Tag: new horizons (page 1 of 2)

Sublunar Operations


The Resistance defines sublunar space as the space below the Moon orbit and above the orbit of the lowest man-made orbiting satellites.
The Light forces have begun sublunar operations today, as the next logical step towards the completion of MOSS.
Sublunar space was always a region of intense Chimera activity, as it is the last line of defense before the planetary surface.
There are may man-made satellites orbiting the Earth, and some of them double as Chimera plasma strangelet bomb implant stations:
The most important to mention is the proposed Manned Orbiting Laboratory:


This project was officially canceled in 1969, but in reality it went deep black and is still now the most important Chimera implant station. 
The second group of Chimera implant stations are some of the geostationary and geosynchronous satellites:
And the third group are some satellites in near Earth orbit (NEO), especially the Keyhole (KH) satellite group:
The sublunar space is constantly monitored for any sign of extraterrestrial contact by the Chimera, infiltrated into the US military:


And into the Chinese military also, through their proxy Henry Kissinger:
Sublunar operations will remove all Chimera presence, their implant stations and all plasma strangelet and toplet bombs from sublunar space. All parts of man-made satellites, directly related to Chimera operations (such as ion-plasma chambers, some high definition spy cameras, etc.) will soon become dysfunctional. 
It is a very interesting »coincidence« that sublunar operations have started on the same day that NASA's New Horizons space probe made its closest approach to Pluto and its moon Charon:
Fifteen years ago, Charon was the main exotic weapons warehouse for Chimera / Draco / Illuminati secret space programs. All this has been cleared by the Light forces a few years later. Now, Charon is the main portal between our Solar System and M 87 Galaxy in Virgo. Now, Charon is one of the most positive and beautiful places in the whole Solar System and will have a very important role in the liberation of our planet as one of the most important relay stations for the Event flash.
You can connect with the energy of Charon through this picture:




The Breakthrough is near!

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New Horizons Spacecraft Captures Image of Pluto & Tiny Moons

An artist's concept shows the moon view of the Pluto system.

Excerpt from cbc.ca



NASA's Pluto-bound spacecraft can now see the dwarf planet's two tiniest known moons — both less than 30 kilometres wide.
Kerberos (which is 10 to 30 kilometres wide) and Styx (which is seven to 21 kilometres) are seen circling Pluto, along with the slightly larger moons Hydra and Nix, in an animated series of "family photos" captured by the New Horizons spacecraft between April 25 and May 1, and released by NASA Tuesday.


Pluto and its four smallest moons can all be seen in this "family photo" captured by the New Horizons spacecraft on April 27.


space animated GIF

"New Horizons is now on the threshold of discovery," said mission science team member John Spencer, from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., in a statement. "If the spacecraft observes any additional moons as we get closer to Pluto, they will be worlds that no one has seen before."

New Horizons is scheduled to make a close flyby of Pluto and its moons on July 14.



At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft was 89 million kilometres away. The glare from Pluto and its largest moon Charon, along with the light of background stars, were damped out using image processing.

Kerberos and Styx were discovered using the Hubble telescope in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

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Pluto images reveal intriguing bright spot near pole

Excerpt from  latimes.comCheck out the best images yet of the dwarf planet Pluto.The moving images of Pluto and its Texas-sized moon Charon you see below were taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which has spent nine years on a high-speed j...

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‘God Particle’ analogue spotted outside a supercollider: Scientists find Higgs mode in a superconductor


The God Particle, which is believed to be responsible for all the mass in the universe, was discovered in 2012 using a Cern's supercollider. In this image two high-energy photons collide. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision, which helped lead to the discovery of the God particle
The God Particle, which is believed to be responsible for all the mass in the universe, was discovered in 2012 using a Cern's supercollider. In this image two high-energy photons collide. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision, which helped lead to the discovery of the God particle.


Excerpt from dailymail.co.uk
  • God Particle is believed to be responsible for all the mass in the universe
  • Particle was discovered in 2012 using a Cern's supercollider in Geneva
  • uperconductor experiment suggests the particle could be detected without the huge amounts of energy used at by the Large Hadron Collider
  • LHC is due to come back online next month after an upgrade that has given it a big boost in energy

Scientists have discovered a simulated version of the elusive 'God particle' using superconductors.

The God Particle, which is believed to be responsible for all the mass in the universe, was discovered in 2012 using a Cern's supercollider.

The superconductor experiment suggests that the Higgs particle could be detected without the huge amounts of energy used at by the Large Hadron Collider. 
The results could help scientists better understand how this mysterious particle – also known as the Higgs boson – behaves in different conditions.

