Author Topic: New Horizons updates  (Read 179480 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #400 on: 03/13/2018 03:03 PM »
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March 13, 2018

New Horizons Chooses Nickname for ‘Ultimate’ Flyby Target

As NASA’s New Horizons mission continues exploring the unknown, the mission team has selected a highly appropriate nickname for its next flyby target in the outer reaches of the solar system.

With substantial public input, the team has chosen “Ultima Thule” (pronounced ultima thoo-lee”) for the Kuiper Belt object the New Horizons spacecraft will explore on Jan. 1, 2019. Officially known as 2014 MU69, the object, which orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto, will be the most primitive world ever observed by spacecraft – in the farthest planetary encounter in history.

Thule was a mythical, far-northern island in medieval literature and cartography. Ultima Thule means "beyond Thule"– beyond the borders of the known world—symbolizing the exploration of the distant Kuiper Belt and Kuiper Belt objects that New Horizons is performing, something never before done.

“MU69 is humanity's next Ultima Thule,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Our spacecraft is heading beyond the limits of the known worlds, to what will be this mission’s next achievement. Since this will be the farthest exploration of any object in space in history, I like to call our flyby target Ultima, for short, symbolizing this ultimate exploration by NASA and our team.”

Looking for a more inspirational albeit temporary moniker than the designator 2014 MU69, NASA and the New Horizons team launched the nickname campaign in early November. Hosted by the SETI Institute of Mountain View, California, and led by Mark Showalter, an institute fellow and member of the New Horizons science team, the online contest (http://frontierworlds.seti.org/) sought nominations from the public and stipulated that a nickname would be chosen from among the top vote-getters.

The popular campaign wrapped up on Dec. 6, after a five-day extension to accommodate more voting. The campaign involved 115,000 participants from around the world, who nominated some 34,000 names. Of those, 37 names reached the ballot for voting and were evaluated for popularity – this included eight names suggested by the New Horizons team and 29 nominated by the public.

The team then narrowed its selection to the 29 publicly nominated names and gave preference to names near the top of the polls. Ultima Thule was nominated by about 40 members of the public and one of the highest vote-getters among all name nominees. “We are grateful to those who proposed such an interesting and inspirational nickname,” Showalter said. “They deserve credit for capturing the true spirit of exploration that New Horizons embodies.”

The name was suggested to think of MU69 as a distant follow up to Pluto, which New Horizons historically and famously encountered in July 2015. Other names considered included Abeona, Pharos, Pangu, Rubicon, Olympus, Pinnacle and Tiramisu. The final tallies are posted at http://frontierworlds.seti.org/.

After the flyby, NASA and the New Horizons team will choose a formal name to submit to the International Astronomical Union, based in part on whether MU69 is found to be a single body, a binary pair, or perhaps a system of multiple objects.

Learn more about New Horizons, NASA's mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, at http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons and http://pluto.jhuapl.edu.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-chooses-nickname-for-ultimate-flyby-target

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Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object that orbits one billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto, on Jan. 1, 2019. With public input, the team has selected the nickname “Ultima Thule” for the object, which will be the most primitive and most distant world ever explored by spacecraft.
Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Steve Gribben

Offline plutogno

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #401 on: 03/13/2018 04:00 PM »
seriously? a press release about a nickname?

Online dsmillman

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #402 on: 03/13/2018 04:11 PM »
seriously? a press release about a nickname?
New Horizons is in hibernate mode until June.  You use any excuse to get publicity.

Offline Star One

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #403 on: 03/13/2018 08:15 PM »
There was a planet called Ultima Thule in one episode of the first season of Space 1999.

Offline plutogno

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #404 on: 03/14/2018 05:35 AM »
There was a planet called Ultima Thule in one episode of the first season of Space 1999.

and quite a gruesome episode!

