The solar system is a much more interesting, complicated place if we throw out the classical “Solar System has 9 planets” model we learned in grade school. And Pluto is just as special.
Detailed timeline of flyby events:
Where to follow progress:
- http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html (NASA TV)
- Twitter: #PlutoFlyBy, @NASANewHorizons, @NewHorizons2015
ETA: schedule of media events at http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-announces-updated-television-coverage-media-activities-for-pluto-flyby
Also, The Science Channel is going to do a flyby special on the evening of July 15th.
This is an awesome desktop app for Pluto and other NASA stuff:
Beagle, Cassini–Huygens, Chang’e, Curiosity, Gaia, Galileo, GRAIL, Juno, Mariner, MAVEN, MESSENGER, Nozomi, Opportunity, OSIRIS-REx, Phoenix, Pioneer, Magellan, Voyager….
A piece that is neither essay nor fiction nor memoir but all of them and none of them (390 words).
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead
America, Horse With No Name
Photo credit: NASA
I am terribly behind in my space geeking. Life has thrown me a couple of curveballs, and there’s been a lot of cool space stuff to fall behind on geeking about.
(1) Lunar Mission One: A kickstarter campaign by a private British group, Lunar Missions Ltd, to send an unmanned robotic landing module to the South Pole of the Moon and drill deep into the rock for a scientific analysis of the the geological composition of the Moon.
(2) Hayabusa 2 launched on December 3rd. It is a Japanese asteroid sample return mission targeted at asteroid 1999 JU3. It is due to arrive in July of 2018 and return to Earth in 2020.
(3) Orion! NASA’s new reusable spacecraft intended for future manned space missions (part of NASA’s plans to return to the Moon, and their Asteroid Retrieval Mission) had its first unmanned test flight on December 5th. It did two orbits around the Earth, then returned safely.
(4) New Horizons, NASA/JPL’s mission to Pluto, woke up last Saturday from a two-year hibernation in preparation for its arrival at Pluto this coming July. It will stay “awake” from here on out, and hopefully get some awesome pictures of the Pluto system before its fly-by. Then it is off to explore another Kuiper Belt Object.
It’s taken ten years to get there, but early Wednesday, November 12 Central European time (from about 1 AM to 8 AM, which is about 5 PM to midnight Pacific time), the European Space Agency will land a craft on a comet. Their Rosetta spacecraft got to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko three months ago, and has been in a weird jagged “orbit” around it ever since. Now its attached lander, Philae, is being prepped to detach from it.
All the pre-flight stuff is going to happen when I’m busy at a conference next week, and the actual flight and grand finale landing, if it is successful, will happen in the middle of the night. Good luck to the ESA. #cometlanding
The other video is a short art film the ESA collaborated on that I believe is a promo for a longer, upcoming science fantasy film, “Ambition” about the life-creating chemicals and water of comets: