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Hubble Discovers 5th Moon of Pluto

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the more-traffic-for-some-new-horizons-frogger dept.

NASA 137

Stirling Newberry writes "This image shows 'P5,' the placeholder name for a fifth natural moon of Pluto, a tiny sliver that orbits ~29,000 miles from its primary in a circular orbit. Other than Charon, Hubble has been the means by which astronomers have found all of the known moons of Pluto. 'The new detection will help scientists navigate NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft through the Pluto system in 2015, when it makes an historic and long-awaited high-speed flyby of the distant world. The team is using Hubble’s powerful vision to scour the Pluto system to uncover potential hazards to the New Horizons spacecraft. Moving past the dwarf planet at a speed of 30,000 miles per hour, New Horizons could be destroyed in a collision with even a BB-shot-size piece of orbital debris.'"

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I'm incredibly jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618251)

The Earth needs a few more moons.

Re:I'm incredibly jealous (3, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618523)

2 isn't enough?

Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618259)

Only a planet can have a moon...

How much more do you expect from Pluto, people!

CAPTCHA = arguable (I swear, you can't make this stuff up)

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (4, Informative)

MarioMax (907837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618395)

According to Wikipedia:

A natural satellite or moon is a celestial body that orbits a planet or smaller body, which is called its primary.

Technically, Pluto fits the definition of "planet or smaller body". A moon doesn't necessarily need to orbit a planet; it can orbit a very, very dense hunk of rock that doesn't fit the definition of planet, but has a sufficiently strong gravitational pull to keep it in orbit.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618681)

A moon doesn't necessarily need to orbit a planet; it can orbit a very, very dense hunk of rock that doesn't fit the definition of planet, but has a sufficiently strong gravitational pull to keep it in orbit.

Must... resist... urge... to make yo mama joke.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (0)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618769)

A moon doesn't necessarily need to orbit a planet; it can orbit a very, very dense hunk of rock that doesn't fit the definition of planet, but has a sufficiently strong gravitational pull to keep it in orbit.

Must... resist... urge... to make yo mama joke.

... or Romney joke. (Take it easy Conservadroids. It's all in fun.)

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618967)

Conservadroids

o.O Is that a new phone?

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619297)

Conservadroids

o.O Is that a new phone?

Could be! A phone that dials the same number over and over again without any algorithms to determine why that number is disconnected from reality. Or a phone that automatically orders and pays for stuff with your credit card that is never delivered or is delivered to rich people that don't need it. (Oh ya, I'm going to get flamed...)

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (3, Insightful)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40621765)

Or you could buy the iLiberal that also automatically orders and pays for stuff with your credit card that is never delivered or is delivered to poor people that don't need it. It's all fun and games as long as its someone else having their money taken. Any one else bloody sick of the primary difference between liberal/conservative being whom you think its OK to steal from? And the only person they both agree its OK to steal from seems to be me.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (3, Interesting)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40622597)

primary difference between liberal/conservative being whom you think its OK to steal from? And the only person they both agree its OK to steal from seems to be me.

I think it boils down to two different groups of people:

1. Those that have more than they need.
2. Those that need more than they have.

I am one of the first and I give to the second. In the six years since my wife died, I have given $50+ K to my friends in need and another $15+ K to charity - and I plan to keep on giving as needed. My conscience is clean.

Oh, and I don't hide money [nytimes.com] in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland, like Mitt (potential Weasel in Chief) to avoid paying my fair share of taxes...

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620889)

<quote>

<quote><p>Conservadroids</p></quote>

<p>o.O Is that a new phone?</p></quote>

No

o.O Is that a new tablet?

No... ...it's a Phablet!

It is a Conserphablet to be precise! :-)

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620313)

Must... resist... urge... to make yo mama joke.

Why you an yo mama so close? GRAVITY!

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (-1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619671)

According to Wikipedia:

This was your first mistake.

Pluto is a planet. The new definition of a planet is an arbitrary change from the old definition. There was zero reason to change the definition, there were many reasons not to. People who fuck around with language, even with technical definitions, need to wisen up.

Inflammable and non-inflammable are correct.
Flammable and non-flammable are incorrect.

