Dec 20 2015

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Still less than halfway done downloading data

NASA’s New Horizon page.

New Findings from NASA’s New Horizons Shape Understanding of Pluto and its Moons.

Key to understanding activity on Pluto is the role of the deep layer of solid nitrogen and other volatile ices that fill the left side of Pluto’s ‘heart’—a vast, 620-mile (1,000-kilometer) -wide basin, informally named Sputnik Planum. New numerical models of thermal convection within this ice layer not only explain the numerous polygonal ice features seen on Sputnik Planum’s surface, but indicate this layer may be up to a few miles thick. Evaporation of this nitrogen and condensation on higher surrounding terrain leads to glacial flow back toward the basin; additional numerical models of nitrogen ice flow show how Pluto’s landscape has been and is still being transformed.

This recently received panchromatic image of Pluto’s small satellite Nix taken by the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) aboard New Horizons is one of the best images of Pluto’s third-largest moon generated by the NASA mission. Taken on July 14 at a range of about 14,000 miles (23,000 kilometers) from Nix, the illuminated surface is about 12 miles (19 kilometers) by 29 miles (47 kilometers). The unique perspective of this image provides new details about Nix’s geologic history and impact record.

New Horizons is the mission that just keeps on giving. They’re not even going to be done analyzing the data by the time it visits 2014 MU69.

And here’s an interesting factoid from New Horizons’ Wiki page that I didn’t know:

Even though it was launched far faster than any outward probe before it, New Horizons will never overtake either Voyager 1 or Voyager 2 as the most distant human-made object from Earth. Close flybys of Saturn and Titan gave Voyager 1 an advantage with their gravity assist. When New Horizons reaches the distance of 100 AU, it will be travelling at about 13 km/s (29,000 mph), around 4 km/s (8,900 mph) slower than Voyager 1 at that distance.

Ya learn something new every day!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/20/still-less-than-halfway-done-downloading-data/

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