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #405 on: 03/14/2018 08:18 PM »
Pytheas of Massalia traveled in the Atlantic Ocean in the 4th century BC search for the tin islands, and discovered Britain. He then sailed northwest to an island twice the size of Britain which he called Thule, until he reached the ice barrier. Northeast of Britain lies Scandinavia which is twice the size of Britain, northwest is Iceland which is not. In any case we are talking about an era when the largest island in the Mediterranean was believed to be Sardinia rather than Sicily. Following Pytheas Thule took the connotation of far away and exotic northern location. Antonius Diogenes (2nd century AD) wrote a book, lost when the Crusaders of the 4th Crusade took and ransacked Constantinople in 1204, usually translated in English "On the wonders beyond Thule", which is likely the origin of the term Ultima Thule

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #406 on: 04/09/2018 07:41 PM »
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The New Horizons Ultima Thule flyby hazards search team is at @JHUAPL this week conducting their third mission simulation in prep for the flyby late this year This morning I gave them all hard hats so they can look like a proper hazards team! #ScientistsInHardHats Like?

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/983379211133087744

Offline Star One

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #407 on: 04/11/2018 08:15 PM »
Legendary explorers and visionaries, real and fictitious, are among those immortalized by the IAU in the first set of official surface-feature names for Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. The names were proposed by the New Horizons team and approved by IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features, recently approved a dozen names proposed by NASA's New Horizons team, which led the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons in 2015 with the New Horizons spacecraft. The New Horizons team had been using many of the chosen names informally to describe the many valleys, crevices and craters discovered during the first close-up look at the surface Charon.

Charon is one of the larger bodies in the Kuiper Belt, and has a wealth of geological features, as well as a collection of craters similar to those seen on most moons. These features and some of Charon’s craters have now been assigned official names by the IAU.

The New Horizons team was instrumental in moving the new names through approval, and included the leader of the New Horizons missions, Dr. Alan Stern, and science team members Mark Showalter — the group's chairman and liaison to the IAU — Ross Beyer, Will Grundy, William McKinnon, Jeff Moore, Cathy Olkin, Paul Schenk and Amanda Zangari. The team gathered most of their ideas during the Our Plutoonline public naming campaign in 2015.

The names approved by the IAU encompass the diverse range of recommendations the team received from around the world during the Our Pluto campaign. As well as the efforts of the New Horizons team, members of the public all over the world helped to name the features of Charon by contributing their suggestions for names of the features of this far-flung moon.

Honouring the epic exploration of Pluto that New Horizons accomplished, many of the feature names in the Pluto system pay homage to the spirit of human exploration, honouring travellers, explorers and scientists, pioneering journeys, and mysterious destinations. Rita Schulz, chair of the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature, commented that “I am pleased that the features on Charon have been named with international spirit.”

The approved Charon names focus on the literature and mythology of exploration. They are listed here:

Argo Chasma is named for the ship sailed by Jason and the Argonauts, in the epic Latin poem Argonautica, during their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Butler Mons honours Octavia E. Butler, the first science fiction writer to win a MacArthur fellowship, and whose Xenogenesis trilogy describes humankind’s departure from Earth and subsequent return.

Caleuche Chasma is named for the mythological ghost ship that travels the seas around the small island of Chiloé, off the coast of Chile; according to legend, the Caleuche explores the coastline collecting the dead, who then live aboard it forever.

Clarke Montes honours Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the prolific science fiction writer and futurist whose novels and short stories (including 2001: A Space Odyssey) were imaginative depictions of space exploration.

Dorothy Crater recognizes the protagonist in the series of children’s novels, by L. Frank Baum, that follows Dorothy Gale’s travels to and adventures in the magical world of Oz.

Kubrick Mons honours film director Stanley Kubrick, whose iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of humanity’s evolution from tool-using hominids to space explorers and beyond.

Mandjet Chasma is named for one of the boats in Egyptian mythology that carried the sun god Ra (Re) across the sky each day — making it one of the earliest mythological examples of a vessel of space travel.

Nasreddin Crater is named for the protagonist in thousands of humorous folktales told throughout the Middle East, southern Europe and parts of Asia.

Nemo Crater is named for the captain of the Nautilus, the submarine in Jules Verne’s novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and The Mysterious Island (1874).