'Just as the Cern experiments revealed the existence of the Higgs boson in a high-energy accelerator environment, we have now revealed a Higgs boson analogue in superconductors,' said researcher Aviad Frydman from Bar-Ilan University.

Superconductors are a type of metal that, when cooled to low temperatures, allow electrons to pass through freely.

'The Higgs mode was never actually observed in superconductors because of technical difficulties - difficulties that we've managed to overcome,' Professor Frydman said.

The superconductor experiment suggests that the Higgs particle could be detected without the huge amounts of energy used at by the Large Hadron Collider (pictured)
The superconductor experiment suggests that the Higgs particle could be detected without the huge amounts of energy used at by the Large Hadron Collider (pictured)

WHAT IS THE GOD PARTICLE? 

The 'God Particle', also known as the Higgs boson, was a missing piece in the jigsaw for physicists in trying to understand how the universe works.

Scientists believe that a fraction of a second after the Big Bang that gave birth to the universe, an invisible energy field, called the Higgs field, formed.

This has been described as a kind of 'cosmic treacle' across the universe. 

As particles passed through it, they picked up mass, giving them size and shape and allowing them to form the atoms that make up you, everything around you and everything in the universe.

This was the theory proposed in 1964 by former grammar school boy Professor Higgs that has now been confirmed.

Without the Higgs field particles would simply whizz around space in the same way as light does.

A boson is a type of sub-atomic particle. Every energy field has a specific particle that governs its interaction with what's around it. 

To try to pin it down, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva smashed together beams of protons – the 'hearts of atoms' – at close to the speed of light, recreating conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.

Although they would rapidly decay, they should have left a recognisable footprint. This footprint was found in 2012.

The main difficulty was that the superconducting material would decay into something known as particle-hole pairs.

Large amounts of energy – which are usually needed to excite the Higgs mode - tend to break apart the electron pairs that act as the material's charge.

Professor Frydman and his colleagues solved this problem by using ultra-thin superconducting films of Niobium Nitrite (NbN) and Indium Oxide (InO) as something known as the 'superconductor-insulator critical point.'

This is a state in which recent theory predicted the decay of the Higgs would no longer occur.

In this way, they could still excite a Higgs mode even at relatively low energies.

'The parallel phenomenon in superconductors occurs on a different energy scale entirely - just one-thousandth of a single electronvolt,' Professor Frydman added.

'What's exciting is to see how, even in these highly disparate systems, the same fundamental physics is at work.'

The different approach help solve one of the longstanding mysteries of fundamental physics.

The discovery of the Higgs boson verified the Standard Model, which predicted that particles gain mass by passing through a field that slows down their movement through the vacuum of space.

To try to pin it down, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva smashed together beams of protons – the 'hearts of atoms' – at close to the speed of light, recreating conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.

Although they would rapidly decay, the also left a recognisable footprint.

Professor Higgs, 83, has been waiting since 1964 for science to catch up with his ideas about the Higgs boson
Professor Higgs, 83, has been waiting since 1964 for science to catch up with his ideas about the Higgs boson

According to Professor Frydman, observation of the Higgs mechanism in superconductors is significant because it reveals how a single type of physical process behaves under different energy conditions.

'Exciting the Higgs mode in a particle accelerator requires enormous energy levels - measured in giga-electronvolts, or 109 eV,' Professor Frydman says.

'The parallel phenomenon in superconductors occurs on a different energy scale entirely - just one-thousandth of a single electronvolt.

'What's exciting is to see how, even in these highly disparate systems, the same fundamental physics is at work.'

The LHC is due to come back online in March after an upgrade that has given it a big boost in energy.

'With this new energy level, the (collider) will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries,' CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said in a statement.
'I'm looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us.'

Cern's collider is buried in a 27-km (17-mile) tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border at the foot of the Jura mountains.

The LHC in Geneva will come back online in March after an upgrade that has given it a big boost in energy
The LHC in Geneva will come back online in March after an upgrade that has given it a big boost in energy

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NASA Spacecraft Begins 1st Ever Approach To Pluto





Excerpt from 
sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Man is about to reach closer to Pluto than ever before as the NASA New Horizons spacecraft begins the first of several approach phases toward the dwarf planet at the edge of our solar system.

When the mission was in the planning phases, Pluto was still considered a planet, but in 2006 it was reclassified as a dwarf planet. That same year, the New Horizons spacecraft blasted off as the fastest ever, shooting out off on a 4.6 billion mile journey to the distant sphere.


The piano-size New Horizons craft was in a hibernation phase as it traveled the first 3 billion miles toward Pluto. It woke up last month and is now getting ready for the first photo shoot.

