A cool thing about that bumper sticker is a little hard to see, but the picture of Pluto is in the rear-view mirror, in reference to having flown past the Pluto system.

Offline John44

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #431 on: 07/24/2015 08:15 PM »

Offline yg1968

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #432 on: 07/25/2015 03:33 AM »
YouTube version of today's press conference:

« Last Edit: 07/25/2015 03:34 AM by yg1968 »

Offline saturnapollo

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #433 on: 07/25/2015 12:14 PM »
Any idea where you can download these images at a higher resoluition? The New Horizons website doesn't have them and I'd like a closer look at the higher res image of the whole planet (sorry, dwarf planet) which was released.

Thanks.

Keith

Offline Star One

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LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #434 on: 07/25/2015 12:22 PM »
Any idea where you can download these images at a higher resoluition? The New Horizons website doesn't have them and I'd like a closer look at the higher res image of the whole planet (sorry, dwarf planet) which was released.

Thanks.

Keith

Media materials of presentation.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Press-Conferences/July-24-2015.php

This is as high resolution as they get at the moment.
« Last Edit: 07/25/2015 12:23 PM by Star One »

Offline saturnapollo

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #435 on: 07/25/2015 09:06 PM »
Ah, that's much better. Many thanks.

Keith

Offline llanitedave

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #436 on: 07/25/2015 10:50 PM »
The image below is as intriguing in its own way as the earlier ones shown.  This is the northern border of the Sputnik Planum formation.

The area labled "Rugged cratered terrain" is certainly rugged, but even it seems to have a relatively small number of craters, and those that do exist seem degraded and weathered.  The rugged terrain itself seems fractured, with significant cross-hatch faulting and some possibly eroded surfaces.

Looks like even the older landscapes have not been geologically idle.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Press-Conferences/2015-07-24/resources/highRes_1920x1080/04_McKinnon_02c.jpg


« Last Edit: 07/25/2015 10:58 PM by llanitedave »
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #437 on: 07/25/2015 11:13 PM »
There's been no further discussion of those strange holes from the very first detailed image that they presented of the surface.

Offline Astro_Zach

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Re: LIVE: New Horizons Pluto FlyBy - July 14, 2015
« Reply #438 on: 07/26/2015 12:26 AM »
Do we have any official maps yet?
Member of St. Louis Space Frontier, Gateway To Space Organization, National Space Society, Planetary Society. Veteran of 3 Launches. #SLSFiredUP Participant... Claim To Fame: I Was On NASA TV

Offline mcgyver

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