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#1 2004-06-10 10:00:51

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Scheduled launch, 2006

*Terrific.  Am really enjoying the web site which hosts the article (universetoday.com), which I recently found. 

"Scheduled for launch in 2006, the New Horizons mission will finally get a close up view of Pluto, the only planet never visited by spacecraft. On board the robotic spacecraft will be the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument, which will measure the interactions between Pluto and the high-speed stream of particles flowing out from the Sun called the solar wind. Since it'll be so far from the Sun, SWAP will be largest aperture device ever built to measure the solar wind. It'll have lots of time to measure; the trip to Pluto will take 9 years.

The Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument aboard the New Horizons spacecraft is designed to measure the interactions of Pluto and Charon with the solar wind, the high-speed stream of charged particles flowing out from the sun. Understanding these interactions will expand researchers' knowledge of the astrophysical processes affecting these bodies and that part of the solar system."

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#2 2004-06-10 17:28:57

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
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Posts: 2,843

Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Thanks, Cindy!
    I can't wait to get a look at Pluto, up-close-and-personal. I hope its atmosphere is still there when we arrive.

    The site you linked us to also had an article about the mass of the so-far hypothetical Higgs particle, believed to endow other particles with mass as they move through space/time.
    I've always been interested in this particle because of its association with mass and inertia. If there's any way to modify the effect of the Higgs field, then we would be in a position to move large masses quickly and easily through space.
    I know it's a long throw from identifying the existence of the Higgs particle to understanding how it works in practice to being able to interfere with its effects, but you have to start somewhere!
                                                  smile
[A bit off-topic. Sorry.]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#3 2004-06-11 06:19:25

Palomar
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Posts: 9,734

Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Thanks, Cindy!
    I can't wait to get a look at Pluto, up-close-and-personal. I hope its atmosphere is still there when we arrive.

    The site you linked us to also had an article about the mass of the so-far hypothetical Higgs particle, believed to endow other particles with mass as they move through space/time.
    I've always been interested in this particle because of its association with mass and inertia. If there's any way to modify the effect of the Higgs field, then we would be in a position to move large masses quickly and easily through space.
    I know it's a long throw from identifying the existence of the Higgs particle to understanding how it works in practice to being able to interfere with its effects, but you have to start somewhere!
                                                  smile
[A bit off-topic. Sorry.]

*Hiya Shaun.  smile  No need for thanks; it's my pleasure.

Yeah, I don't know why, but it always seems a strange thought that Pluto has an atmosphere (however tenuous it may be).

Hopefully it'll get up-close and personal with Charon at least once.

Erm...well, I don't know much about the Higgs particle/field, and I -don't- think you're necessarily "off-topic" with those comments; after all, it's involved with the mission...which won't be launched for at least 1-1/2 years and then it's 9 years to Pluto, but why -not- discuss it with others here who might be knowledgeable in that aspect of the mission?  smile

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#4 2004-07-18 16:31:39

Yang Liwei Rocket
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Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

sounds like a good mission


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#5 2004-08-03 14:00:13

Palomar
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From: USA
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Mission delayed??

*Los Alamos security issues.  I heard about that situation on the news the other evening.

If mission is postponed (launch), it'll be a year's delay and also add 2-1/2 years to travel time and cost additional millions of dollars.  sad  sad  sad

--Cindy

::EDIT::  "NASA officials are worried that a work stoppage at Los Alamos National Laboratory could delay the launch of a nuclear-powered Pluto mission by a year and postpone the spacecraft’s arrival at its destination by two and a half years.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos lab halted all classified work July 15 after two computer disks containing classified information were discovered missing. The following day the director of the lab expanded the shutdown to nearly all activities. Some routine administrative work had resumed at the lab by July 29, but a NASA official said it remains unclear how soon work lab employees would get back to doing the kind of sensitive work the space agency is counting on for its Pluto mission."

--->"NASA is counting on Los Alamos to transform by December raw plutonium-238 bought from Russia into tiny pellets that power long-lasting spacecraft batteries known as radioisotope thermal generators (RTGs)."

Pluto-nium?  I'd say that's apt.   :;):


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#6 2004-09-28 06:01:45

Palomar
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From: USA
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

New Horizons still scheduled for 2006 launch....

*Apparently the recent Los Alamos-related flap hasn't deterred plans.  Interesting bits of speculation on Pluto (its "upper atmosphere is expected to resemble that of a comet's") in this article.

