Lost in Space – New Horizons Reaches Pluto


New Horizons Spacecraft

New Horizons Spacecraft

[1]

(New Horizons Spacecraft)

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Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe and the very first article I have written and published in nearly a month! Briefly, I have been plagued… terribly plagued with pains all over my body. From the base of my head all the way down into my arms and hands and now into my thighs and legs. MY spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease has worsened, greatly. I am completely unable to sit up on the side of my bed and writing/publishing. I simply can not last long enough to do research or gather images for a single article (anywhere from six to fourteen images per article).

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In strides a ‘International Concern’ (that is what I was told to identify the parties involved in assisting me) willing to HELP! They purchased the very ‘Medical Bedside Table’ I pointed out, and have expressed the desire to assist with financing of my first year of an URL (hosting, registration, emails and all) for a web site ALL MY OWN! I am looking at www.theothershoe.co for the All NEW location of the primary blog for The Other Shoe. I will be keeping my blog at WordPress and Blogspot, too. All they have asked in return for their great generosity?

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1) The password to read all the finished pages of ‘The Horror in Smithville.

2) That I give them “First shot” at any novel(s), screenplay(s), and short story(s) that I write and finish in the same one year period.

3) FINISH ONE; novel, screenplay, or short story for them to read.

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That’s IT! They purchased, had shipped and delivered the table I desperately needed and are willing to help with the costs of registration of a domain, web hosting, and email for one blog location outside my current locations. How could I refuse!?!? I didn’t!

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Now, that I have cleared up all your questions My Dear Shoevians, I want to continue with this edition of ‘Lost in Space – New Horizons At Pluto’! As I was writing this article introduction I was also doing my research on the newest images from New Horizions[2]of Pluto and Charon. However, before I present these images and share my thoughts and observations mixed with technical and scientific information from NASA/JPL[3] I would like to take a moment to say “Thank you!”. Thank you to the ‘International Concern’ that took their time, money and effort to make this article and all that will follow for some time to come. If not for their help I would be stuck without the means to write and publish without creating severe pain and suffering. For all of you, My Dear Shoevians, that are regular readers (from all around the world) you know that since my battle with cancer I have repeatedly tried to return to a regular publishing schedule. Each and every time, I have failed. I have failed due to the increased and intractable pain that sitting (in any way), for extended periods of time, causes. Now I have a medical ‘Over-the-Bed’ styled table that I can sit (comfortably) in my bed-chair, with pillows supporting my head, neck and shoulders, thereby relieving all pressure and weight from my neck.

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How Big is Pluto? Decades Long Debate Settled

How Big is Pluto? Decades Long Debate Settled

[4]

(How Big is Pluto? Decades Long Debate Settled)

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Whereas I know that you, My Dearest Shoevians, understand that between; research, uploading images, writing content, editing images, uploading images to three separate blog locations, uploading text and integrating text and images can take anywhere for six-eight hours to several DAYS. All of the ‘Gargantuan’ editions of ‘The Mars Report’ and ‘Lost in Space’ (deemed ‘Gargantuan’ once they reach 14+ pages in length and having 14+ images embedded) have taken two to three days from the very first image downloaded to my computer to the final editing and embedding of images into the finished article. Far from complaining I really rather enjoy these ‘Gargantuan’ editions. I just do not enjoy the days-weeks for pain that follows these endeavors. Now, that will (should be) a thing of the past.

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Right now I have already; researched, captured, uploaded, captioned and saved reference links for the eleven images that will make up this article. I see, from Task Manager, that my system has been ‘up’ for three hours and fifty-nine minuets. Yet, my neck and back… arms and hands are not hurting beyond my regular background level of pain. This IS a ‘Good Thing’! THANK YOU!

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The lead image of this edition is an artist’s impression of the New Horizons orbiter/spacecraft as it approaches Pluto. This was one of the very first images I saw when I started my research for the initial edition of ‘Lost in Space’ about the New Horizons’ mission. That’s right My Dear Shoevians; this is not my first article about the New Horizons mission, the spacecraft or its journey to the Kuiper Belt and Pluto. My original article, titled ‘Lost in Space – NASA Arrives at Kuiper Belt’[5] premiered April 17th, 2015. Long before this month’s media orgy over its arrival, close orbit, of the dwarf planet Pluto. I knew then that the arrival of New Horizons to the Kuiper Belt was a major accomplishment for America and mankind. I am just so very happy that I lived to see the day that man reached the very limits of our solar system. There is still the Oort Cloud, which I wrote about in my ‘Tour of Our Solar System #4’[6] series of ‘Lost in Space’ back in July 1st, 2014 (nearly exactly one year ago). Funny that I knew to write about this material as far back as one year ago, and as recently as in April of this year. Anywho. J