Kilobit and kilobyte and Kb (and kb) and KB are correct, and mean 1024 bits (or bytes).
Kibibit and kibibyte and Kib and (kib) and KiB are incorrect, and mean you're a fucking dipshit.

Hexagon and Hexadecimal are incorrect. Say it with me, kids: Sexagon! Sexadecimal!

Now please continue to post loads of bullshit about how I'm wrong and you're right. If you're under the age of 30 your opinion is invalid because you indoctrinated by utter morons.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (2, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619811)

Kilobit and kilobyte and Kb (and kb) and KB are correct, and mean 1024 bits (or bytes).
Kibibit and kibibyte and Kib and (kib) and KiB are incorrect, and mean you're a fucking dipshit.

FYI,, a 64kbps telecommunications channel is 64,000bits/sec, not 65536bits/sec (it derives from 8kHz (8000, not 8192) sampling at 8 bits/sample). Just like 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet is 10,000,000, 100,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 bits/sec, respectively.

Same as your 2.6GHz CPU - it's 2,600,000,000 Hz.

Not using the right prefix is the same as not using the right units - you're going to screw up something somewhere.

You're a technical person, use precise language. If there's a chance of confusion, drop the prefix and use scientific notation, or define something across the board so places where the meanings can get messed up, are resolved and be consistent.

E.g., globally declare in your source code that "Kilo means 1024 throughout" so 1km in your program is 1024m, and if you use 64,000b/s channel, it's a 62.5kbps link.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40621081)

Inflammable and non-inflammable are correct.
Flammable and non-flammable are incorrect.

The only thing worse than a negative is negating a negative. My feeble mind is only capable of processing "non-inflammable" on the slow path.

Kilobit and kilobyte and Kb (and kb) and KB are correct, and mean 1024 bits (or bytes).
Kibibit and kibibyte and Kib and (kib) and KiB are incorrect, and mean you're a fucking dipshit.

1024 decisively lost the battle for title of "KB". I would rather be labled a dipshit than deal with ambiguous bullshit. Have enough problems without adding every other customer having a different expectation as to what KB means.

Hexagon and Hexadecimal are incorrect. Say it with me, kids: Sexagon! Sexadecimal!

Thats hot.

If you're under the age of 30 your opinion is invalid because you indoctrinated by utter morons

Language has never been a static affair. Meanings drift over time. Take the text of the US consitution forinstance.

What is upsetting to me is when someone or something feels the need to unecessarily turn universally accepted and understood terms into ambiguous and contested ones (IAU)

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#40623899)

1024 decisively lost the battle for title of "KB". I would rather be labled a dipshit than deal with ambiguous bullshit. Have enough problems without adding every other customer having a different expectation as to what KB means.

We only have that problem because busybodies tried to change the meaning away from the natural binary scale. The battle is not lost; I think that, if you are talking to at least half-way computer-literate people, they mean 1024 when they say KB.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40622081)

Pluto is a planet. The new definition of a planet is an arbitrary change from the old definition. There was zero reason to change the definition, there were many reasons not to.

There was an extremely good reason to change the definition.

By your definition, aka the old one, there are millions of planets in our solar system. Pluto and the other millions of Kuiper belt objects equal in size to Pluto are clearly of a different class than the other eight planets, and by you lumping them all together there is no meaningful distinction.

Using your definition, we have no way to single out huge rocky bodies within the solar system, which are of a different type of interest than millions of tiny rocks.

With the new definitions, we now have one name for the large bodies, and another name for all the other teeny tiny rocks barely in orbit around Sol.

Plus by either definition, there are not 9 planets in our solar system. There is either eight, or millions.

Why do you not feel it is worth while to give a name to the eight large planetary bodies, while having a method to exclude rocks, comets, and asteroids (Most of which are also planets by your definition)?