Pirx Crater is named for the main character in a series of short stories by Stanislaw Lem, who travels between the Earth, Moon and Mars.

Revati Crater is named for the main character in the Hindu epic narrative Mahabharata — widely regarded as the first in history (circa 400 BC) to include the concept of time travel.

Sadko Crater recognizes the adventurer who travelled to the bottom of the sea in the medieval Russian epic Bylina.

https://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1803/

Offline Star One

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #408 on: 04/11/2018 08:35 PM »
The nitrogen cycles on Pluto over seasonal and astronomical timescales

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Pluto's landscape is shaped by the cycles of the volatile ices covering its surface. In particular, the Sputnik Planitia (SP) ice sheet displays a large diversity of terrains, with bright and dark plains, pits, topographic depressions and evidences of recent and past glacial flows. Outside SP, New Horizons also revealed numerous N2 ice deposits, in Tombaugh Regio and at mid-northern latitudes. These observations suggest a complex history involving volatile and glacial processes on different timescales. We present numerical simulations of volatile transport on Pluto performed with a model able to simulate the N2 cycle over millions of years (Myrs), taking into account the changes of obliquity and orbital parameters as experienced by Pluto. Results show that over one obliquity cycle, the latitudes of SP between 25{\deg}S-30{\deg}N are dominated by N2 condensation, while the latitudes between 30-50{\deg}N are dominated by N2 sublimation. We find that a net amount of 1 km of ice has sublimed at the northern edge of SP during the last 2 Myrs. By comparing these results with the observed geology of SP, we can relate the formation of the pits and the brightness of the ice to the ice flux occurring at the annual timescale, while the glacial flows at its eastern edge and the erosion of the water ice mountains all around the ice sheet are related to the astronomical timescale. We also perform simulations with a glacial flow scheme which shows that SP is currently at its minimum extent. We also explore the stability of N2 ice outside SP. Results show that it is not stable at the poles but rather in the equatorial regions, in particular in depressions, where thick deposits may persist over tens of Myrs, before being trapped in SP. Finally, another key result is that the minimum and maximum surface pressures obtained over the simulated Myrs remain in the range of mm-Pa and Pa, respectively.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.02434

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #409 on: 04/18/2018 08:57 PM »
Good interview with Alan Stern on TheSpaceShow at the weekend:

http://www.thespaceshow.com/show/15-apr-2018/broadcast-3100-dr.-alan-stern

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #410 on: 04/29/2018 03:32 PM »
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CANNOT WAIT! We’re doing a Reddit AMA about our new book, Chasing New Horizons (see read.macmillan.com/lp/chasing-new… ) on May 9th, 10 am Eastern! Ask me anything abut the book, the mission, Pluto, or even space exploration!

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/990613660606255104
« Last Edit: 04/29/2018 03:33 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #411 on: 05/06/2018 03:51 PM »
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AS OF TODAY, New Horizons is just 2 Astronomical Units to our next flyby target Ultima Thule--arrival on 1 Jan 2019!

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/993081889639616512

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #412 on: 05/08/2018 09:58 AM »
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GREEN BEACON! Overnight New Horizons reported in that all is well with it in hibernation out in the Kuiper Belt! Waking up for active ops soon— on June 4th! #PlutoFlyby

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/993779801533149184

Offline Star One

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #413 on: 05/25/2018 07:58 PM »
Pluto May Have Formed from 1 Billion Comets

https://amp.space.com/40687-pluto-formation-1-billion-comets.html

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #414 on: 05/28/2018 07:17 PM »
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JUST GOT WORD FROM THE KUIPER BELT, New Horizons sent a GREEN BEACON! All’s well way out there. And this was our last beacon until long after flyby when downlink finishes in 2020. We wake the bird up from hibernation to start flyby preps next week! GO NEW HORIZONS!

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/1001175445696638979

Offline Star One

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #415 on: 05/31/2018 07:52 PM »
Dunes on Pluto

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Dunes decorate many bodies in the solar system — not only our familiar Earth, but also Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and maybe even the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Using the spectacular data that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back of Pluto’s surface after its 2015 flyby, researchers decided to look for dunes on that world, too. Reporting in the June 1st Science, Matt Telfer (University of Plymouth, UK) and colleagues think they’ve found them.

