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Old 07-03-2015, 11:33 PM
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Default New Horizons image of Pluto and Kuiper belt objects

New Horizons flyby of Pluto will be in mid-July, and these will be the best images of the dwarf planet yet.

June 2015
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:20 PM
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Nice, with good visible details already.
I'm kind of waiting for this spacecraft for a decade^.

Which one is Pluto and which Charon?
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Xmal'hautl View Post
Nice, with good visible details already.
I'm kind of waiting for this spacecraft for a decade^.

Which one is Pluto and which Charon?
They're actually two different pictures of Pluto taken at slightly different times. Charon is considerably smaller.

Can't wait for mid-July.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:55 PM
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Image from July 8. Looking great.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:52 AM
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July 9, 3.3 million miles away.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:07 PM
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And there it is! Beautiful.

New Horizons
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:14 PM
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Yess, really nice!

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Old 07-16-2015, 12:30 AM
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Funny enough, that dark patch on Charon has informally been called Mordor by the scientists. Wonder if we'll see Hell's Gates anywhere.

Here's some Plutonian terrain.
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Old 08-02-2015, 04:21 AM
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Too bad it's a frozen dirtball devoid of anything interesting.

It probably doesn't even have any minerals worth trying to get after, because it would cost so much to get out there and even look for them.
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Old 08-02-2015, 04:10 PM
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Interestingly enough, there have been talks of mining Saturn's moon Titan for its oceans of methane.

Solar eclipse via Pluto.

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Old 08-06-2015, 05:52 PM
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Interestingly enough, there have been talks of mining Saturn's moon Titan for its oceans of methane.
That's a terrible, terrible idea.

Humanity really should have gotten off of carbon-based methods of producing energy a decade ago.

Are you telling me we would use some kind of machine to suck up liquid methane, store it in pressurized containers, and bring it to Earth? To burn as fuel?

CH4 + (2)O2 + Heat ---> CO2 + (2)H2O

The C in this equation is coming from an entirely different world, so it represents new carbon that would be added to the planet. We're in the midst of an slow-motion catastrophe involving the carbon cycle because we ****ed it up already. Bringing hydrocarbon greenhouse gases from another planet is not going to help.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:45 PM
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I really don't know much about the subject for energy from space objects, but maybe they were thinking about using it as fuel for strictly space travel? But yes bringing it to Earth would be a very bad thing to do, and I think there is WAY more potential with using solar energy for space persuits I would think.
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:49 AM
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I really don't know much about the subject for energy from space objects, but maybe they were thinking about using it as fuel for strictly space travel? But yes bringing it to Earth would be a very bad thing to do, and I think there is WAY more potential with using solar energy for space persuits I would think.
Not even *that* would make any sense; it would be difficult to contain the reaction well enough and supply it with O2 (nothing burns in space due to the complete lack of oxygen) without choking it off.

If we ever get anywhere interesting beyond the moon, it's going to take some far more advanced methods.
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:10 PM
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It would be a bad idea to introduce more carbon to the carbon cycle... and if we can return samples from Titan then we'd presumably be advanced enough to just collect He-3 from the moon instead, for far cleaner energy.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
That's a terrible, terrible idea.

Humanity really should have gotten off of carbon-based methods of producing energy a decade ago.

Are you telling me we would use some kind of machine to suck up liquid methane, store it in pressurized containers, and bring it to Earth? To burn as fuel?

CH4 + (2)O2 + Heat ---> CO2 + (2)H2O

The C in this equation is coming from an entirely different world, so it represents new carbon that would be added to the planet. We're in the midst of an slow-motion catastrophe involving the carbon cycle because we ****ed it up already. Bringing hydrocarbon greenhouse gases from another planet is not going to help.
Well don't shoot the messenger, I'm only restating what I've read. Straight up burning it as fuel isn't the only way of using that resource. Some more broader visions include using it as fertilizer to grow food in large space stations, or perhaps even Mars or Titan settlements. The abundance of hydrocarbons and other potential organic molecules open up a lot of possibilities outside of simple chemical propulsion.

In any case, chemical propulsion is not the way to go for interstellar travel. Even light speed travel probably isn't sufficient.
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