do you know what this is? his is the best quality photograph of the dwarf planet pluto we have right now. This picture is a composite of several photos taken by the motherfricklefrackin hubble space telescope.
basically everything we know about pluto comes from telescopic observations from the ground all the way here on earth. Which can tell us a lot of things, but it can’t tell us everything about a planetary system.
for example, until the voyager and pioneer probes flew by the outer planets, we had no idea there were volcanoes on Io and Triton. We also discovered that Uranus had a magnetic field that is just downright weird. it’s completely tilted compared to the rotational axis, which is already 90 degrees from the ecliptic, so you put these things together and add in some solar wind and you realize that uranus’ magnetic field actually corkscrews away from it, like a duck peen. also it’s moon Miranda is FRICKIN WEIRD.
seriously, what the hell is up with this moon.
so we know some things about pluto, it’s probably half rock and half ice, and we thing it has a lot of nitrogen ice. we also believe that as pluto orbits the sun, when it gets further away the atmosphere freezes and falls to the ground. and then when pluto gets closer to the sun is all sublimates back into gas. how fucked up is that?
so we should really probably learn more about pluto, and not just because of this hbic:
sailor pluto owns, haters get out.
well, the reason we know so much about the outer gas giants is because two of these motherfuckers had basically the best possible alignment of the planets you could ask for:
these little shits were launched in 1977 and because of the way they were able to line up the orbits, the both flew by Jupiter and Saturn, and the voyager 2 was all like “Jupiter? Saturn? Psssshhhh… amateurs.”
so voyager 2, the little shit flew past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
and voyager 1 was like, “i COULD go check out uranus and neptune, or a could trick off of saturn and titan as i fly by because i GOTTA GO FAST.” and voyager 1 is now the fastest manmade object ever built.
oh yeah and both of these little shits are still running and giving us all kinds of neat data about the boundary between the solar system and interstellar space, neat huh?
BUT ANYWAY. the voyager probes could explore the gas giant planets but not pluto. because pluto was in completely the wrong space. since she’s gotta be unique and stand in her own spot and just GET IN THE PHOTO SETSUNA, GOD.
WELL GUESS WHAT THE GOOD NEWS IS?
not pictured: the big metal cans of radioactive hoogity boogity that power it, since it’s so far away from the sun that using solar panels to provide electricity won’t work very well. or at all.
there’s a spacecraft on it’s way to pluto right the heck now. it’s gonna fly by and take some better photos and all kinds of neat measurements, so we’ll finally a whole heckie of a lot more information about the planet pluto. like, for example, WHAT THE HELL DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
so nasa, the southwest research institute and the johns hopkins applied physics laboratory decided to build a spacecraft called “New Horizons” to answer the question we’ve all been dying to know since pluto was discovered in 1930. ”what the hell is up with pluto, seriously?”
so nasa stuck this big probily-thingy on top of a big-ol Atlas V rocket and sent it on it’s was to pluto
RIGHT NOW, it’s way to pluto at a speed of about 33,000 miles per hour. it already flew past jupiter to do a SWEET TRICK off jupiter’s gravity well and to put it on a course for pluto. In fact, it’s already passed the orbits of saturn and uranus and it’s almost across the orbit of neptune, which it’s expected to cross on August 25th of this year.
so what’s gonna happen when it gets to pluto? well, when it makes its closest approach, it’ll be flying by at a speed of about 30,800 miles per hour compared to the surface of pluto, so the probe will take a literal ton of images and measurements and give us all kinds of fascinating information on just what the heck is up with pluto seriously?
and now you know a little bit more about space probes