Plans for Kuiper Belt study as well. 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#7 2004-09-28 10:30:19

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

This will also stir up debate and maybe answer the size question on whether it should stay designated as a planet.

10 years is a very long journey for those scienctist connected with the project.

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#8 2004-09-29 08:34:06

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

This will also stir up debate and maybe answer the size question on whether it should stay designated as a planet.

10 years is a very long journey for those scienctist connected with the project.

*Hi SpaceNut.  Yep.  Might also lay to rest the speculation as to whether Pluto and Charon are a "twin planet" system. 

Ten years on it.  The personnel involved (human interest aspect) would also be cool to follow, but of course privacy must be respected.  Could be a lot of changes in both personnel and their own lives in the interim. 

It's so wonderful to be alive now.  I'm not sure I remember Pioneer, but do remember Viking and the Voyagers.  Now we've got probes and robots on or around other planets, sending back data daily, MESSENGER is on its way to Mercury (in a very round-about way apparently <frown>), and there's talk of an upcoming Neptune mission, craft have been sent to comets, etc., etc.  And this pending mission.  Wow, who could possibly be bored??   smile  Then there's all the powerful telescopes, radio telescopy, etc., etc.

Feeling rather blessed!

Now if we could only get a manned mission to Mars.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#9 2004-10-04 08:22:36

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

New Horizons Set To Launch With Minimum Amount of Plutonium

The spacecraft will use the plutonium in a radioisotope thermal generator (RTG), a long-lived nuclear battery. RTGs transform heat from decaying plutonium pellets into electricity to power science instruments, computers and other flight systems.

http://space.com/spacenews/businessmonday_041004.html

NASA is still targeting a January 2006 launch of the New Horizons Pluto probe after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed it can deliver most of the nuclear fuel the spacecraft will need for its 10-year mission.

In September, Senate appropriators, noting that the paucity of plutonium has jeopardized the Kuiper Belt tour, added $4 million to the NASA budget bill last month to pay for a study of the feasibility and likely cost of launching a so-called New Horizons 2 mission relatively soon.

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#10 2004-10-05 06:04:26

Palomar
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From: USA
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

In September, Senate appropriators, noting that the paucity of plutonium has jeopardized the Kuiper Belt tour, added $4 million to the NASA budget bill last month to pay for a study of the feasibility and likely cost of launching a so-called New Horizons 2 mission relatively soon.

Yep -- New Horizons II

*Terrific!  Says this mission will be mere "literally dimes on the dollar compared to other deep outer solar system missions...

The first objective of New Horizons II is to provide important backup to the high priority science that New Horizons 1 was selected to collect.

We on the mission team for New Horizons are acutely aware that our tiny, relatively low cost spacecraft must travel over 9 years to cover the mind-boggling 5 billion kilometers between Earth and Pluto-Charon, and even farther to reach KBOs.

The most exciting candidate trajectory we have identified so far for New Horizons II takes it to the Kuiper Belt via a fast trajectory that involves both Jupiter and Uranus flybys on the way.

This exciting trajectory initiates its KBO flybys with a mammoth (400-to-500 km sized) Kuiper Belt binary called 1999 TC36.  'TC36' is almost 10 times bigger than any KBO NH I can possibly reach after Pluto-Charon; even TC36’s satellite is more than twice as large as any KBOs NH I can target! After TC36, NH II would go on to explore one or two additional, smaller KBOs.

This trajectory would flyby a total of three or four KBOs, far more than the zero to one KBOs that can be reconnoitered by New Horizons I alone, owing to the well known power supply fueling problems New Horizons I has been saddled with..."

:up:  Yippee!

--Cindy  smile


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#11 2004-10-05 09:34:05

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

What bothers me the most is that it has taken since 2001 until now to gain full funding and we still have until Jan. 2006 for launch.

Seems like it should have been done a lot faster considering the instrumentation that it will be bringing.

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#12 2004-10-19 07:45:50

Palomar
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From: USA
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

So much for The Honeymooners

*Ball Aerospace screwing up.  sad  Could cause 4-year delay in arriving at Pluto.

"Despite this contract directive, Ball Aerospace is now reportedly refusing to comply with management direction. With an already tight schedule, threats resulting from Ralph's delays are now emerging against the planned 2006 launch date of New Horizons."