“NASA first mission to distant Pluto will also be humankind’s first close up view of this cold, unexplored world in our solar system,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington.

Beginning January 25th, the probe will begin snapping photos of Pluto, which is the 10th largest celestial body orbiting our sun.
The later stages of approach will require steering the craft closer to Pluto by using photo information to steer around five known moons and other potential perils.

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The Future of Technology in 2015?




Excerpt from
cnet.com


The year gone by brought us more robots, worries about artificial intelligence, and difficult lessons on space travel. The big question: where's it all taking us?

Every year, we capture a little bit more of the future -- and yet the future insists on staying ever out of reach.
Consider space travel. Humans have been traveling beyond the atmosphere for more than 50 years now -- but aside from a few overnights on the moon four decades ago, we have yet to venture beyond low Earth orbit.
Or robots. They help build our cars and clean our kitchen floors, but no one would mistake a Kuka or a Roomba for the replicants in "Blade Runner." Siri, Cortana and Alexa, meanwhile, are bringing some personality to the gadgets in our pockets and our houses. Still, that's a long way from HAL or that lad David from the movie "A.I. Artificial Intelligence."
Self-driving cars? Still in low gear, and carrying some bureaucratic baggage that prevents them from ditching certain technology of yesteryear, like steering wheels.
And even when these sci-fi things arrive, will we embrace them? A Pew study earlier this year found that Americans are decidedly undecided. Among the poll respondents, 48 percent said they would like to take a ride in a driverless car, but 50 percent would not. And only 3 percent said they would like to own one.
"Despite their general optimism about the long-term impact of technological change," Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Center wrote in the report, "Americans express significant reservations about some of these potentially short-term developments" such as US airspace being opened to personal drones, robot caregivers for the elderly or wearable or implantable computing devices that would feed them information.
Let's take a look at how much of the future we grasped in 2014 and what we could gain in 2015.

Space travel: 'Space flight is hard'

In 2014, earthlings scored an unprecedented achievement in space exploration when the European Space Agency landed a spacecraft on a speeding comet, with the potential to learn more about the origins of life. No, Bruce Willis wasn't aboard. Nobody was. But when the 220-pound Philae lander, carried to its destination by the Rosetta orbiter, touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12, some 300 million miles from Earth, the celebration was well-earned.
A shadow quickly fell on the jubilation, however. Philae could not stick its first landing, bouncing into a darker corner of the comet where its solar panels would not receive enough sunlight to charge the lander's batteries. After two days and just a handful of initial readings sent home, it shut down. For good? Backers have allowed for a ray of hope as the comet passes closer to the sun in 2015. "I think within the team there is no doubt that [Philae] will wake up," lead lander scientist Jean-Pierre Bibring said in December. "And the question is OK, in what shape? My suspicion is we'll be in good shape."
The trip for NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has been much longer: 3 billion miles, all the way to Pluto and the edge of the solar system. Almost nine years after it left Earth, New Horizons in early December came out of hibernation to begin its mission: to explore "a new class of planets we've never seen, in a place we've never been before," said project scientist Hal Weaver. In January, it will begin taking photos and readings of Pluto, and by mid-July, when it swoops closest to Pluto, it will have sent back detailed information about the dwarf planet and its moon, en route to even deeper space.


Also in December, NASA made a first test spaceflight of its Orion capsule on a quick morning jaunt out and back, to just over 3,600 miles above Earth (or approximately 15 times higher than the International Space Station). The distance was trivial compared to those those traveled by Rosetta and New Horizons, and crewed missions won't begin till 2021, but the ambitions are great -- in the 2030s, Orion is expected to carry humans to Mars.
In late March 2015, two humans will head to the ISS to take up residence for a full year, in what would be a record sleepover in orbit. "If a mission to Mars is going to take a three-year round trip," said NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will be joined in the effort by Russia's Mikhail Kornienko, "we need to know better how our body and our physiology performs over durations longer than what we've previously on the space station investigated, which is six months."
There were more sobering moments, too, in 2014. In October, Virgin Galactic's sleek, experimental SpaceShipTwo, designed to carry deep-pocketed tourists into space, crashed in the Mojave Desert during a test flight, killing one test pilot and injuring the other. Virgin founder Richard Branson had hoped his vessel would make its first commercial flight by the end of this year or in early 2015, and what comes next remains to be seen. Branson, though, expressed optimism: "Space flight is hard -- but worth it," he said in a blog post shortly after the crash, and in a press conference, he vowed "We'll learn from this, and move forward together." Virgin Galactic could begin testing its next spaceship as soon as early 2015.
The crash of SpaceShipTwo came just a few days after the explosion of an Orbital Sciences rocket lofting an unmanned spacecraft with supplies bound for the International Space Station. And in July, Elon Musk's SpaceX had suffered the loss of one of its Falcon 9 rockets during a test flight. Musk intoned, via Twitter, that "rockets are tricky..."
Still, it was on the whole a good year for SpaceX. In May, it unveiled its first manned spacecraft, the Dragon V2, intended for trips to and from the space station, and in September, it won a $2.6 billion contract from NASA to become one of the first private companies (the other being Boeing) to ferry astronauts to the ISS, beginning as early as 2017. Oh, and SpaceX also has plans to launch microsatellites to establish low-cost Internet service around the globe, saying in November to expect an announcement about that in two to three months -- that is, early in 2015.
One more thing to watch for next year: another launch of the super-secret X-37B space place to do whatever it does during its marathon trips into orbit. The third spaceflight of an X-37B -- a robotic vehicle that, at 29 feet in length, looks like a miniature space shuttle -- ended in October after an astonishing 22 months circling the Earth, conducting "on-orbit experiments."

