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Thread: Kuiper Belt Extended Mission (KEM) (Ex New Horizons)

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Ze latest from New Horizons on frosty the snowman taken from 4,200miles (6,700kms), 135m/pixel .. this time, apparently complete with a face including eyes, nostrils and a mouth!:

    http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/...?page=20190124
    When I first saw that picture for some reason I thought about Miranda, the inner most large moon of Uranus.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superluminal View Post
    When I first saw that picture for some reason I thought about Miranda, the inner most large moon of Uranus.
    Hmm .. maybe ..
    I reckon the big dent (where the eyes are) looks a lot like Phobos' big ding here(?)

  3. #63
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    More on our favorite snowman.


    https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.00997

    Ultima Thule (486958; 2014 MU69): Necklace, Composition, Rotation, Formation

    J. I. Katz (Submitted on 4 Feb 2019)

    Flyby images of Ultima Thule (486958; 2014 MU69) show a comparatively bright ``necklace'' between its two lobes, in contrast to its generally low albedo. The necklace is found in the most shaded, and therefore coolest, part of its surface. It may be clean, high albedo, ``hoarfrost'' condensed from vapor evaporated from the low albedo dirty ice elsewhere. Ammonia, the likely major constituent of Ultima Thule, has the necessary vapor pressure. The rotation period of 15±1 h is at least twice its breakup period, indicating either that its formation was not limited by angular momentum or that half its angular momentum was lost after formation, perhaps to surrounding gas in the proto-Solar System. The lobes of Ultima Thule must have spherized under conditions different than those encountered by its present, post-contact, configuration.

    (Includes comparison with 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua.)
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  4. #64
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    Now they're saying that Ultima-Thule, is actually a pancake, not a snowman.
    http://www.spaceweather.com/

  5. #65
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    More on the "pancake" aspect of Ultima Thule, with drawings and photos. One of the lobes does look pretty flat, as measured by the blocking of starlight.

    https://phys.org/news/2019-02-horizo...ce-ultima.html

    New Horizons' evocative farewell glance at Ultima Thule
    February 9, 2019, NASA

    An evocative new image sequence from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft offers a departing view of the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed Ultima Thule—the target of its New Year's 2019 flyby and the most distant world ever explored.

    These aren't the last Ultima Thule images New Horizons will send back to Earth—in fact, many more are to come—but they are the final views New Horizons captured of the KBO (officially named 2014 MU69) as it raced away at over 31,000 miles per hour (50,000 kilometers per hour) on Jan. 1. The images were taken nearly 10 minutes after New Horizons crossed its closest approach point.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  6. #66
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    Scott Manley has a nice video talking about why Ultima Thule may be the shape it is.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  7. #67
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    Higher resolution images of Ultima Thule released by the New Horizons team:

    https://phys.org/news/2019-02-horizo...ws-ultima.html

    https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn....whorizonss.jpg

    New Horizons spacecraft returns its sharpest views of Ultima Thule
    February 23, 2019, NASA

    The mission team called it a "stretch goal" – just before closest approach, precisely point the cameras on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to snap the sharpest possible pics of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule, its New Year's flyby target and the farthest object ever explored.

    Now that New Horizons has sent those stored flyby images back to Earth, the team can enthusiastically confirm that its ambitious goal was met.

    These new images of Ultima Thule – obtained by the telephoto Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) just 6˝ minutes before New Horizons' closest approach to the object (officially named 2014 MU69) at 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1 – offer a resolution of about 110 feet (33 meters) per pixel. Their combination of high spatial resolution and a favorable viewing angle gives the team an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the surface, as well as the origin and evolution, of Ultima Thule – thought to be the most primitive object ever encountered by a spacecraft.

    <snip>


    The higher resolution brings out a many surface features that weren't readily apparent in earlier images. Among them are several bright, enigmatic, roughly circular patches of terrain. In addition, many small, dark pits near the terminator (the boundary between the sunlit and dark sides of the body) are better resolved. "Whether these features are craters produced by impactors, sublimation pits, collapse pits, or something entirely different, is being debated in our science team," said John Spencer, deputy project scientist from SwRI.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-02-horizo...ltima.html#jCp
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2019-Feb-23 at 04:16 PM.

