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Thread: New Horizons Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt

  1. #1 New Horizons Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt 
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    hi im a novice in astronomy but i have just found out about the new mission due to lift of to pluto in january here is the link:

    http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/

    i was wondering if anyone knew how they'll manage to get there, because voyager 1 and 2 were only able to reach uranus and neptune becuase of the additional speed gained by gravity assists round jupiter and saturn? they say here that its possible for them to go direct to pluto, even without an assist from jupiter. has technology improved to such an extent now that this is possible? and if so, will they be going back to visit uranus and neptune in the near future?


    neptuniana
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    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    they are using an Atlas V expendable rocket.

    the New Horizons craft itself weights only 1,000 pounds and is the size of a grand piano.


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    Forum Senior silkworm's Avatar
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    It's getting harder and harder to keep up with all of these NASA missions, especially with dial-up.

    It's nuclear powered, which I'm all for, I just hope the rockets don't fail during launch. But, unfortunately, I found this interesting paragraph.

    "Boeing replaced the five striking workers with six non-striking workers; the extra assembly worker was added to provide additional oversight. Each of the six current workers has at least eight years of experience with Boeing upper stage motors and is fully qualified to work on the project."

    Ah, how much better the world would work without money.

    2015 seems like a long way away, and too bad there's no lander. Those turn me on. It's probably for the best though because it would have to be a pretty small lander to not affect Pluto's orbit.
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    Forum Sophomore DEChengst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    It's probably for the best though because it would have to be a pretty small lander to not affect Pluto's orbit.
    Pluto may be small for a planet but it's still huge compared to any lander we can launch. There's no way a lander would effect Pluto's orbit. Even a hit by big astroid would change the orbit only a tiny bit. The reason NH is a flyby mission and doesn't carry a lander is weight. It would cost way too much fuel to slow NH down so it can enter orbit.
    PDP, VAX and Alpha fanatic ; HP-Compaq is the Satan! ; Let us pray daily while facing Maynard! ; Life starts at 150 km/h ;
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