Saturday, June 27, 2015


New Horizons probe
Even as the mysteries of the dwarf planet CERES have yet to be explained, here comes another space probe that may turn out to be even more mysterious than CERES!

The mission was launched in 2006 and is called NEW HORIZONS and in about two weeks, for about a half hour,  it will take close up pictures of PLUTO!

That is, if they can find it.

Say what?

"If they can find it."

You mean after spending all that money (265 million dollars) and time (it was launched on January 19, 2006) and goes all that way (4.7 Billion miles) when they finally get "there"....they might not be able to FIND Pluto?

Yep, that's true.

According to an article in Nature magazine,

“Everything is pushed to the extreme,” says Bobby Williams, an engineer at KinetX Aerospace in Simi Valley, California, who heads the mission’s navigation team.  New Horizons must slip by just 12,500 kilometres above Pluto, a distance dictated by the spacecraft’s speed — nearly 14 kilometres per second — and how quickly it can rotate its instruments to look at the surface below. It must accomplish this manoeuvre even as Pluto dances a complex shimmy through space, pulled by the gravitational tug of its largest moon, Charon. After that closest approach, New Horizons must continue on a precise path into the shadows of both Pluto and Charon, for its sole chance to look back and explore atmospheres on those worlds.There is only one shot. “It’s not like an orbiter, where if you miss a day’s science you can make it up later,” says Williams.

If the probe does find PLUTO, NASA says we should expect

 to see Images sharp enough to resolve surface features

 as small as 200 feet across.  "If there is a football stadium on


 will spot it."

Back here on Earth, I'm still trying to solve a mystery that has

 puzzled me since the early 1940's.

What's the difference between PLUTO

and GOOFY?