New Horizons!

Biretta tip to APOD, this comes from NASA:

NASA’s New Horizons – the fastest spacecraft ever created – will speed past Pluto on July 14, 2015, beaming back high resolution photos (and invaluable data) of the dwarf planet’s surface for the first time in human history.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:


  2. Cafea Fruor says:

    Wait, I thought they demoted Pluto from planet status in the last few years. Or is it a planet again?

  3. Veritatis Splendor says:

    It is a dwarf planet. It crosses Neptune’s orbit for a couple of decades every few hundred years, so it cannot be a planet, even though it fulfills all the other requirements, so they made a new catagory to cover Pluto, Ceres, and other planetoids that are not quite full planets.

  4. Uxixu says:

    The Brontosaurus “came back” as a dinosaur… so could Pluto as a planet. Most science requires more than a couple decades of trendyism to take root.

  5. iamlucky13 says:

    “Wait, I thought they demoted Pluto from planet status in the last few years. Or is it a planet again?”

    Pluto’s classification as a planet or a dwarf planet is completely irrelevant to the New Horizon’s mission. Labeling is not science, but mere book-keeping. Pluto, for its part, shed no tears at the supposed “demotion.”

    It’s is one of numerous large bodies in our solar system, and potentially representative of an entire category of objects we’ve never studied up close before. Therefore, it was worth studying.

  6. The Masked Chicken says:

    Pluto is a member of the Plutoids (sounds like a soft rock band). As a Kuiper Belt object, it is one of many thousands of orbiting bodies – and not even the biggest one. It may be representative of other Kuiper Belt objects, so it is important to see it. Still, I sniff and tear up at having only eight planets. There was a time when it was thought that there was a hypothetical ninth planet that perturbed Neptune’s orbit and for a long time we thought it was Pluto, but more recent data shows that the perturbations in Neptune’s orbit were observational/data error, so there never was a need for Pluto. It got discovered for the wrong reasons. Still, it was a nice accident, because it would, eventually expose the Kuiper Belt and the Kuiper Cliff (where the Kuiper Belt objects, suddenly, fall of in number very rapidly).

    The Chicken

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