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Observations of Pluto Through the Years

Observations of Pluto Through the Years

[7]

(Observations of Pluto Through the Years)

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The image, above, is a GIF. This GIF is actually a series of images of the dwarf planet Pluto as seen over the years. An animation combines many images taken of Pluto over the decades. The very first frame is a digital zoom of the initial discovery of Pluto in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, image courtesy of Lowell Observatory Archives. The final frame zooms in to a close-up frame of Pluto released on July 15, 2015. I thought this a fitting image to begin our journey into the newest images of Pluto thanks to the New Horizons orbiter spacecraft. Now, My Dear Shoevians, if you would like some information about; the launch of the mission, the mission patch, the spacecraft itself or anything-about New Horizons’ nine year/four billion mile journey you can read it in my original article here: Lost in Space – New Horizons – Redux.

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Pluto Image Sent to Earth on July 14. 2015

Pluto Image Sent to Earth on July 14. 2015

[8]

(Pluto Image Sent to Earth on July 14. 2015)

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The black and white image, above, was taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard the New Horizons spacecraft. It was taken on July 13, 2015 when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface of Pluto. This was, at the time it was taken, the very first High-Definition image ever taken of the surface of Pluto. The clarity and overall sharpness of this image is just breathtaking, to someone that has looked at blurry images and artist’s concept images for his entire life. For me, this image holds the same awe and mystery I found when I looked at the very first images astronauts Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Neil Armstrong took of the surface of the moon, forty-six years ago. Next is a false color version of this same image.

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Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”

Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”

[9]

(Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”)

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Above is the single sharpest image, of the dwarf planet Pluto, mankind has ever seen. Everyone associated with the ‘New Horizons’ mission understood, from the onset, that the orbiter would transmit the clearest/sharpest images of Pluto and Charon ever seen by man. I, for one, was just not really ready for what New Horizons delivered! Since I was a boy all I had ever seen, of Pluto, was blurry images that left more to the imagination than my eyes and artist’s concepts. Neither of which contained the all new feature (informally) named ‘The Heart’. If you, My Dear Shoevians, look to the lower right quadrant of the image above you can see the outline of ‘The Heart’. Almost like Pluto texting us a heart. As New Horizons sped towards Pluto it captured the following incredible portrait image, one of Pluto and Charon sharing a frame, together.

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A Portrait from the Final Approach to Pluto and Charon

A Portrait from the Final Approach to Pluto and Charon

[10]

(A Portrait from the Final Approach to Pluto and Charon)

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For decades scientists have theorized that the surface of Pluto (a terran planet out past our Jovian gas giants) would likely have a surface covered with ice. To the joy of scientists the world over the orbiter New Horizons ‘Ralph’ instrument revealed an abundance of methane ice. The ‘Ralph’ instrument is actually several imaging devices in one package.

“Ralph includes the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), which generates visible and near infrared multi-spectral images and a panchromatic “framing” array for navigation, and the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA), provided by NASA/Goddard, which generates short wave infrared hyperspectral images”[11]

However, Ralph (named after the 50’s television character in ‘The Honeymooners’) showed something more about the methane on the surface of Pluto. That this methane ice shows striking differences, from place to place, across the frozen surface of Pluto.

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““We just learned that in the north polar cap, methane ice is diluted in a thick, transparent slab of nitrogen ice resulting in strong absorption of infrared light,” said New Horizons co-investigator Will Grundy, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona. In one of the visually dark equatorial patches, the methane ice has shallower infrared absorptions indicative of a very different texture. “The spectrum appears as if the ice is less diluted in nitrogen,” Grundy speculated “or that it has a different texture in that area.”[12]

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Below is an early composite infrared image of the surface of Pluto by the ‘Ralph’ imaging package.

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Pluto: The Ice Plot Thickens

Pluto: The Ice Plot Thickens

[13]

(Pluto: The Ice Plot Thickens)

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For our next, and last, images (today) of Pluto I have saved the best for last. This image is a close-up of the surface of Pluto near the equator. These high-definition images held a surprise for scientists and geologists alike. The ‘giant surprise’ was a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.