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40622565)

You left out a 'were' in the last sentence, ergo your argument is invalid. (Not really, I'm well over 30 and, looking back on my public school education, I was often indoctrinated by utter morons. I suspect it's gotten worse, not better, but perhaps that's an observer bias).
        Pluto is now counted as a dwarf planet. By proper English, that means Pluto is still a planet, just as dwarf humans are still humans. The IAU can't get very basic English rules correct, so why does their opinion carry so much weight? If the US supreme court announced that they reviewed all four amendments and can't find any reason to support the concept of privacy, would you still respect the court's decisions? If your doctor didn't know how many kidneys you were supposed to have, wouldn't you find another doctor? So if the IAU thinks dwarfs in the real world are a species from Tolkien's Middle Earth, maybe it's time to start ignoring them until they at least learn how to speak at the eighth grade level or thereabouts, and understand that a modifier is not automatically, or even usually, a negating prefix.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40622141)

A moon doesn't necessarily need to orbit a planet; it can orbit a very, very dense hunk of rock that doesn't fit the definition of planet

That may be, but I'd still vote for calling it a moonoid, just because it's fun to type.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1)

DarthBling (1733038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618469)

And Mercury and Venus don't have any moons and they still classify them as planets?! Obviously, moons are not a requirement for planetary status.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618793)

I believe he was arguing that oribiting a planet is a requirement for it to be called a moon... not having a moon as a requirement for being a planet. Not that he was correct, but his argument wasn't that easily defeated.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618831)

Seriously? Please go make me a Big Mac.

Re:Only a planet... (Sqore 200,000), Astromical! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620675)

They had moons at one time. It's just that when Pluto got declassed as a planet, Mercury and Venus sent the moons to Pluto to help it get over the shock and disappointment for being treated poorly through no fault of his own.

Not a planet (2)

eedwardsjr (1327857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618265)

So it has five moons, but they still do not classify it as a planet?

Re:Not a planet (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618305)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor-planet_moon [wikipedia.org]

Lots of asteroids have moons.

Re:Not a planet (1)

myth24601 (893486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619501)

Yeah but those all have names that start with random numbers while Pluto is just Pluto. Having a cool name should count for something.

Re:Not a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618311)

So it has five moons, but they still do not classify it as a planet?

True.

Re:Not a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618329)

Yep. Moons don't have anything to do with that.

Re:Not a planet (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618347)

One'd expect thing that don't clear their orbit to have more moons...

Re:Not a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618535)

So Jupiter and Saturn have failed to clear their orbits?

Re:Not a planet (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618561)

Neptune didn't clear out its orbit either (Since Pluto is in it), and it has 5 (currently known) moons too.

Re:Not a planet (1)

Meumeu (848638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618861)

Neptune didn't clear out its orbit either (Since Pluto is in it), and it has 5 (currently known) moons too.

Next to Neptune, Pluto is a speck of dust, so yes Neptune cleared its orbit. You can't say the same for Pluto.

Re:Not a planet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619031)

Neptune didn't clear out its orbit either (Since Pluto is in it), and it has 5 (currently known) moons too.

Next to Neptune, Pluto is a speck of dust, so yes Neptune cleared its orbit. You can't say the same for Pluto.

Not to mention, Pluto is not even in Neptune's orbit, so yeah. (Sorry oodaloop, but because of how the orbit of Pluto is inclined, when it "crosses" Neptune's orbit, it's so far out of the orbital plane of the 8 planets that it doesn't matter.)

Re:Not a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40620227)

Pluto is most definitely not in Neptune's orbit. It doesn't cross Neptune's orbit, either, although you might get that mistaken impression from looking at 2D images -- in a proper 3D representation, though, you can clearly see their orbits do not intersect (during the two times Pluto is roughly the same distance from the Sun as Neptune, it's further from Neptune's orbit than Mars is from Mercury's orbit, and you wouldn't say Mars and Mercury are in each other's orbits, despite being far, far closer to being co-orbital than Neptune and Pluto).

Re:Not a planet (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619937)

Its not a moon.

Re:Not a planet (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620997)

Actually Pluto & Co. only has 4 moons, Charon is not a moon, it is co-dwarf planet, in that Pluto orbits around Charon just as much as Charon orbits Pluto.

Re:Not a planet (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40621359)

To be accurate, both Pluto and Charon orbit their common center of gravity. Just like the Earth and Moon orbit their common center of gravity, or like any two other orbiting objects.

