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    • Passport To Pluto

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      Of all the planets in the Universe, it is apparently only Pluto that remains unexplored. Now that it has been downgraded from being considered a planet, NASA is setting its sights on a mission to this site.

      The mission is the most ambitious to date and actually involves seventeen years of planning (and counting). NASA is reportedly going to use its most powerful rocket ship for this. It’s also considered the fastest rocket that will be launched in outer space.

      The mission is dubbed “New Horizons” and if all will be well, this is expected to culminate in the year 2015. As of February of 2012, the space craft’s distance from was measured at 10 AU.

      Originally, New Horizons was supposed to go on a mission to see if there were any unexplored planets around us. It was launched in 2006, when Pluto was still regarded as a planet and is now called a dwarf.  On its launched it quickly sent photos of Pluto and its moon, the Chiron to  NASA.

      What will the New Horizons bring to us from beyond million miles away? Will the discoveries be enough to consider Pluto a planet, yet again?

      please share:
      Published on October 31, 2009 · Filed under: Astronomy, Space
    • surveyork

      >Pluto and its giant moon Sharon

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charon_%28moon%29

    • DK McGreeb

      To declassify Pluto and Charon as a planet with a moon is rediculous, especially with it actually having atleast 3 moons through recent data. I was very disappointed when it was officially 'downgraded' but to see here that they are classed as ice dwarves which are classes as dwarf planets I take small consolation in the sense they are still somewhat recognised as planets. Still, though, it is a crying shame they have been defiled by idiocracy, it's as if even the mighty depths of space are ruined by humans. Ignoramous 'scientists' should have no part in planetary matters, only the most logical and skilled should be allowed into this profession.

    • Haricots

      That was some harsh words DK McGreeb.
      I'm almost tempted to assume that you were joking.

      If you are not just joking, then you must prefer that we added a lot of other planetoids to the list of planets. I believe is in the order of 3 other bodies that have about the same properties as pluto but have not been classified as planets. And a lot more will be found in the future.
      The requirement for planets to gravitationally dominate it's orbit seems reasonable to me, especially considering the process that forms planets. Pluto is not gravitationally dominating its orbit, it's filled with other bodies comparable in size to Pluto.

    • DK McGreeb

      Haricots what are you talking about, firstly I wasn't joking at all and secondly it has the same fundamental principles of any other planet in our solar system barring a round orbit.
      It houses it's own satellites and is in a clear orbit around a star, this makes it a planet and the satellites moons, it is a rediculous notion that simply because people can't comprehend the amount of them they decide they are lesser planets due to their "size".
      May I add also to the point of a non-round orbit I mentioned, many 'super' gas giants in different solar systems within our own galaxy have ovular orbits but this doesn't mean they are any less planet-like.
      If we found a planet with a moon in the asteroid belt (purely example only) would we decide, because it's surrounded by similar sized debris, that it isn't a planet? I'd hope not.

    • Haricots

      I said nothing about the form of the orbit, just how much junk is accompanying them in their orbit.
      Pluto is in the Kuiper Belt along with other dwarf planets such as Haumea and Makemake. So in no way does it gravitationally dominate its orbit.
      There is no clear reason why Pluto would be a planet and not other objects in the Kuiper Belt. Pluto is just another object in this very crowded orbit. No planet is in this situation, they all dominate their orbit with no other objects (moons not included) relative in size to them.

      You do not address this point, in fact, you do not even seem to comprehend it.

    • Jack Kebek

      I fully second this Haricots.

      It seems some like to argue for the sole sake of arguing.
      The vast majority of Astronomers decided Pluto is no longer a planet, they certainly know much better than us what a planet is supposed to be.

    • DK McGreeb

      I didn't say you mentioned the orbit, if you look closer you will see I stated that it was a point I mentioned.
      You can say in a sense I can't comprehend it, I know exactly what you're talking about but I can't comprehend the rationality, or therefore lack of, in the made decision.
      The only reason this works is because they've changed the definition of planet to suit their needs.
      This is a documentary site so I don't particularly want to argue with you but we aren't going to be agreeing here so we may aswell leave it.
      You seem intelligent enough so I can't imagine it but see it as you've won if you want.

    • Jack kebek

      You say :"The only reason this works is because they've changed the definition of planet to suit their needs."

      Planets remain planets! Pluto just happens to be in a different category of "objects". Naming it a planet to begin with was a misconception because when Pluto was discovered, no one even suspected the existence of the Kuiper Belt.

      It's now been determined that the Pluto/Charon couple belongs to the Kuiper Belt.

      A mistake has been corrected and that's all what it is. What I don't understand is why people have to make such a fuss about it.

    • DK McGreeb

      Giving it alot of thought, it does actually make sense when I think about it more and more. Over the years, especially the last few months, I've come to notice how strongly people refuse to let go of certain things, most people probably just don't want to give up their old ways of thinking which I think is what the issue is for me.
      Such refusals throughout history have shown only bad consequences, religion being a prime example.
      Taking this into consideration I think I can really agree with the decision. Strange I should realise that by arguing against it :/

    • Jack Kebek

      Been there, done that.

      Not strange at all DK, it's only "Human" ;^)

    • The statement that "the vast majority of astronomers decided Pluto is no longer a planet is patently false. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. Pluto is a planet because it is spherical, meaning it is large enough to be pulled into a round shape by its own gravity–a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids held together by chemical bonds. These reasons are why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned.

      Classifying Pluto as a planet was never a mistake. It is both a planet and a Kuiper Belt Object, a planet because it is in a state of hydrostatic equilibrium, large enough to be rounded by its own gravity, but of the dwarf subcategory because it does not gravitationally dominate its orbit. The error is in thinking we have only two classes of planets, terrestrials and gas giants. Dwarf planets constitute a third class of planets, and if that means our solar system has hundreds of planets, so be it.