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Author Topic: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?  (Read 7638 times)

MDriver1981

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A few years ago the Americans launched a robotic spacecraft that is on a course to the former planet Pluto.  Does anyone know what benefits this has?  - And what overall understanding might this icy rock give us?
« Last Edit: 15/02/2009 09:30:24 by chris »


 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #1 on: 14/02/2009 05:09:37 »
Quote
Primary objectives (required)
•Characterize the global geology and morphology of Pluto and Charon
•Map chemical compositions of Pluto and Charon surfaces
•Characterize the neutral (non-ionized) atmosphere of Pluto and its escape rate

Loss of any of these objectives will constitute a failure of the mission.

Secondary objectives (expected)
•Characterize the time variability of Pluto's surface and atmosphere
•Image select Pluto and Charon areas in stereo
•Map the terminators (day/night border) of Pluto and Charon with high resolution
•Map the chemical compositions of select Pluto and Charon areas with high resolution
•Characterize Pluto's ionosphere, and its interaction with the solar wind
•Search for neutral species such as H2, HCN, hydrocarbons, and other nitriles in the atmosphere
•Search for any Charon atmosphere
•Determine bolometric bond albedos for Pluto and Charon
•Map surface temperatures of Pluto and Charon

It is expected, but not demanded, that most of these objectives will be met.

Tertiary objectives (desired)
•Characterize the energetic particle environment at Pluto and Charon
•Refine bulk parameters (radii, masses) and orbits of Pluto and Charon
•Search for additional moons, and any rings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Horizons#Pluto_flyby
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #2 on: 14/02/2009 05:13:55 »
But I am not sure that spending ~$650 million over a 15 year period is worth it.
 

MDriver1981

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #3 on: 14/02/2009 21:10:31 »
Also, due to it's vast distance and smallness, we do not have a clear picture of what the two icy rocks look like. 
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #4 on: 15/02/2009 00:07:52 »
Ah, but think of the vast quality of that drink, with those two icy rocks in it.
I too will join NASA, now that i realized the quantity of planning hiding in the shadows.

A most noble institute, with a fresh outlook on new and exotic beverages.
 

Offline Vern

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #5 on: 15/02/2009 00:16:29 »
I think I would rather spend money on space exploration than on protecting an evolutionary odd ball mouse as we are now doing in California. :) We're spending $40,000,000 to protect the habitat of the salt-marsh mouse. The critter somehow managed to become a separate species from the regular house mouse so now gets some big bucks.

 

MDriver1981

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #6 on: 15/02/2009 02:37:03 »
Chemistry, what would you do with $650 million?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #7 on: 15/02/2009 02:48:04 »
If I was being greedy I would probably keep all of it myself, but if I wasn't, I would probably give it to some people who need it more than I do... :)
 

MDriver1981

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #8 on: 15/02/2009 06:47:14 »
Chemistry4Me has enough heart for ten people. 
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Re: What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #9 on: 15/02/2009 06:51:38 »
Yep! ;D Both literally and figuratively!
 

Offline yor_on

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What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #10 on: 15/02/2009 10:18:24 »
Well Mr Chem, there is only one way to find out.
Take Mr MDriver up on his offer.

But first, feel free to join me at the bar.
Bring your forklift, for that vast Margarita.
And a work submission:)

Or is it whisky Mr Chem.
On the rocks?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #11 on: 16/02/2009 04:14:22 »
You needs to bring a lot of Margarita for my clones friends.
 

Offline syhprum

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What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #12 on: 16/02/2009 10:21:53 »
Vern

These environmentalists that want to put a stop to evolution really bug me,if they had their way we would still be knee deep in dinosaurs.
 

Offline yor_on

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What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #13 on: 16/02/2009 18:10:23 »
Ah, I sugshest shat isht swill she eashier sho shring the shorklifss sho she marh´geruita
(So I might have dipped into the well, so what? I'm a soon to be certified rocket scientist)

 

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What is the purpose of the New Horizons mission to Pluto?
« Reply #13 on: 16/02/2009 18:10:23 »

 

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