Re:Not a planet (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#40621797)

To be accurate, both Pluto and Charon orbit their common center of gravity. Just like the Earth and Moon orbit their common center of gravity, or like any two other orbiting objects.

Yeah, but the common center of gravity of the Earth and the Moon, is _inside_ the Earth, which means the Moon orbits a point inside Earth (just not the center), which is what makes it a satellite or moon of Earth.

  In the case of Pluto and Charon the common center of gravity is between them and not inside either of them, which means none of them is a moon to the the other, but they share a common co-orbit.

Re:Not a planet (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40623177)

Yeah, but the common center of gravity of the Earth and the Moon, is _inside_ the Earth, which means the Moon orbits a point inside Earth (just not the center), which is what makes it a satellite or moon of Earth.

    In the case of Pluto and Charon the common center of gravity is between them and not inside either of them, which means none of them is a moon to the the other, but they share a common co-orbit.

By that measure, Jupiter isn't a planet either, because the barycenter between Jupiter and the sun lies above the surface of the sun.

Also consider this: The moon is slowly expanding its orbit and decreasing its speed accordingly. Which means that the barycenter of the Earth/Luna system slowly creeps towards the Earth's surface, and one day it will be above it. Will that elevate Luna from moon status to co-planet?

Can't be a moon...only planets have moons. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618271)

Nuf. Said.

ORLY? (5, Funny)

yt8znu35 (1202731) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618297)

That's no moon.

Re:ORLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618441)

That's no moon.

It's a Mass Relay.

Re:ORLY? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618923)

Is it a red, green or blue one?

Re:ORLY? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620733)

That's no moon.

That's Uranus!

So let me get this straight (5, Funny)

kiriath (2670145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618349)

NASA is going to drive a 650 million dollar spacecraft through a system @40AU away at 30,000 miles per hour - and that spacecraft could be destroyed by a BB.

The phrase "That thing could put your eye out" brings on a whole new meaning...

Re:So let me get this straight (2)

Jhon (241832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618467)

New Horizons should be named the "Ralphie Probe"?

Re:So let me get this straight (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618635)

Dude, after the cornering and hairpins of the Cassini mission [nytimes.com] , 30,000 mph through a debris field 40 AU's away is a walk in the park for these guys.

Re:So let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618683)

13km/s? Yeah, that's got to hurt.

The story wasn't really any different for the 2 Voyager spacecraft or for Cassini, both of which went through the ring plane of Saturn pretty close to the rings themselves, and were more expensive (I think Cassini was >$1 billion). So it's a "normal" hazard for this type of outer Solar System interplanetary probe. If I recall correctly, they did get higher rates of impact of dust-sized particles in the ring planes, but no BB-sized ones.

Heh. At that kind of speed, a mosquito would probably be deadly if it hit the windshield of your car (you knew the car analogy was coming, right?).

Re:So let me get this straight (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619095)

The typically positioned the space shuttle so that debris would impact the tiles rather than the windshield after a micrometeorite left a pinprick in the 1"+ thick windshield and embedded itself in the pilot's headrest durring a mission. Shit happens. Stuff is flying everywhere at absolutely insane speeds. Luckily, once you get beyond the asteroid belt, you're generally good to go. We've had a couple of probes die randomly in transit, about half of them are chalked up to human error, the other are suspected to have been hit by something nasty that we didn't see ahead of time. Still jumping up and down to get that one way ticket to mars? ;)

Re:So let me get this straight (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619585)

Still jumping up and down to get that one way ticket to mars?

Hell yes, in fact I'd settle for one-way to Luna. Not many places on Earth where one can still be a true pioneer any more, and all of those are completely explored anyway.

Re:So let me get this straight (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40621877)

a micrometeorite left a pinprick in the 1"+ thick windshield and embedded itself in the pilot's headrest durring a mission.

[citation needed]

Re:So let me get this straight (3, Insightful)

Cuddlah (2677847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619381)

You hit ANYTHING with a BB at 30,000 miles an hour, it's a catastrophic collision.

Re:So let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40621007)

Will it be equipped with any sampling technology that could be even remotely described as performing a scissors-like function?

Four (4, Funny)

bazald (886779) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618397)

There... are... four... moons!

Re:Four (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618493)

I see what you did there.