Self-driving cars: Asleep at what wheel?

Spacecraft aren't the only vehicles capable of autonomous travel -- increasingly, cars are, too. Automakers are toiling toward self-driving cars, and Elon Musk -- whose name comes up again and again when we talk about the near horizon for sci-fi tech -- says we're less than a decade away from capturing that aspect of the future. In October, speaking in his guise as founder of Tesla Motors, Musk said: "Like maybe five or six years from now I think we'll be able to achieve true autonomous driving where you could literally get in the car, go to sleep and wake up at your destination." (He also allowed that we should tack on a few years after that before government regulators give that technology their blessing.)
Prototype, unbound: Google's ride of the future, as it looks today Google
That comment came as Musk unveiled a new autopilot feature -- characterizing it as a sort of super cruise control, rather than actual autonomy -- for Tesla's existing line of electric cars. Every Model S manufactured since late September includes new sensor hardware to enable those autopilot capabilities (such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and automated parking), to be followed by an over-the-air software update to enable those features.
Google has long been working on its own robo-cars, and until this year, that meant taking existing models -- a Prius here, a Lexus there -- and buckling on extraneous gear. Then in May, the tech titan took the wraps off a completely new prototype that it had built from scratch. (In December, it showed off the first fully functional prototype.) It looked rather like a cartoon car, but the real news was that there was no steering wheel, gas pedal or brake pedal -- no need for human controls when software and sensors are there to do the work.
Or not so fast. In August, California's Department of Motor Vehicles declared that Google's test vehicles will need those manual controls after all -- for safety's sake. The company agreed to comply with the state's rules, which went into effect in September, when it began testing the cars on private roads in October.
Regardless of who's making your future robo-car, the vehicle is going to have to be not just smart, but actually thoughtful. It's not enough for the car to know how far it is from nearby cars or what the road conditions are. The machine may well have to make no-win decisions, just as human drivers sometimes do in instantaneous, life-and-death emergencies. "The car is calculating a lot of consequences of its actions," Chris Gerdes, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, said at the Web Summit conference in Dublin, Ireland, in November. "Should it hit the person without a helmet? The larger car or the smaller car?"

Robots: Legging it out

So when do the robots finally become our overlords? Probably not in 2015, but there's sure to be more hand-wringing about both the machines and the artificial intelligence that could -- someday -- make them a match for homo sapiens. At the moment, the threat seems more mundane: when do we lose our jobs to a robot?
The inquisitive folks at Pew took that very topic to nearly 1,900 experts, including Vint Cerf, vice president at Google; Web guru Tim Bray; Justin Reich of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society; and Jonathan Grudin, principal researcher at Microsoft. According to the resulting report, published in August, the group was almost evenly split -- 48 percent thought it likely that, by 2025, robots and digital agents will have displaced significant numbers of blue- and white-collar workers, perhaps even to the point of breakdowns in the social order, while 52 percent "have faith that human ingenuity will create new jobs, industries, and ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution."


