Questions tagged [pluto]

Questions regarding exploration of the Pluto-Charon dwarf planetary system.

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7
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1answer
236 views

How tall are Pluto's mountains? Are they the tallest ice features in the Solar System?

The Gizmodo article It Looks Like Pluto Has a Liquid Water Ocean shows a large image of pluto with obliquely lit peaks near both the terminator and the edge of the disk where the topography is really ...
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0answers
46 views

What determined the closest-approach distance between New Horizons and Pluto? [duplicate]

New Horizons passed 7,750 mi (12,472 km) from the surface of Pluto at its closest approach, limiting the image resolution to about 600 feet (183 m). What set the specific closest-approach distance? ...
15
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2answers
3k views

How much longer would New Horizons take to reach Pluto without the Jupiter slingshot?

A recent answer by PearsonArtPhoto claims: New Horizons was launched at Solar System Escape Velocity, meaning it could have visited anywhere beyond Earth without stopping. It did visit Jupiter, ...
2
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1answer
152 views

Exoplanet(s) that share orbit?

Has Kepler (or any other survey) found an exoplanet with a similar orbit as another exoplanet around the same star? The current IAU definition of a planet requires that "a planet has cleared its ...
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2answers
204 views

Compounds causing the various colors on Pluto's surface?

In the earlier, pre-New Horizons Pluto flyby question How long have we known Pluto is red? about the general, slightly reddish tinge of Pluto, the answer is "tholins". Now that New Horizons flyby is ...
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2answers
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What would happen if an Apollo astronaut landed on Pluto?

Pluto seems to be composed of Nitrogen and other ices that would be fluid or gaseous at higher temperatures. So what would happen if an astronaut using an Apollo era space-suit (crucially with that ...
13
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1answer
465 views

If we could send an orbiter to the Pluto-Charon system, could we put it in a stable orbit?

The barycenter of Pluto and Charon is in space between the two bodies, close to Pluto. It is the center point of the animation below. The image is roughly to scale. Note that the two bodies are ...
4
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1answer
219 views

What is the meaning of: New Horizons' communication rate at 1kbit/s between the probe and Earth?

Is it a real-time communication rate measure? As in it would take one second to receive 1 kbit from Pluto?
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0answers
80 views

How powerful a telescope would be needed to equal New Horizons'? [closed]

New Horizons has sent back some amazing, unexpected photos of Pluto. I'm sure there are people who would love to build a larger version of Hubble that could continue imaging Pluto at a similar ...
19
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1answer
1k views

Would my weight be constant on Pluto?

Since Pluto and Charon have distinct orbits around their barycenter (located approximately 960 km above Pluto's surface), the centripedal acceleration must be different on the outer hemisphere of ...
4
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1answer
364 views

Latitude and longitude lines for Pluto and Charon

I am hoping someone can point me to images of Pluto and Charon with latitude and longitude lines. I know it's the convention to designate the near point of a tidelocked moon as 0°, 0°. Is the same ...
4
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2answers
132 views

Is Hydra of Pluto cut unusually, or just darkened on its surface?

The image of Hydra recently released shows a sharply edged black half oval cutting deep into its bottom as in the image below. Is it dark sky behind an open gap we see, or just unreflective matter on ...
4
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2answers
250 views

Do New Horizons Pluto flyby results justify an advanced orbiter mission to the Pluto-Charon system?

It's going to be another year before all of the data that New Horizons gathered is finally transmitted to Earth, but based on current science return, does what's been received so far warrant an ...
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2answers
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What is different about the orbits of Pluto and the comets around the Sun? [closed]

What is different about the orbits of Pluto and the comets around the Sun?
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34 views

Pluto orbiter mission design [duplicate]

Are there plans on what an orbiter to Pluto might look like? Specifically, in the type of orbit one would do at the system. With the center of mass of Pluto/Charon being outside of either object, it ...
39
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4answers
5k views

If there's nothing special about Pluto, why was it discovered so early?

Pluto was recently re-classified, losing its official status as the ninth planet, because a bunch of other dwarf planets were found in its orbital region that were too numerous and insignificant to ...
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1answer
1k views

Why have there been no new New Horizons images in the last few weeks?