BB sized debris (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618453)

Nevermind the 19,000 man-made objects larger than 10 centimetres in LEO. I wonder how anyone navigates past this stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Space_Debris_Low_Earth_Orbit.png [wikipedia.org]

Re:BB sized debris (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618583)

*debris not to scale :)

Re:BB sized debris (3, Informative)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619193)

Because space is big...

Imagine there were only 19,000 people on Earth, roughly evenly distributed. What's the chance you'd ever run into another person? Now, instead of just the land area, make sure that 3/4ths of those people are on the ocean. What are the odds of running into one of them now?

Now, imagine that, instead of just the surface of the Earth, you stack up about 500 layers, each one of them the surface of a sphere wrapping the entire Earth, each one a mile higher than the last and starting about 160 miles up. Now instead of just the surface of the Earth, spread those 19,000 people across those 500 spheres evenly and evenly spread them around the surface of the sphere they're on. And all of those spheres have more area than the surface of the Earth.

Now, would you consider that area "dangerously heavily populated?" On top of that, you need to shrink the people down for most of the debris.

Now, to be fair, the real test is that many of these "people" are moving really, really fast, although most of them are moving in roughly the same direction. But a few of them are going in different directions. And some of those are jumping between spheres. But it's still areas larger than the whole surface of the Earth. There have been only a tiny number of collisions between these objects. (I think the number is actually -- one.)

Like I said, space is big. Really big. Bigger than the biggest thing you can imagine. You may think it's a long way down to the pharmacy, but that's peanuts compared to space. (With apologies to Douglas Adams)

Re:BB sized debris (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40622677)

Imagine there were only 19,000 people on Earth, roughly evenly distributed. What's the chance you'd ever run into another person? Now, instead of just the land area, make sure that 3/4ths of those people are on the ocean. What are the odds of running into one of them now?

A quick back of the envelope calculation shows that the odds of running into one are, to three significant digits, 29.2/70.8 of the chance of swimming into one. I hope this helps.

That's no moon.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618547)

I'm sorry, let me hike my pants back up...

It's a space station! (1)

mat.power (2677517) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618565)

Damn you beat me to it :(

Monetized Crane Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618581)

Someone should send a space shuttle up and throw out a mega net and catch some of those 19,000 objects, you could even charge to have a crane claw attached to a commercial spaceship and charge people $100 per try to get thier own crane claw game piece of space junk. That's a win-win, money for the commercial spaceship and a cool momento for the people paying to "fly into space"

The fifth moon? Surprised. (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618601)

I am surprised the count is that low.

Pluto does not wear any clothes and I don't think it is just the fifth time they found it walking away from the camera. Surely it has done it many more times and it is not Pluto's fifth moon.

Sorry I called you Shirley.

From the article.. (1)

Grave (8234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618813)

"The Pluto team is intrigued that such a small planet can have such a complex collection of satellites."

They call it a planet. Is this a case of NASA getting confused again, ala English/Metric, or is this a subtle acknowledgement that calling it a planet makes more sense than not calling it one?

Re:From the article.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619045)

The official classification is "dwarf planet" which would likely be shortened to "planet" when there is no need to be precise (on account of "dwarf" being even more ambiguous.)

Future headline: (4, Funny)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618869)

"NASA's New Horizons spacecraft was unexpectedly destroyed today when it crashed into a previously unknown 6th moon of Pluto..."

Re:Future headline: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40618969)

"NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has been repurposed as Pluto's 8th moon after a quick series of discoveries involving the previously unknown 6th and 7th moons of the dwaf planet."

Re:Future headline: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619659)

The plutonians tell a slightly different version of these events.

Well, shoot... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618905)

...it's just a bigger shame with each discovery we couldn't field a proper orbiter to Pluto to poke around for months. Yeah, I know all the problems in accomplishing that, but still...

Next up: Snow Whites and the Dwarf Planet (1)

cruff (171569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618961)

I propose to solve the naming conundrum for the satellites of Pluto. Presumably as they are somewhat close to white in hue, just call them Snow White 1, Snow White 2, etc. Since Pluto is merely a dwarf planet, this seems fitting. If one is found to be reddish in hue, it can be called "The Poison Apple".