Still, for all of the startling skills that robots have acquired so far, they're often not all there yet. Here's some of what we saw from the robot world in 2014:
Teamwork: Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne in May showed off their "Roombots," cog-like robotic balls that can join forces to, say, help a table move across a room or change its height.
A sense of balance: We don't know if Boston Dynamics' humanoid Atlas is ready to trim bonsai trees, but it has learned this much from "The Karate Kid" (the original from the 1980s) -- it can stand on cinder blocks and hold its balance in a crane stance while moving its arms up and down.
Catlike jumps: MIT's cheetah-bot gets higher marks for locomotion. Fed a new algorithm, it can run across a lawn and bound like a cat. And quietly, too. "Our robot can be silent and as efficient as animals. The only things you hear are the feet hitting the ground," MIT's Sangbae Kim, a professor of mechanical engineering, told MIT News. "This is kind of a new paradigm where we're controlling force in a highly dynamic situation. Any legged robot should be able to do this in the future."
Sign language: Toshiba's humanoid Aiko Chihira communicated in Japanese sign language at the CEATEC show in October. Her rudimentary skills, limited for the moment to simple messages such as signed greetings, are expected to blossom by 2020 into areas such as speech synthesis and speech recognition.
Dance skills: Robotic pole dancers? Tobit Software brought a pair, controllable by an Android smartphone, to the Cebit trade show in Germany in March. More lifelike was the animatronic sculpture at a gallery in New York that same month -- but what was up with that witch mask?
Emotional ambition: Eventually, we'll all have humanoid companions -- at least, that's always been one school of thought on our robotic future. One early candidate for that honor could be Pepper, from Softbank and Aldebaran Robotics, which say the 4-foot-tall Pepper is the first robot to read emotions. This emo-bot is expected to go on sale in Japan in February.

Ray guns: Ship shape

Damn the photon torpedoes, and full speed ahead. That could be the motto for the US Navy, which in 2014 deployed a prototype laser weapon -- just one -- aboard a vessel in the Persian Gulf. Through some three months of testing, the device "locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality," Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement. Those targets were rather modest -- small objects mounted aboard a speeding small boat, a diminutive Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle, and so on -- but the point was made: the laser weapon, operated by a controller like those used for video games, held up well, even in adverse conditions.

Artificial intelligence: Danger, Will Robinson?

What happens when robots and other smart machines can not only do, but also think? Will they appreciate us for all our quirky human high and low points, and learn to live with us? Or do they take a hard look at a species that's run its course and either turn us into natural resources, "Matrix"-style, or rain down destruction?
laser-weapon-system-on-uss-ponce.jpg
When the machines take over, will they be packing laser weapons like this one the US Navy just tried out? John F. Williams/US Navy
As we look ahead to the reboot of the "Terminator" film franchise in 2015, we can't help but recall some of the dire thoughts about artificial intelligence from two people high in the tech pantheon, the very busy Musk and the theoretically inclined Stephen Hawking.
Musk himself more than once in 2014 invoked the likes of the "Terminator" movies and the "scary outcomes" that make them such thrilling popcorn fare. Except that he sees a potentially scary reality evolving. In an interview with CNBC in June, he spoke of his investment in AI-minded companies like Vicarious and Deep Mind, saying: "I like to just keep an eye on what's going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome."
He has put his anxieties into some particularly colorful phrases. In August, for instance, Musk tweeted that AI is "potentially more dangerous than nukes." And in October, he said this at a symposium at MIT: "With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. ... You know all those stories where there's the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he's like... yeah, he's sure he can control the demon, [but] it doesn't work out."
Musk has a kindred spirit in Stephen Hawking. The physicist allowed in May that AI could be the "biggest event in human history," and not necessarily in a good way. A month later, he was telling John Oliver, on HBO's "Last Week Tonight," that "artificial intelligence could be a real danger in the not too distant future." How so? "It could design improvements to itself and outsmart us all."
But Google's Eric Schmidt, is having none of that pessimism. At a summit on innovation in December, the executive chairman of the far-thinking tech titan -- which in October teamed up with Oxford University to speed up research on artificial intelligence -- said that while our worries may be natural, "they're also misguided."

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NASA: Nearly 3 billion miles away, a space probe awakes



NASA's New Horizons space probe has successfully woken up from hibernation as it closes in on Pluto and its satellites.

Excerpt from csmonitor.com

NASA’s fastest space probe ever launched to the outer Solar System, New Horizons, has woken successfully from hibernation as it closes in on target Pluto.

Mission controllers confirmed early today that the spacecraft had switched to active mode, in preparation for its fly past the former planet and its moons on 14 July, 2015.

It took four hours and 26 minutes for the signal to travel more than 2.9 billion miles (4.7 billion km) back to Earth to confirm that the probe was alive. It was picked up by NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia. 

After a nine year voyage, this is the farthest any space mission has traveled to reach its primary target.

Operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory confirmed at 9:53 p.m. (EST) ) 02:53 (UTC) that New Horizons, had switched from hibernation to active mode, as its pre-programmed computer commands instructed.