What the hell is their problem?  Yeah, take it away from them. 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#13 2004-10-19 11:50:07

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

The instrument package is as follows, but what peice of the PERSI imaging can Ball not provide and are there others currently being design by other makers that would do the job that are destine for other space probes still yet to be launched?

Science Payload
PERSI: Visible mapping, infrared spectroscopic mapping, and ultraviolet imaging spectroscopy (SwRI, Ball, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

REX: Radio science and radiometry (Stanford, JHU/APL)

SWAP: Solar wind (SwRI)

PEPSSI: Energetic particle spectrometry (JHU/APL)

LORRI: Long-range and high-resolution visible mapping (JHU/APL)

SDC: Student-built dust counter (Univ. of Colorado)

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#14 2004-10-20 10:45:00

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

The Southwest Research Institute, also in Boulder, recently landed a contract to design New Horizons, a roughly $600 million mission to Pluto that could launch as early as 2006.

http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,141 … 86,00.html

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#15 2004-12-01 14:37:24

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

NASA hopes to launch Pluto-bound craft in 2006 Plutonium pinch threatens mission potential

Security problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory halted production of plutonium, which NASA's New Horizons mission needs as its energy source. Though the mission is expected to get enough from the Department of Energy to get to Pluto, scientific ambitions might have to be curtailed.

With a planned January 2006 launch from Cape Canaveral on a Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket, the earliest New Horizons would arrive at Pluto is 2015.

If NASA delays a year, it wouldn't arrive until 2019 or 2020. Getting to another Kuiper Belt object would take an additional two or three years.

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#16 2004-12-01 14:58:36

Palomar
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Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

NASA hopes to launch Pluto-bound craft in 2006 Plutonium pinch threatens mission potential

Security problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory halted production of plutonium, which NASA's New Horizons mission needs as its energy source. Though the mission is expected to get enough from the Department of Energy to get to Pluto, scientific ambitions might have to be curtailed.

With a planned January 2006 launch from Cape Canaveral on a Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket, the earliest New Horizons would arrive at Pluto is 2015.

If NASA delays a year, it wouldn't arrive until 2019 or 2020. Getting to another Kuiper Belt object would take an additional two or three years.

*They haven't yet resolved the issue (as per Aug 3rd and Sept 28th posts) or this is yet another development?  Seems unresolved/continuing.  Then there was the issue with Ball Aerospace posted on Oct 19.  sad

::sigh::

Maybe all/most missions are riddled with complications like this.  But it seems bad news at every turn of the corner with this one. 

Just when I thought things were looking up a bit for this mission.  Oh well.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#17 2005-02-01 06:18:06

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

RUSSIAN ROCKET ENGINE TO TAKE U.S. SPACE STATION TO PLUTO. A rocket engine developed at the Energomash research and production association and fitted to an Atlas launch vehicle will take a U.S. interplanetary station to Pluto.

The use of the Russian engines allows Lockheed Martin to save up to 20% of the funds used to build an Atlas rocket.
The article goes into other engines and there developement, as well as the issue of paying for things from Russia.
I like the fact that money can be saved per launch and that Nasa should be trying to do more of this. Not just its contractors.

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#18 2005-02-16 11:24:56

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Pluto Mission Takes Aim at Last Unvisited Planet

The last planet found in our solar system remains the only one never visited by an Earth probe—but NASA's New Horizons mission hopes that distinction won't last much longer.

If the mission launches on time, the craft would reach Pluto in the summer of 2015. Jupiter is in position to give the passing spacecraft a "gravity boost," speeding its travel time. A one-year launch delay would actually mean a three-year push in arrival time, as Jupiter will have orbited away from this position.

The total New Horizons mission cost is estimated at about 650 million U.S. dollars. If the 8-foot (2.5-meter), 1,025-pound (465-kilogram) spacecraft is still functioning after its Pluto visit, it will continue its mission for another three years through the Kuiper belt.

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#19 2005-03-03 06:21:37

Palomar
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

*Update about New Horizons

Haven't time to comment much right now, sorry.  Will come back ASAP with comments.

In the past month, the spacecraft has seen its high-gain antenna come aboard for an important fit check, and seen both its flight power system and main computer qualified and installed. The bird also received a guidance, navigation and control software load, and the first testing of the autonomy system (that provides for fault protection) has taken place. Coming soon to the spacecraft are the redundant flight computer, the gyros and the Ralph remote-sensing package.

