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Thread: Spaceprobes

  1. #11
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    As of today the rover Opportunity has travelled a marathon's worth of distance—over 42 km—on the surface of Mars. No other probe has travelled as far on the surface of another planet or moon. (The Soviet rover Lunokhod 2 travelled over 37 km on the surface of Earth's moon in 1973 before its radiators were accidentally covered in lunar dust and the electronics were irreparably damaged by overheating.)

  2. #12
    failed poetry slam career Array chubber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    New Horizons will fly by Pluto this summer, after its nine-year journey to get there. It will be the first time a probe has ever passed close to Pluto. As such it will be the first time relatively clear photographs will be taken of Pluto, and of its largest moon, Charon. Click here to help the New Horizons team name the geological features of Pluto and Charon!
    I had to laugh at the artist's representation of "What will we do when this: Pluto and Charon at the best resolution obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope"

    "looks more like this?"


    I for some reason thought that pluto looked like a nugget.
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  3. #13
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    Today's XKCD comic:
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    MESSENGER, the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging probe, ended its mission on Thursday (about 141 million km from Earth, and not represented in spaceprob.es's illustrations). It ran out of fuel and crashed on the surface of Mercury. Among its many discoveries about the planet Mercury was the presence of ice at the Mercurian north pole.


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    Evidence of briny water on Mars -- ScienceDaily

    Though the briny water on Mars may not support life, it does have implications for future manned missions that would need to create life-sustaining resources such as water and oxygen on the planet, Chevrier said. There is also the possibility that life once existed on ancient Mars.

    "We need to understand the earliest environment," he added. "What was happening 4 billion years ago?"

  6. #17
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    Sunset on April 15th, as taken by Curiosity.
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    ROSETTA’S LANDER PHILAE WAKES UP FROM HIBERNATION


    Rosetta's lander Philae is out of hibernation!

    The signals were received at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt at 22:28 CEST on 13 June. More than 300 data packets have been analysed by the teams at the Lander Control Center at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

    "Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35ºC and has 24 Watts available," explains DLR Philae Project Manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec. "The lander is ready for operations."

    For 85 seconds Philae "spoke" with its team on ground, via Rosetta, in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.

    ...

    Philae shut down on 15 November 2014 at 1:15 CET after being in operation on the comet for about 60 hours. Since 12 March 2015 the communication unit on orbiter Rosetta was turned on to listen out for the lander.
    Rosetta’s lander Philae wakes up from hibernation | Rosetta - ESA's comet chaser


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  8. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    New Horizons will fly by Pluto this summer, after its nine-year journey to get there. It will be the first time a probe has ever passed close to Pluto. As such it will be the first time relatively clear photographs will be taken of Pluto, and of its largest moon, Charon. Click here to help the New Horizons team name the geological features of Pluto and Charon!
    New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto tomorrow morning, about seven-and-a-half hours from now.

    Prior to New Horizons this was humanity's clearest photograph of Pluto ever taken, by the Hubble Space Telescope:


    This is New Horizons' photo of Pluto from a week ago:


    That was from about 8,000,000 km away from Pluto. Tomorrow it will be about 12,500 km (about one Earth diameter).
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  9. #20
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    New Horizons transmitted a signal back to Earth last night confirming it survived the trip past Pluto (its instruments were too busy collecting data to keep in constant contact with ground control). Over the next 16 months it will transmit the data it recorded in the fly-by—photographs in the visible, infrared and ultralight parts of the spectrum, atmospheric measurements, solar wind measurements—back to Earth at 1 kilobit per second.

    So far it has sent back the following black-and-white photograph:



    Pluto has mountains. Scientists were not expecting mountains. It raises all sorts of questions about the geology of Pluto and of many other celestial bodies too, particularly some of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune's moons. Pluto is an icy world, with a surface composed mostly of nitrogen 'ice'. It's cold, averaging between 30 and 55 K (-243 and -218 °c). If it's so cold how does it have the tectonics to form mountains the size of the Rockies? We'll have to wait and see what the rest of New Horizons's instruments have to say.
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