Launched on January 19, 2006, New Horizons has spent about two-thirds of its flight time, 1,873 days, in hibernation.
During hibernation mode, much of the New Horizons spacecraft was unpowered. The onboard flight computer monitored system health and broadcast a weekly beacon-status tone back to Earth. 

As part of the wake-up, NASA broadcast a special version of Where My Heart Will Take Me, by English tenor Russell Watson, which included a greeting to New Horizons from the singer.
The next few weeks will be used to check that the spacecraft's systems and science instruments are operating properly, and to build and test the computer-command sequences that will guide New Horizons through its flight to and reconnaissance of the Pluto system. 

“New Horizons is on a journey to a new class of planets we’ve never seen, in a place we’ve never been before,” said New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of APL. “For decades we thought Pluto was this odd little body on the planetary outskirts; now we know it’s really a gateway to an entire region of new worlds in the Kuiper Belt, and New Horizons is going to provide the first close-up look at them.”

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Sleepy space probe New Horizons awakens for close-up with Pluto

Excerpt from (CNN) -- Three billion miles away from Earth, in an unchartered slice of our solar system, a small space probe is shaking off its deep sleep and getting ready to become the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moons.It's the "beginni...

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It’s Alive! NASA’s New Horizons Pluto Probe ‘Wakes Up’ for Work


View image on Twitter


Excerpt from nbcnews.com
By Alan Boyle
The first signals were received at the mission's control center at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland via a giant radio antenna in Australia just before 9:30 p.m. ET, nearly four and a half hours after it was sent by the piano-sized probe. It takes that long for signals to travel between there and here at the speed of light. 

Later readings confirmed that New Horizons was fully awake.
New Horizons has been spending about two-thirds of the time since its launch in 2006 in hibernation, to save on electronic wear and tear as well as operational costs. Every few months, the spacecraft's systems have been roused to wakefulness for a checkup, or for photo ops such as its Jupiter flyby in 2007. 

The probe also has been sending weekly blips known as "green beacons" — to let the mission team know it's not dead, but only sleeping. 

From now on, New Horizons will remain awake continuously through its Bastille Day flyby of Pluto and its moons next July 14. After a few weeks of preparation, the probe's instruments will start making long-range observations on Jan. 15. 

The spacecraft is currently about 162 million miles away from Pluto, but as that distance shrinks, the observations will get better and better. By next May, New Horizons' images of Pluto should be sharper than the best pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. And in July, the probe may catch sight of the clouds and ice volcanoes that scientists suspect may exist on the dwarf planet. 

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After Pluto, What’s Next for New Horizons Spacecraft?



NASA's New Horizons space probe is set to zoom by Pluto next summer. Where should it go after that?

Excerpt from
csmonitor.com

A NASA spacecraft may have another frigid object in its sights after zooming past Pluto next summer.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted three faraway bodies that the New Horizons probe could potentially visit after completing its highly anticipated flyby of the Pluto system in July 2015. One of these newly identified objects is definitely reachable, researchers said, while further tracking is required to determine if the other two are indeed accessible.

The $700 million New Horizons mission launched in 2006 with the primary goal of returning the first-ever up-close looks at Pluto and its moons. But Stern and his colleagues have always wanted the probe to fly by another object in the Kuiper Belt — the ring of frigid bodies beyond Neptune — after the Pluto encounter.

An additional flyby would increase researchers' knowledge of the mysterious Kuiper Belt, mission team members say. Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) have never been "heat-treated" by the sun, so they're viewed as relatively pristine building blocks left over from the solar system's formation 4.6 billion years ago.

Analysis of Hubble's data turned up the three new KBOs, which are each 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto and range in size from 15 to 34 miles wide (25 to 55 km). The KBOs are each about 10 times bigger than a typical comet but just 1 to 2 percent as big as Pluto, researchers said.

"We started to get worried that we could not find anything suitable, even with Hubble, but in the end the space telescope came to the rescue," said New Horizons science team member John Spencer, also of SwRI. "There was a huge sigh of relief when we found suitable KBOs; we are over the moon about this detection."

The additional flyby would likely occur in 2019, he added — but there's no guarantee it will happen.

"In 2016, we need to propose to NASA to get permission (and funding) to fly the KBO mission," he said via email.

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Hubble Survey Spots Two New Objects Beyond Pluto


Excerpt from

news.discovery.com

Scientists looking for targets beyond Pluto for NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft to visit will get more time on the Hubble Space Telescope, managers decided after a two-week pilot study revealed at least two candidate objects.