We are now approaching the time - only weeks away - when the last avionics box goes on the spacecraft and New Horizons is dressed in thermal blankets for environmental testing in a large vacuum chamber at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

--Cindy

P.S.:  Mentions NEPA and launch-approval processes.  Hmmmm.  They'd better approve it.  Possible January 2006 launch opportunity?  That'd be great, is now a mere 9 months away.  smile


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#20 2005-03-23 12:07:48

Palomar
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

*Latest update, found today at space.com's "Astronotes" section.  Much is rehash of previous info, but looks as though we're very likely still "go" for a January 2006 launch.  smile 

March 22

Public Hearings Set for Pluto Mission

The countdown clock is ticking toward a January liftoff of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft bound for Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

"The spacecraft and instruments are undergoing a very rigorous test program over the next few months," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "This begins with systems testing, and then proceeds to shake tests and space environment thermal vacuum testing," he told SPACE.com.

Also among a series of steps still to be undertaken is launch approval of the nuclear-powered probe.  The power source for New Horizons is a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). It uses heat from the decay of plutonium dioxide to produce electricity.

On March 29 and 30, NASA will host meetings at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa – a research institute of the University of Central Florida -- where the public can comment on a New Horizons Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and learn more about the proposed mission.

After reviews are completed under the National Environmental Policy Act, if NASA decides to proceed with the mission, the spacecraft would await presidential approval to launch next January.

New Horizons is to be launched aboard an Atlas 5. The piano-sized probe would cross the entire span of the solar system -- in record time -- and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and its moon, Charon, in 2015. New Horizons would also voyage into the Kuiper Belt of smaller, icy objects.   -- Leonard David

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#21 2005-03-29 13:34:36

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Since when does
NASA Seeks Public Views on Nuclear-Powered Pluto Mission let alone any mission in particular.


NASA is offering people a chance to comment tonight and Wednesday on a planned mission to Pluto that will carry nuclear fuel.

The New Horizons mission will use a plutonium-powered radioisotope thermoelectric generator for power in deep space, where sunlight isn’t intense enough to run the spacecraft. It’s like the generators that flew in the Cassini probe now at Saturn. In fact, it’s Cassini’s spare.

Here is another oddity:

Ultimately, the mission must receive presidential approval.

Environmental Impact Statement and more information here

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#22 2005-04-06 05:24:52

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

The PI's Perspective

As March ended, additional elements of the spacecraft and instrument payload were installed on the New Horizons spacecraft. These included an array of heaters, inertial measurement units, a repaired flight computer, and the Ralph remote sensing instrument package. This is a major milestone for the project team!

while all of the testing is taking place, our launch vehicle is under construction, detailed flight procedures and command scripts for the early phases of flight are being written (and tested) by spacecraft and instrument team members, and planning is taking place to knit together a tightly woven plan for our hoped-for Jupiter encounter in early 2007.

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#23 2005-04-12 07:40:18

SpaceNut
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Ball contributes to Pluto project

Code-named Ralph, the instrument is designed for flight aboard NASA's proposed New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has delivered a high-resolution visible and infrared instrument to collect surface images and temperature of Pluto for an upcoming NASA mission.

corporate release:
Ball Aerospace Delivers Imaging Instrument for NASA’s Mission to Pluto

Ralph’s digital imaging capabilities aredesigned to obtain data at light levels 1,000 times more faint than daylight on Earth. Small but robust, Ralph weighs only 24 pounds, and draws less than seven watts of electricity when operating, or just enough to run a household nightlight.

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#24 2005-04-12 08:23:20

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

Since when does
NASA Seeks Public Views on Nuclear-Powered Pluto Mission let alone any mission in particular.


NASA is offering people a chance to comment tonight and Wednesday on a planned mission to Pluto that will carry nuclear fuel.

*Maybe it's a good thing they are asking for public opinion in this regard.  That way, when the mission is approved and ready for launch, people can't come out screaming in protest, demanding it be stopped...because they had a chance to voice their concerns/protests months prior, and did they do so then?  No?  Then it's a little too late to complain NOW, isn't it??  smile  LOL.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#25 2005-04-12 10:19:11

SpaceNut
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Registered: 2004-07-22
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Re: New Horizons - mission to Pluto and the Kupier belt

But then again are the only ones that can complain are to be those in the actual flight path or does this also include those that might end up within a debri fallout path as well is a hazardous condition should occur?
I hate what if... senerios.

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