The team discovered a wide swath of parallel ripples on the western edge of Sputnik Planitia, the vast plain of molecular nitrogen (N2) at Pluto’s equator. This edge abuts the cordilleran Al-Idrisi Montes, which reach some 5 km (3 mi) into the Plutonian sky. The series of ripples runs largely parallel to the mountain-plain boundary and extend out from it for 75 km, eventually becoming gentler and fading out. This pattern is just what you’d expect if the ridges are dunes formed by wind coming off the mountains and sweeping across Sputnik Planitia.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/dunes-on-pluto-3106201823/

Online Chris Bergin

Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #416 on: 06/04/2018 06:14 PM »
ARTICLE: New Horizons about to leave hibernation ahead of January MU69 flyby -

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/06/new-horizons-leave-hibernation-january-mu69-flyby/

- By Ian Atkinson

Offline Star One

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #417 on: 06/05/2018 07:38 PM »
New Horizons Wakes for Historic Kuiper Belt Flyby

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is back "awake" and being prepared for the farthest planetary encounter in history – a New Year's Day 2019 flyby of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule.

Cruising through the Kuiper Belt more than 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) from Earth, New Horizons had been in resource-saving hibernation mode since Dec. 21. Radio signals confirming that New Horizons had executed on-board computer commands to exit hibernation reached mission operations at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, via NASA's Deep Space Network at 2:12 a.m. EDT on June 5.

Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman of APL reported that the spacecraft was in good health and operating normally, with all systems coming back online as expected.

Over the next three days, the mission team will collect navigation tracking data (using signals from the Deep Space Network) and send the first of many commands to New Horizons' onboard computers to begin preparations for the Ultima flyby; lasting about two months, those flyby preparations include memory updates, Kuiper Belt science data retrieval, and a series of subsystem and science-instrument checkouts. In August, the team will command New Horizons to begin making distant observations of Ultima, images that will help the team refine the spacecraft's course to fly by the object.

"Our team is already deep into planning and simulations of our upcoming flyby of Ultima Thule and excited that New Horizons is now back in an active state to ready the bird for flyby operations, which will begin in late August," said mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

New Horizons made a historic flight past Pluto and its moons on July 14, 2015, returning data that has transformed our view of these intriguing worlds near the inner edge of the Kuiper Belt. Since then, New Horizons has been speeding deeper into this distant region, observing other Kuiper Belt objects and measuring the properties of the heliosphere while heading toward the flyby of Ultima Thule -- about a billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto – on Jan. 1, 2019.

New Horizons is now approximately 162 million miles (262 million kilometers) – less than twice the distance between Earth and the Sun – from Ultima, speeding 760,200 miles (1,223,420 kilometers closer each day. Follow New Horizons on its voyage at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/Where-is-New-Horizons/index.php.

Long-Distance Numbers

On June 5, 2018, New Horizons was nearly 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers) from Earth. From there – more than 40 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun – a radio signal sent from the spacecraft at light speed reached Earth 5 hours and 40 minutes later.

The 165-day hibernation that ended June 4 was the second of two such "rest" periods for the spacecraft before the Ultima Thule flyby. The spacecraft will now remain active until late 2020, after it has transmitted all data from the Ultima encounter back to Earth and completed other Kuiper Belt science observations.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #418 on: 06/11/2018 03:23 PM »
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Here's something SWEEEET & NEW about @NewHorizons: Looks like our latest fuel budget predicts a couple of extra kilograms for future extended mission proposals to study the Kuiper Belt!

https://twitter.com/AlanStern/status/1005892595006955520

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: New Horizons updates
« Reply #419 on: 06/18/2018 06:26 PM »
I'm genuinely surprised and impressed that NH even has any propellent left after the burn to intercept MU69!
"Oops! I left the silly thing in reverse!" - Duck Dodgers

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