The New Horizons team had spent three fruitless years using ground-based telescopes to find a Kuiper Belt Object that will be within range of New Horizons after its July 14, 2015, flyby of Pluto. Last month, scientists got two weeks of observing time on Hubble for initial scans.

The deal was that if they found at least two candidates, they could have another 160 orbits worth of telescope time to ferret out a second suitable target for New Horizons...

The Kuiper Belt is an area of icy bodies left over from the formation of the solar system...

Analysis of an initial 200 Hubble images, taken between June 16 and June 26, showed that at least two Kuiper Belt Objects might be within range of New Horizons...


A more detailed search is scheduled to begin this month and conclude in August.

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NASA spacecraft en route to historic look at mysterious Pluto

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this view of the planet Neptune and its large moon Triton on July 10, from a distance of about 2.45 billion miles,  more than 26 times the distance between the Earth and sun.  New Horizons traversed ...

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A History of Curious Artifacts Sent Into Space



The Florida State Quarter dispatched with New Horizons. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Rodgers, JHU/APL.
The Florida State Quarter dispatched with New Horizons. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Rodgers, JHU/APL.

universetoday.com 

Since the dawn of the Space Age in 1957, thousands of artifacts and memorabilia have been flown into space. Some have been hoisted on brief suborbital flights, while others have been flung out of the solar system, never to return. And of course, it’s become a fashionable — and highly commercialized — trend as of late to briefly loft products, stuffed animals, etc via balloon towards the tenuous boundary of space. Fly a souvenir or artifact into orbit, and it goes from mundane to priceless. But a few may also serve as a final testament to the our ephemeral existence as a species long after our passing. 

Here’s a look at some of the most memorable objects sent into space:

New Horizons Memorabilia
Launched on January 19th, 2006, New Horizons is headed towards a historic encounter with Pluto and its moons next year. From there, New Horizons will survey any Kuiper Belt objects of opportunity along its path and then head out of the solar system, becoming the fifth spacecraft to do so. In addition to a suite of scientific instruments, New Horizons also carries the ashes of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh, a Florida & Maryland state quarter, a piece of Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne, and an American flag. These will doubtless confuse any extraterrestrial salvagers!
The Humanoids Where Here: the plaque affixed the the Pioneer 10 & 11 spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL.
The Humanoids Where Here: the plaque affixed to the Pioneer 10 & 11 spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL.


The Pioneer Plaques
The first spacecraft sent on escape trajectories out of our solar system, the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft each carry a plaque which serves as a sort of postcard “greeting” to any future interceptors. The plaque depicts a diagram of the solar system, a map of our location in the galaxy using the positions of known pulsars, and a nude man & woman, which actually generated lots of controversy.  Scientist James Van Allen tells of deliberately placing a fingerprint on the Pioneer 10 plaque in his biography The First Eight Billion Miles.
Earth's Greatest Hits: the Golden Record attached to the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL.
Earth’s Greatest Hits: the Golden Record attached to the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL.


The Voyager 1 and 2 Golden Records
Conceived and designed in part by Carl Sagan, these records contain images and sounds of the Earth that’ll most likely outlive humanity. The records carry greetings in 55 languages, music ranging from Mozart to Chuck Berry, 116 images and more, along with instructions and a stylus for playback.  The record is also enclosed in an aluminum cover electroplated with Uranium-238, which an alien civilization could use to date its manufacture via half-life decay.
A closeup of the "Mars Penny." Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
A closeup of the “Mars Penny.” Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


The Mars Curiosity Penny
Strange but true: The Mars rover Curiosity carries a 1909 U.S. Penny for a backup camera calibration target.  The penny itself is embedded just below the primary color calibration targets used by Curiosity’s MArs Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Rare enough on Earth, the 1909 Lincoln “Mars penny” will be priceless to future collectors!
Jupiter-bound figurines from left: Jupiter, Juno, & Galileo. Credit: NASA.
Jupiter-bound figurines from left: Jupiter, Juno, & Galileo. Credit: NASA.


Juno’s LEGO Figurines
Mini-figurines of Galileo and the Roman deities Jupiter and Juno were launched in 2011 aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft en route to Jupiter . LEGO has flown products aboard the U.S. Space Shuttles and to the International Space Station previously, but Juno’s cargo represents the “most distant LEGO launch” ever. The figurines will burn up in Jupiter’s atmosphere along with the spacecraft at the end of the mission in October 2017.
An Apollo 15 postal cover flown to the Moon. Credit: NASA.
An Apollo 15 postal cover flown to the Moon. Credit: NASA.