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“The mountains likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters relative to the 4.56-billion-year age of the solar system — and may still be in the process of building…” says Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team leader Jeff Moore of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.. That suggests the close-up region, which covers less than one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.”

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The Icy Mountains of Pluto

The Icy Mountains of Pluto

[14]

(The Icy Mountains of Pluto)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, we move on to one of Pluto’s moons… Charon. Pluto has five moons that orbit the little dwarf planet. (Yes, I am still a little miffed that they took away Pluto’s designation as one of our solar system’s nine planets) New horizons snapped some really impressive images of Charon and of Pluto and Charon together. Below are three of the most recent of these images.

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The image, below, is a false-color image made from composites taken by the Ralph imaging package. They were taken to highlight their compositional diversity. They are shown here in exaggerated colors that make it easy to note the differences in surface material and features on each planetary body.

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““These images show that Pluto and Charon are truly complex worlds. There’s a whole lot going on here,” said New Horizons co-investigator Will Grundy, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona. “Our surface composition team is working as fast as we can to identify the substances in different regions on Pluto and unravel the processes that put them where they are.”[15]

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Pluto and Charon Shine in False Color

Pluto and Charon Shine in False Color

[16]

(Pluto and Charon Shine in False Color)

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, as I write this edition of ‘Lost in Space’ I can clearly see that this edition will qualify as a ‘Gargantuan’ edition. That means that this edition of ‘Lost in Space’ has twelve or more pages of content, twelve or more images and twelve or more footnotes. So, when you see me advertise this article in; Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and Pintrest you will see me use the designation ‘Gargantuan’. I don’t use it often, but when I do you can be sure that you are in for a real treat of an article.

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I started this article back on the 17th of this month. That is the day that I did the research on the images, uploaded the images to my computer, captured the links for the footnotes and copied text from the original sites for quotes, here. This is a long process, but one that yields a high quality article, one that I enjoy sharing and can take pride… in. Our next-to-the-last image, of this edition, is a full screen close-up of Pluto’s moon, Charon. Taken late by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 13, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles (466,000 kilometers) this image was a defining moment for the project.

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Charon’s Surprising, Youthful and Varied Terrain

Charon’s Surprising, Youthful and Varied Terrain

[17]

(Charon’s Surprising, Youthful and Varied Terrain)

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Just below the equator, in this image, you can see a swath of cliffs and troughs. They stretch about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from left to right, suggesting widespread fracturing of Charon’s crust, likely a result of internal processes. In the upper right quadrant of this image (just below the upper polar region) the ‘dark spot’ is actually a canyon four to six miles deep!

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My Dear Shoevians we have come to the final image of this ‘Gargantuan’ edition of ‘Lost in Space’. Building on the image above, our following image shows a close-up of another region of the surface of Charon. We see the region of Charon’s surface just to the east of the image above. This image is named ‘Mountain in a Moat’.

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New Horizons Close-Up of Charon’s ‘Mountain in a Moat’

New Horizons Close-Up of Charon’s ‘Mountain in a Moat’

[18]

(New Horizons Close-Up of Charon’s ‘Mountain in a Moat’)

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“The image shows an area approximately 240 miles (390 kilometers) from top to bottom, including few visible craters. “The most intriguing feature is a large mountain sitting in a moat,” said Jeff Moore with NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, who leads New Horizons’ Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team. “This is a feature that has geologists stunned and stumped.”[19]

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, I hope that you have enjoyed this ‘Gargantuan’ edition of ‘Lost in Space’. While it has taken me nearly a week to finish; writing, embedding images, editing and publishing this article? It was a labor of love. For, you see, My Dear Shoevians this is the very first article I have written and produced with my regular method since I landed my new URL! Yes, I have published nearly a dozen articles at all three blog locations, since Friday, for them I used a different method to; write, edit and publish. This way is longer, more difficult and more time consuming… but it is my method.

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As always, My Dear Shoevians, if you have enjoyed this article please be sure to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ this with all your friends and family and all the social media you use and enjoy. This way more and more people can find and, too, enjoy this article and my works. I will be back, as soon as tomorrow, with more and more articles.

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My Dear Shoevians, if the past four days are any indication? You will see more articles and more often than ever before in my publishing career. I hope you enjoy what I have to share.

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Adieu!

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Thank you!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe


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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

One Response to Lost in Space – New Horizons Reaches Pluto

  1. Pingback: A Week in Review – July 25th, 2015 | The Other Shoe

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