1. Standard memberSoothfast
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    06 Jul '15 04:15
    NASA's New Horizons mission is 8 days, 7 hours, and 34 minutes from its closest approach to Pluto, and not one poindexter on this forum has made a peep about it. So, I shall be that poindexter. 😉

    Contact with the probe was momentarily lost on July 4, but was restored within a couple of hours. Some rather nice images and animations are to be found at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php. I guess the quality of the images surpassed the best the Hubble Telescope could manage sometime around April, give or take a month.

    At this point I think we can all rest assured that neither Pluto nor Charon is an abandoned Death Star.
  2. Subscribermoonbus
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    06 Jul '15 10:08
    Peep.

    BTW, I still think Pluto is a planet. Anything massive enough to have a moon qualifies, in my book.
  3. Cape Town
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    06 Jul '15 13:56
    Originally posted by moonbus
    Peep.

    BTW, I still think Pluto is a planet. Anything massive enough to have a moon qualifies, in my book.
    Its just a label, so it doesn't matter a whole lot to me whether you call it a planet or not. But to be reasonable, you will have to include quite a lot of other solar system bodies, and even some rather small asteroids.

    Check out this planet that went right past Earth in January:
    http://earthsky.org/space/asteroid-that-flew-past-earth-january-26-2015-has-a-moon
  4. Subscribersonhouse
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    07 Jul '15 11:021 edit
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    NASA's New Horizons mission is 8 days, 7 hours, and 34 minutes from its closest approach to Pluto, and not one poindexter on this forum has made a peep about it. So, I shall be that poindexter. 😉

    Contact with the probe was momentarily lost on July 4, but was restored within a couple of hours. Some rather nice images and animations are to be found at ...[text shortened]... point I think we can all rest assured that neither Pluto nor Charon is an abandoned Death Star.
    I have been following breathlessly! The images are getting better by the day, far better now than any telescope on or near Earth. Here is a problem for you: calculate the size a telescope would need to be somewhere in the vicinity of Earth to have images of Pluto even as good as they are now, never mind when they get to closest approach. That is to say, the diameter of the reflector.
  5. Subscribermoonbus
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    08 Jul '15 18:48
    I am a little surprised the probe suffered a computer crash. You'd think they would have outfitted it with multi-processor multi-tasking capable kit.

    Breathless indeed. Every time we get close to another body in our immediate neighborhood, we re-discover how complicated our little community is!
  6. Cape Town
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    08 Jul '15 19:06
    Originally posted by moonbus
    I am a little surprised the probe suffered a computer crash. You'd think they would have outfitted it with multi-processor multi-tasking capable kit.

    Breathless indeed. Every time we get close to another body in our immediate neighborhood, we re-discover how complicated our little community is!
    Sometimes its easier just to make sure your computer can recover from a crash.
  7. Standard memberSoothfast
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    08 Jul '15 23:12
    The latest images are at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/soc/Pluto-Encounter/index.php

    So, now there are images from yesterday, the first received since the July 4 glitch.
  8. Subscribersonhouse
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    10 Jul '15 14:522 edits
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    The latest images are at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/soc/Pluto-Encounter/index.php

    So, now there are images from yesterday, the first received since the July 4 glitch.
    Also on yesterdays APOD. This is really an exciting time for space exploration, first REALLY up close and personal on a comet and now a real close up look at Pluto. I wonder if there will be enough time to see the moons also? There are 5 of them we know about.
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    11 Jul '15 11:35
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Sometimes its easier just to make sure your computer can recover from a crash.
    It is, and there are (at least) two reasons for this.

    One, the KISS principle. Multiple redundancy is nice, does have its organisational cost; and multi-tasking is complicated. The less there is to go wrong, the less there will go wrong. And if you only rely on multiple redundancy, what do you do when the redundancy circuit itself goes wrong?

    Two, you will crash, even with redundancy. It's a wild universe out there; sooner or later you will encounter a flare that fritzes all of your chips at the same time, or a rock which knocks you off course and out of touch with home. You are, guaranteed, going to get into trouble, and you're going to have to be able to recover. Why not make sure that that's an easy, automatic task? As proven this time, it has its benefits.
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    11 Jul '15 13:43
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    It is, and there are (at least) two reasons for this.

    One, the KISS principle. Multiple redundancy is nice, does have its organisational cost; and multi-tasking is complicated. The less there is to go wrong, the less there will go wrong. And if you only rely on multiple redundancy, what do you do when the redundancy circuit itself goes wrong? ...[text shortened]... Why not make sure that that's an easy, automatic task? As proven this time, it has its benefits.
    I was thinking along very similar lines when looking at the recent roller-coaster ride crash in the UK.

    They had all kinds of safety features installed that meant it was supposed to be impossible for
    two trains to be on one of the gravity sections at once.

    Evidently in this case they failed.

    When the two trains crashed neither fell off the track, and the restraints held people in place with
    minimal to no injuries.

    The 4 people who were hurt were the 4 in the front 'car' who smacked directly into the stopped [empty]
    train in front. They have had legs amputated and suffered injuries like collapsed lungs etc.

    Now the safety stuff was all about preventing a crash in the first place, but if they had said "ok, it's supposed
    to be impossible, but say 'the hand of god' comes down and makes a crash happen anyway, how do we
    design this to prevent any injuries?" they might well have put in a buffering system that meant in the event of
    a crash the passenger compartments would never impact each other. As the restraining system evidently
    worked to prevent injuries they would have had a few bruises and strains and that's it.
    As opposed to 4 people in critical condition with life changing injuries.

    By all means design systems to prevent accidents and crashes happening in the first place as much as possible.

    But always then introduce measures to mitigate against harm when those accidents and crashes happen anyway.
  11. Subscribersonhouse
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    13 Jul '15 10:59
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    I was thinking along very similar lines when looking at the recent roller-coaster ride crash in the UK.

    They had all kinds of safety features installed that meant it was supposed to be impossible for
    two trains to be on one of the gravity sections at once.

    Evidently in this case they failed.

    When the two trains crashed neither fell off the tra ...[text shortened]... then introduce measures to mitigate against harm when those accidents and crashes happen anyway.
    Roller coasters are restrained in ways trains never can be, multiple contacts with the tracks and such, and the velocity would be well under a real train and the mass would be many times less so the kinetic energy would be way less.

    I wonder if the computer glitch on Horizons will ever be figured out?
  12. Standard memberSoothfast
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    13 Jul '15 22:42
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I wonder if the computer glitch on Horizons will ever be figured out?
    The cause was "an obscure timing flaw in a command sequence sent to the probe in preparation for flyby".

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2015/07/10/how-new-horizons-survived-the-40-year-glitch-and-made-it-to-pluto/#.VaQ9KZNViko
  13. Subscribersonhouse
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    14 Jul '15 10:04
    Originally posted by moonbus
    Peep.

    BTW, I still think Pluto is a planet. Anything massive enough to have a moon qualifies, in my book.
    There are asteroids that have moons also, but I wouldn't call it even a dwarf planet, way too small:

    http://www.space.com/28428-sharpened-view-of-asteroid-with-moons-earth-encounter-video.html
  14. Standard memberSoothfast
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    14 Jul '15 19:42
    There are no logical arguments for classifying Pluto as a planet. Only emotional ones.
  15. Subscribersonhouse
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    14 Jul '15 20:01
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    There are no logical arguments for classifying Pluto as a planet. Only emotional ones.
    It's still pretty dam big! You certainly could not launch yourself off into space just by jumping up like you could on that comet they tagged with the probe.
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