Re:Next up: Snow Whites and the Dwarf Planet (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619353)

Excellent observation, good sir. In fact, perhaps we could take things one step further and rename Pluto to Grumpy...or Sleepy...or perhaps Dopey?

Re:Next up: Snow Whites and the Dwarf Planet (1)

iztaru (832035) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620007)

>> to solve the naming conundrum for the satellites of Pluto.

Which one? Of all the Roman gods, Pluto is the one not short of lackeys.

Charon -> Used!
Nyx -> Used!
Hydra -> Used!
Allecto
Tisiphone
Megaera -> For the 6th

maybe not a good idea to flyby pluto (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40618983)

or any other far out solar system object

i bet we find that most of these objects are more like swarms of loosely coupled rocks

way out there, there's no sun or gas giant to sweep the area, and nothing grouped together in the earlier part so the solar system: too much distance. so it is accretion in slow motion, and, being mostly solid and cold, bits of junk that never really gelled, just sort of banged together

these cloudy wobbly grainy agglomerations are going to smash any probe we send to them

No Star Wars Reference (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619067)

30+ comments and not one "That's no moon, its a space station" reference...are slashdotters growing up? They were even on TV the other day *sigh*

Re:No Star Wars Reference (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619319)

I was two minutes late. [slashdot.org]

Re:No Star Wars Reference (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619337)

Or 15.

Flyby nice, but we need a probe in Pluto orbit (3, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619081)

A probe in orbit around every planet or dwarf planet in the solar system would seems like a fairly basic NASA objective to me.

I know that New Horizons will be using its velocity to also attempt flybys of one or more other Kuiper belt objects after it shoots through the Pluto system, and that is very worthwhile indeed, but we also seriously need a probe in orbit around Pluto itself.

I hope that they're working on such a mission already, so that when New Horizons returns Pluto data in 2015 they just need to tweak a few parameters and be ready to launch an orbital mission. Such new data could even be sent to an orbital mission that's already en route to Pluto.

Re:Flyby nice, but we need a probe in Pluto roxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619769)

Yes! A flyby to Pluto is like taking weeks to cross the U.S. from Ohio to California to see the beach, and only spending an hour or two there. What a waste of a trip and money. Some have said it would be too costly to orbit. Then how about a jettisoned lander like Hugyens or the comet impactor? Even if they couldn't hit it, they could get some really close photos. How about they strap on some solid fuel to slow it down and try to orbit? Even if they failed to orbit, they would learn and see more than a whizzing fast probe. Unfortunately, I'll be dead before they orbit or land on most of these planets and moons. Oh yea, good luck finding a Kuiper belt object. At least we know the orbit of Pluto, we don't even know how to find a Kuiper belt object, let alone navigate to one.

If they would just give me 5% of the NASA budget and access to their resources, I would create a independent, wholly-owned space exploration subsidiary that would orbit and land everywhere possible. Sample returns, too. Stop making one-offs, we've already got all the research to create barges to deliver anything we want. Sell space to other nations and companies. NASA provides the barge to get several probes, etc. to the planets and moons. Politics are the only thing impeding this. Oh yea, sending men to Mars to pick up rocks is dumb.

Re:Flyby nice, but we need a probe in Pluto roxy (2)

Necron69 (35644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620385)

This is a technology problem, not a policy problem. The New Horizons probe is doing a flyby because that is currently the _only_ way to get a probe near far away Pluto. The probe is going extremely fast and in order to decelerate into orbit of such a small planet, you'd need to be taking along a lot more fuel than that probe has on board. Alternately, you could take a much slower and longer (decades if not hundreds of years) lower energy transfer orbit.

This isn't Star Trek. NASA has to deal with real physics. Start here: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/whereis_nh.php [jhuapl.edu]

Necron69

Re:Flyby nice, but we need a probe in Pluto orbit (2)

burnttoy (754394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619813)

I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

But seriously, Mankind really needs to take a leap into a deep space network seriously.

Automated drones (lots of technology, blasted into space) sent on crazy-long orbits through the Solar System (and beyond?) bringing multi-scopic, n-D views of the heavens in every colour of radiation for less than a round of bankers KY errr... Quantitive Easing. Pfft, write it off as Job Creation.

