Tag Archives: New Horizons

A Comet, an Asteroid, and a KBO

The ESA’s Rosetta and Philae observe a comet
The ESA’s Rosetta has been sending home images of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, AKA the Rubber Ducky. The odd shape of the comet was quite a surprise to scientists, and a hurdle for the landing of Philae.

Rosetta_s_comet_node_full_image_2“By using high-resolution images taken between 6 August 2014 and 17 March 2015 to study the layers of material seen all over the nucleus, they have shown that the shape arose from a low-speed collision between two fully fledged, separately formed comets. “

READ More about the shaping of the Rubber Ducky
Approaching_perihelion_AnimationAt perihelion, it is estimated that Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, was spewing out up to 300 kg of water vapour & 1000 kg of dust per second.
READ More about Rosetta at  perihelion
 NASA’s Dawn reveals more about our largest asteroid, Ceres.
Ceres
Click to view larger image.
New Horizons to image a KBO  (Maybe)
The next  flyby will explore an ancient, intermediate-size Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) called 2014 MU69

BUT

“This flyby is contingent on NASA approving and funding a 4-year extension to the New Horizons mission — a decision planned for late summer 2016 (about when the last of our Pluto data reaches Earth)”

READ More about this mission’s goals

Postcards from Pluto

The downloading of images from the New Horizons spacecraft began over the Labour Day weekend.

The detail is incredible, click on this image of Charon. you won’t believe the resolution.  The smallest visible charon-9-10-15feature is just a bit under 5km in size.

” Images downlinked in the past few days have more than doubled the amount of Pluto’s surface seen at resolutions as good as 400 meters (440 yards) per pixel. They reveal new features as diverse as possible dunes, nitrogen ice flows that apparently oozed out of mountainous regions onto plains, and even networks of valleys that may have been carved by material flowing over Pluto’s surface. They also show large regions that display chaotically jumbled mountains reminiscent of disrupted terrains on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.”

Read the rest of the article, view the images:

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150910