As I write this, the latest image in the NASA's New Horizon's image gallery is this spectacular photo showing Pluto's atmosphere: The full web page for the image is here. That image was posted ...
6
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2answers
269 views

Ice Mountains on Pluto

With the recent images from New Horizons, my question is simple. How do we know these mountains are water ice? The linked article doesn't have much detail on how water ice could make 10,000m+ ...
11
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1answer
556 views

Did New Horizons capture enough of Pluto's surface to create its global map?

Given the short amount of time that New Horizons focused on Pluto, did it capture enough of its surface to create a global map of it?
9
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1answer
168 views

Measuring the pressure and temperature of Pluto's atmosphere using stellar occultations

Is this primarily done analyzing the Voigt profiles absorption bands on background of stellar spectra or on re-emission bands of atmospheric compounds? Assuming Pluto's atmosphere behaves like an ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Why does Pluto have a molten core and the Moon does not?

We recently found out that Pluto has a molten core. Since the Moon is bigger than Pluto should the Moon have had a molten core at some point in time?
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2answers
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What is the fastest speed ever reached in space travel as measured from the point in space from which it was launched to its current/final position?

Answers.com lists the New Horizons to have the fastest rocket. Is this info still valid? 7 light hours in 11 years at 50,000 km/h?
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1answer
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Why didn't Pioneer 11 visit Uranus/Neptune, and why didn't Voyager 1 visit Pluto?

The following image from NASA shows the flight paths of Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, and Voyager 2, as well as the positions of the outer planets. It seems to me that with a little tweaking of ...
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1answer
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Why didn't New Horizons stay in Pluto's orbit? [duplicate]

As everyone knows, New Horizons, which was sent some decades ago, reached Pluto on July 14th, 2015 and it stayed there for only 24 hours and after that it is going into the Kuiper Belt and thereafter ...
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2answers
2k views

Why do the pictures returned from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto lack motion blur?

When using a camera and and not being stable in respect to the target, picture smear occurs. Pluto is 2370 km wide and flyby occurred at speeds ~14 km/s and from distance of ~10,000 km. To put in ...
4
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2answers
619 views

Why is part of this New Horizon's Charon high resolution image missing?

The New Horizons team released the following photo of Charon today This choice of image seems rather odd to me for a number of reasons. First of all, according to Emily's schedule, there were 3 ...
35
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5answers
11k views

Why is it hard to take a high quality image of far away objects (like Pluto) using a high-tech space telescope?

Why did NASA send a probe so close to Pluto instead of using a high-tech telescope to capture images of its surface? The Icy Mountains of Pluto. Image credit: New Horizons / Johns Hopkins Applied ...
5
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1answer
657 views

Why didn't New Horizon use Mars as a gravity assist like it did Jupiter?

Part of New Horizon's path took it near Mars. Why didn't they use Mars for a gravity speed boost like they did Jupiter? I'm guessing it had to do with the relatively small size of Mars being unable to ...
11
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3answers
3k views

How much faster (or slower) would it be for a new probe to reach Pluto?

New Horizions just reached Pluto after almost a decade in space. That means it was launched with technology that is well over a decade old (when you factor in planning and construction time). If we ...
6
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1answer
290 views

When could we see Pluto's Southern hemisphere?

New Horizons just passed by Pluto, but was unable to see the southern hemisphere, as a result of it being in perpetual eclipse. When will the southern half be lit, so that the rest of the planet could ...
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0answers
60 views

Would it have been possible to instead keep New Horizons with Pluto? [duplicate]

I understand that New Horizons has further objectives after Pluto, but they seem to be very iffy, whether they will produce anything valuable. This question is related, but I'm more interested in why....
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2answers
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How are New Horizons images sent back to Earth?

I'd like to understand how does New Horizons space craft send its data back to Earth, billions miles away from it. I read in a Time article: "Also, at the distance of Pluto, we can only send data ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Why will there not be any images returned after July 20th until September?

I noticed in the New Horizon's release time schedule by Emily Lakdawalla/ Planetary Society that after July 20th, there won't be any data returns from New Horizons until September. Why is there a 2 ...
29
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4answers
4k views

Requirements to orbit Pluto

I have seen this question posed often recently, without a satisfactory answer in my opinion: Why won’t New Horizons orbit Pluto? The answers I read are always along this line: too much fuel too ...
11
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1answer
385 views

What causes Pluto's atmosphere to recede/collapse?

