Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Bad News About The "New Horizons" Mission...

...is simply that the probe, having taken a gander at Pluto, is going nowhere near Eris, the most interesting Kuiper Belt Object, if you ask me -- and I know you didn't ask.

This link includes visuals (scroll down to check out the groovy rotating solar system credited to Alex Parker) that show where New Horizons is going to go from here.  Eris is one of the three white spots picked out in that graphic, and here you can see a still of the same graphic, this time with Eris labeled.  The new ruling planet of Libra is something like 90 degrees away from Pluto in the sky and way, way off the path of the New Horizon.  (And standing out quite some distance from the main throughway of the Kuiper Belt, I notice.  Never in the mainstream is Eris.)

It strikes me for the first time that this highly-successful budget mission to Pluto may have something to do with Vladimir Putin stirring things up in Ukraine.  ARE WE FEELING A LITTLE THREATENED, VLAD?  Far be it from NASA to sow discord between the East and the West...chuckle!

(And this was a budget mission, believe me.  The Bush administration repeatedly tried to defund the whole deal, not just New Horizons but NASA itself.  The NASA budget has slipped from 4.3% of the federal budget to 0.5% today, and New Horizons cost "only" $720 million American -- the cost, I am told, of three F-35 fighter jets.  So I have to say this effort was not too shabby.)


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