  8. #68
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    "First results from New Horizons’ time in the Kuiper Belt"

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019...e-kuiper-belt/

    For many at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, January 1 this year didn't mean a New Year's celebration. Instead, it meant the first arrival of data from New Horizons' visit to a small Kuiper Belt object. But, like its earlier flyby of Pluto, the probe was instructed to grab all the data it could and deal with getting it back to Earth later. The full set of everything New Horizons captured won't be available for more than a year yet. But with 10 percent of the total cache in hand, researchers decided they had enough to do the first analysis of 2014 MU69.

    2014 MU69 is thought to preserve material as it condensed in the earliest days of the Solar System's formation. And everything in the New Horizons' data suggests that this is exactly what it has done. With the exception of one big crater temporarily named "Maryland" and the gentle collision that created its two-lobed structure, the object appears to have been largely untouched by more than 4 billion years of the Solar System's existence.
    I am because we are
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  9. #69
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    More first results on Ultima Thule.

    https://science.sciencemag.org/conte.../6441/eaaw9771

    Initial results from the New Horizons exploration of 2014 MU69, a small Kuiper Belt object
    S. A. Stern, et al.
    Science 17 May 2019:
    Vol. 364, Issue 6441

    The Kuiper Belt is a broad, torus-shaped region in the outer Solar System beyond Neptune’s orbit. It contains primordial planetary building blocks and dwarf planets. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft conducted a flyby of Pluto and its system of moons on 14 July 2015. New Horizons then continued farther into the Kuiper Belt, adjusting its trajectory to fly close to the small Kuiper Belt object (486958) 2014 MU69 (henceforth MU69; also informally known as Ultima Thule). Stellar occultation observations in 2017 showed that MU69 was ~25 to 35 km in diameter, and therefore smaller than the diameter of Pluto (2375 km) by a factor of ~100 and less massive than Pluto by a factor of ~106. MU69 is located about 1.6 billion kilometers farther from the Sun than Pluto was at the time of the New Horizons flyby. MU69’s orbit indicates that it is a “cold classical” Kuiper Belt object, thought to be the least dynamically evolved population in the Solar System. A major goal of flying past this target is to investigate accretion processes in the outer Solar System and how those processes led to the formation of the planets. Because no small Kuiper Belt object had previously been explored by spacecraft, we also sought to provide a close-up look at such a body’s geology and composition, and to search for satellites, rings, and evidence of present or past atmosphere. We report initial scientific results and interpretations from that flyby.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  10. #70
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    "Snowman-shaped target of NASA’s New Horizons mission gets a brand-new name"

    https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/12/...-belt-arrokoth

    A snowman-shaped object that NASA probe New Horizons flew by in early 2019 now has a brand-new name. On November 12th, NASA officials announced that the item formerly known as MU69 — and once nicknamed Ultima Thule — would now have the name Arrokoth, which is the word for “sky” in the Powhatan / Algonquian language.
    I am because we are
    (African saying)

  11. #71
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    Do we have any info on how the name was chosen?
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

  12. #72
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    Ah, I liked Ultima Thule as a name. Apparently, some thought it sounded too much like the Thule society, which is tied to the Nazis, so they renamed it. Thule society sounds like something I might have heard of, but if so, probably something I only heard of in passing.

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  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Do we have any info on how the name was chosen?
    GreekWire gives the answer.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2019/ultima...-new-horizons/

    Members of the New Horizons science team announced today that their proposed name has won approval by the International Astronomical Union and its Minor Planet Center.

    Before making the proposal, the scientists won the consent of elders and representatives of the Powhatan Tribe — which is best-known as the home tribe for Pocahontas in the 17th century. Some present-day members of the tribe live in Maryland, which was the home base for New Horizons mission operations.

    “The name ‘Arrokoth’ reflects the inspiration of looking to the skies and wondering about the stars and worlds beyond our own,” New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at Southwest Research Institute, said in a NASA news release. “That desire to learn is at the heart of the New Horizons mission, and we’re honored to join with the Powhatan community and people of Maryland in this celebration of discovery.”

    Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, praised the choice of the name and said “we graciously accept this gift from the Powhatan people.”
    I am because we are
    (African saying)

  14. #74
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    Odd. I thought Classical KBOs had to be named for creation deities. Unless the sky is a creation deity in Powhatan beliefs.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

  15. #75
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    "The PI's Perspective: What a Year, What a Decade!"

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Th...cade!_999.html

    New Horizons is healthy and performing well as it flies ever onward, at nearly one million miles per day! This month we're collecting new data on the Kuiper Belt's charged particle and dust environment, and observing two distant Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) to learn about their surface properties, shapes and rotation periods, and to search for satellite systems.

    Much more is in store for this mission, but as this year and decade conclude, I want to look back and take stock of where we have been.

    For New Horizons, 2019 began with a major mission milestone: the first-ever close up and personal exploration of a KBO. That target, originally known as 2014 MU69, is now the farthest world ever explored - more than a billion miles beyond Pluto!

    And, if you hadn't heard, last month MU69 finally received its official name: Arrokoth, a Powhatan/Algonquian Native American word for "sky," which the New Horizons team chose. I love this beautiful name, and the way it beautifully honors both the state of Maryland, where so many Powhatans lived and where New Horizons was build and is operated from!
    I am because we are
    (African saying)

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Ah, I liked Ultima Thule as a name.
    And what was wrong with the name Xena? [electronic tears flood the Internet] Okay, I'm over it. Thule's not a bad name, we've had a USAF base in Greenland with that name for years. I do like Arrokoth too, though.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger e. Moore View Post
    and what was wrong with the name xena? [electronic tears flood the internet] okay, i'm over it. Thule's not a bad name, we've had have a usaf base in greenland with that name for years. I do like arrokoth too, though.
    ftfy.

  18. #78
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    While the KEM continues, here is a short paper with lots of background on the Kuiper Belt and how it works. I liked it, hope you do too.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1911.07897

    Resonant Kuiper Belt Objects -- a Review
    Renu Malhotra
    (Submitted on 18 Nov 2019)

    Our understanding of the history of the solar system has undergone a revolution in recent years, owing to new theoretical insights into the origin of Pluto and the discovery of the Kuiper belt and its rich dynamical structure. The emerging picture of dramatic orbital migration of the planets driven by interaction with the primordial Kuiper belt is thought to have produced the final solar system architecture that we live in today. This paper gives a brief summary of this new view of our solar system's history, and reviews the astronomical evidence in the resonant populations of the Kuiper belt.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    While the KEM continues, here is a short paper with lots of background on the Kuiper Belt and how it works. I liked it, hope you do too.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1911.07897

    Resonant Kuiper Belt Objects -- a Review
    Renu Malhotra
    (Submitted on 18 Nov 2019)

    Our understanding of the history of the solar system has undergone a revolution in recent years, owing to new theoretical insights into the origin of Pluto and the discovery of the Kuiper belt and its rich dynamical structure. The emerging picture of dramatic orbital migration of the planets driven by interaction with the primordial Kuiper belt is thought to have produced the final solar system architecture that we live in today. This paper gives a brief summary of this new view of our solar system's history, and reviews the astronomical evidence in the resonant populations of the Kuiper belt.
    Meh...I didn't read it all.

    But I wanna say I'm glad you're back from wherever. I look forward to parsing through the stuff you share.

    cheers,

  20. #80
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    More on Arrokoth, the "snowman" of the Kuiper Belt.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2002.06720

    Color, Composition, and Thermal Environment of Kuiper Belt Object (486958) Arrokoth
    W.M. Grundy, et al.
    (Submitted on 17 Feb 2020)

    The outer Solar System object (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU69) has been largely undisturbed since its formation. We study its surface composition using data collected by the New Horizons spacecraft. Methanol ice is present along with organic material, which may have formed through radiation of simple molecules. Water ice was not detected. This composition indicates hydrogenation of carbon monoxide-rich ice and/ or energetic processing of methane condensed on water ice grains in the cold, outer edge of the early Solar System. There are only small regional variations in color and spectra across the surface, suggesting Arrokoth formed from a homogeneous or well-mixed reservoir of solids. Microwave thermal emission from the winter night side is consistent with a mean brightness temperature of 29 ± 5 K.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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