An answer to this question sparked my curiosity. Pluto's atmosphere seems to come and go depending on its orbital position and distance from the Sun. If the heat up from coming closer to the Sun ...
8
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1answer
546 views

Why does Pluto change color?

This article says [Pluto] is about 20% redder than it used to be. Have there been any further articles/Hypotheses on both the cause of the color, and more importantly, the color change? Or do we ...
16
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1answer
6k views

Operating system of New Horizons spacecraft

I've been doing some searching and I can find some technical details about the flight computer of the New Horizons spacecraft. What I've found is: It has a Mongoose-V 32-bit CPU (a radiation hardened ...
5
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1answer
147 views

New Horizon's disabling safe mode near flyby (in 2007)

At the end of the Jupiter flyby, New Horizons entered safe mode. I remember at that time a question being asked "What would happen if this happened during the Pluto flyby", and the answer was that ...
12
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1answer
582 views

How long have we known Pluto is red?

Recently the New Horizon's satellite has given us some lovely color images of Pluto. When did we first discover that Pluto is red? Secondly, did we suspect its color was red before we were able to ...
4
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1answer
737 views

When New Horizons is closest to Pluto, how fast will it be going (km/s)?

I've been googling this question because I haven't seen the answer anywhere, yet I know it must be calculated with a high degree of precision. Anyone know if it will be faster or slower than its 13.8 ...
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5answers
3k views

Pluto's satellites other than Charon orbits around Pluto or center of gravity between Pluto and Charon?

As the center of gravity between Pluto and Charon is outside Pluto does Pluto's satellites other than Charon such as Nix, Hydra, Kerberos or Styx orbits around Pluto or the COG?
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2answers
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What is the relationship between New Horizons launch and Pluto's loss of Planet status?

According to NASA "New Horizons launched on Jan. 19, 2006" according to Wikipedia this is about the same time Pluto started on the path to loss of planet status. Is it just coincidence that both of ...
14
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1answer
1k views

What is a “Sailboat Island of Stability”?

The New Horizon's team, in response to an announcement of a press conference from the Hubble team, posted some speculations as to what the press conference might be about. On the list includes "Small ...
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1answer
119 views

Refurbish NewHorizonsBots images

In Twitter the @NewHorizonsBot always announces whenever #NewHorizons releases a new image. For example: #NewHorizons released a new image! ⌚ 14 May 2015, 02:02:44 UTC. 📍 73.1M km from #...
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3answers
2k views

Why doesn't the New Horizons probe fly any nearer than 10,000 km from Pluto?

New Horizons is intended to pass within 10,000 km of Pluto on its flyby on July 14. This will give a maximum resolution on the surface of 50m per pixel. This seems to me a bit of a waste, when it ...
8
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2answers
405 views

Use Pluto's gravitation to reach the next dwarf planet

Why doesn't New Horizons fly by nearer to Pluto so the gravitational pull would slingshot the probe to one of the next dwarf planets in the outer solar system (Eris, Haumea, Makemake,...)? I would ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Why isn't Pluto a circle on LORRI images?

A Long Distance Look from LORRI images were published recently. Pluto and Charon look like shrunken ovals here: Why is this? Is it due to Pluto and Charon's phases? Is the distance enough to ...
7
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2answers
738 views

Will New Horizons be able to tell if Pluto is from outside the Solar System?

Will the New Horizons space probe be able to discover whether Pluto is an extra solar body captured by our sun or not?
15
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2answers
789 views

New Horizons - How much time will we get to image the Pluto system?

When New Horizons arrives at Pluto next year, how much time will we get to image and explore (measurements, spectra-analysis) the Pluto system? Any ideas if we will see (or be able to count) Pluto's ...
8
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2answers
975 views

Can New Horizons be turned into an orbiter for the Pluto system?

If the New Horizons team doesn't find a KBO target for the probe, can they turn it into an orbiter for the Pluto system? I know entering orbit right now would be impossible, but would it be possible ...