Apollo 15 Postal Covers Fiasco
Apollo 15 astronauts got in some hot water over a publicity scheme. The idea that stamp collector and dealer Hermann Sieger approached the astronauts with was simple: 400 commemorative postage stamp covers would be postmarked at point of departure from the Kennedy Space Center and again at the return point of arrival aboard the USS Okinawa after their circuitous journey via the Moon. NASA was less than happy with the whole affair, and Command Module Pilot Al Worden recounts the aftermath in his book, Falling to Earth.
A Marsbound DVD... Courtesy of Lockheed Martin/LSP.
A Marsbound DVD… Courtesy of Lockheed Martin/LSP.


Haiku for MAVEN
Last year’s MAVEN mission to Mars also carried haiku submitted by space fans.  Over 12,530 valid entries were submitted and over 1,100 haiku received the necessary minimum of two votes to be included on a DVD disk affixed to the spacecraft. MAVEN reaches orbit around Mars in October 2014.
The copy of the Soviet pennant aboard Luna 2on display at the Kansas Cosmoshpere. Credit: Patrick Pelletier under a Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
The copy of the Soviet pennant aboard Luna 2 on display at the Kansas Cosmoshpere. Credit: Patrick Pelletier 

Luna 2: A Russian Pennant on Moon
On September 12th, 1959, the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 spacecraft became the first man-made object to impact the Moon. Luna 2 carried two spherical “pennants” composed of pentagon-shaped elements engraved with the USSR Coat of Arms and Cyrillic letters translating into “CCCP/USSR September 1959.” An identical pennant is now on display in the Kansas Cosmosphere.
EchoStar XVI in its clean room. Credit: Space Systems Loral.
EchoStar XVI in its clean room. Credit: Space Systems Loral.


A GeoSat Time Capsule Aboard EchoStar XVI
A disk entitled Last Pictures similar to the Voyager records was placed on a satellite headed to geosynchronous orbit in 2012. Launched aboard EchoStar XVI, Last Pictures is an ultra-archival disk containing 100 snapshots of modern life along with interviews with several 21st century artists and scientists.  Geosynchronous satellites aren’t subject to atmospheric drag,  and may be the last testament to the existence of humanity on Earth millions of years hence.
An artist's conception of NASA's Lunar Prospector mission leaving Earth orbit. Credit: NASA.
An artist’s conception of NASA’s Lunar Prospector mission leaving Earth orbit. Credit: NASA.


Lunar Prospector Carries An Astro-Geologist’s Ashes to the Moon
Though he never made the selection to become an astronaut, scientist Eugene Shoemaker did make a posthumous trip to the Moon.  The Lunar Prospector spacecraft departed Earth with Shoemaker’s ashes on January 7th, 1998 in a capsule wrapped in brass foil. Lunar Prospector impacted the south pole of the Moon on July 31st, 1999.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule on approach to the ISS during the COTS 2 mission. Credit: NASA.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule on approach to the ISS during the COTS 2 mission. Credit: NASA.


SpaceX Takes Star Trek Actor to Space
The ashes actor James Doohan (AKA Scotty) were launched aboard a 2012 SpaceX flight to the International Space Station. The COTS Demo Flight, or COTS 2, was the first commercial spacecraft to berth at the ISS. SpaceX had flown a small amount of Doohan’s ashes on the 2008 unsuccessful test launch of the Falcon 1 rocket.
The "Top Secret Payload" of  Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX.
The “Top Secret Payload” of the Dragon capsule revealed. Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX.


Cheese Wheel Makes a Suborbital Journey
All eyes were also on SpaceX during their December 8th 2010 maiden flight of the Dragon space capsule. And the hinted mystery cargo? None other than a wheel of cheese, a nod by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to a classic Monty Python sketch.
The Apollo 12 “Moon Museum”
Did it really go into space? One of the legends surrounding the Apollo program is the existence of what’s been dubbed the “Moon Museum.”  This was a postage stamp-sized “gallery” of art which included a sketch by Andy Warhol and other 1960s artists that was supposedly attached to descent stage of Apollo 12 and left on the Moon.  It will be up to future lunar visitors to confirm or deny its existence!
…And lastly, I give you the “Space Hubcap”
Was the first man-made object propelled into space actually a 1 ton armor plate? On August 27th, 1957 — just two months prior to Sputnik 1 — the Pascal-B underground nuclear test was conducted in southern Nevada.  During the explosion, a steel plate cap was blasted off of a test shaft. The plate could be seen in the initial high-speed video frames, and it was estimated to have reached a speed six times the sufficient escape velocity to depart Earth. To this day, no one knows if this strange artifact of early Space Age folklore still roams the void of space, or simply vaporized due to atmospheric compression at “launch”.

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