Your Pluto-palooza Party Guide

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The basics:

http://www.nature.com/news/pluto-fly-by-a-graphical-guide-to-the-historic-mission-1.17927

Detailed timeline of flyby events:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/06240556-what-to-expect-new-horizons-pluto.html

Where to follow progress:

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.

 

Party goodies:

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Participate/community/Plutopalooza-Toolkit.php

This is an awesome desktop app for Pluto and other NASA stuff:

http://eyes.nasa.gov/

Space Geeking

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.

http://lunarmissionone.com/

 

(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.

http://global.jaxa.jp/
http://b612.jspec.jaxa.jp/hayabusa2/e/index_e.html

(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.

http://www.nasa.gov/orion/

(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.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons/on-plutos-doorstep-new-horizons-spacecraft-awakens-for-encounter/

Moar space robots!

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

Two videos related to this. The first is more cutesy space stuff, but it’s also part of a rather brilliantly accessible series of cartoons promoting and explaining their mission.

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: