Posts in Astronomy

Approaching Pluto

Written By | July 7, 2015 | Posted in Astronomy | No Comments

Human beings are explorers. As a species, we are not content to sit in our corners, cut off from the rest of the Cosmos. We want to see, we want to know. We have set out to explore new lands and find new wonders and we have labored to understand the ins and outs of the world around us. Our attitude is well expressed by The Doctor when he said, “There’s something that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go poke it with a stick.”

In a few days, a human craft will go where no craft (as far as we know) has gone before. Launched in 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto on July 14. We did not even know Pluto was a thing until 1930 when it was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh. Poor Pluto was originally designated a planet but was demoted to dwarf planet status in 2006, just months after New Horizons was launched. Pluto is tiny, so tiny that it does not have enough mass to gravitationally clear its orbit.

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Scientific Ambition

Written By | October 25, 2014 | Posted in Astronomy | No Comments

The European Space Agency has released one of the best science promo videos ever made. The ESA is behind the Rosetta mission, a space probe currently orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Rosetta has been a truly ambitious project and marks the first time we have a spacecraft orbiting a comet. It took the probe ten years to reach the comet, along the way traveling through the asteroid belt and skirting the rings of Jupiter. The images sent back from Rosetta have been stunning. Rosetta will achieve another exciting first in November when a separate probe will detach from Rosetta and land on the comet’s surface.

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