Re:Flyby nice, but we need a probe in Pluto orbit (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40621205)

A probe in Pluto's orbit?
Why not a probe in Uranus'.

(I did not really type that, did I?)

Pluto, dwarf planet ? (1)

cooperaaaron (897474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619091)

These scientists call it a "dwarf planet" yet, it has several moons orbiting around it.... I think it is time to move Pluto, give it back the rank of FULL PLANET....

Re:Pluto, dwarf planet ? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619725)

"Dwarf Planet" is damaging to Pluto's self-esteem. It prefers the term, "Gravitationally Challenged"

Pluto is a planet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619099)

The word planet dates back to antiquity.
IAU was founded in 1919.

What gives IAU the authority to muck with definition of something prediating itself by thousands of years?

Scientists are free to develop their own definitions and language to help convey concepts with necessary precision. I however refuse to accept their self granting of authority to redefine the meaning of popular terms. Languages belongs to everyone not just members of IAU. Internal votes conducted mostly to whore attention don't cut it.

Pluto will always be a planet to me for as long as I exist. Anyone who feels the need to correct me can go fuck themselves as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Pluto is a planet (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#40620221)

Anyone who feels the need to correct me can go fuck themselves as far as I'm concerned.

You can't correct a statement like that. You can mock, but not correct.

Sure, define a long string of dental floss as a "one piece" because it's physically contiguous, if that fills your love glove. Your other topological suggestion I'll not take up.

One small question though: if the string bikini top and the string bikini bottom are connected together only at brass rings, does it still count as a one piece, or is continuity beginning to crumble? What if the brass rings pierce the belly skin, so that the two halves are difficult to remove ensemble? Still a one piece? Now I've seen some arrangements of brass rings I'd have to classify as a three piece, if the rings were water soluble. So many categories, so little time.

Re:Pluto is a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40621851)

The word planet dates back to antiquity.
IAU was founded in 1919.

What gives IAU the authority to muck with definition of something prediating itself by thousands of years?

Well, Pluto was discovered in 1930, and thousands of years ago, no one knew that objects like Pluto existed. To be pedantic, they never really defined this type of object

Pluto will always be a planet to me for as long as I exist.

I won't get upset with the scientists for reclassifying it, I understand why they did it, and I even think it was the correct decision, but in my heart Pluto is and shall ever remain a planet.

Re:Pluto is a planet (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40622235)

Pluto will always be a planet to me for as long as I exist. Anyone who feels the need to correct me can go fuck themselves as far as I'm concerned.

So when discussing large bodies in space we might have an interest in sending probes to, how do you single out those eight bodies from the millions upon millions of planets you think our solar system has?

We changed the definition because instead of 9 interesting objects in one group, the old definition means we have millions of planets and no way to distinguish the rare few large ones.
The new definition separates the eight large bodies we are interested in, from the millions upon millions of rocks out there.

There can not be nine planets, ever, under either definition. There are either eight, or millions. The former definition is not useful at all to us, while the newer one is.

What possible benefit do you get by claiming there are millions of planets and Jupiter is in the same group as this 2" diameter rock in my yard?
Do you honestly think we will find any life at all living on dust in space? Then why group the dust together with objects like Earth and Mars?

Re:Pluto is a planet (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40623295)

What gives IAU the authority to muck with definition of something prediating itself by thousands of years?

This implies you still believe a planet should keep it's original definition of "wandering star", so it follows you must also have an interseting definition of "star" - can you tell the rest of us what it is?

I cant believe it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619291)

How can Hubble see object of size 5mm from 4.3 billion kilometers distance ?

Obligatory? (0)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619301)

Hubble Discovers 5th Moon of Pluto

That's no moon.... that's a battle station.

An Historic? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40619309)

Is the poster British?

Just because you silence the H doesn't mean you can add an N.

Re:An Historic? (2)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#40623953)

Just because you silence the H doesn't mean you can add an N.

It does, actually. The a/an selection is based entirely on pronunciation, and has nothing to do with how the following word is spelled. It's one of the rare cases where correct grammar is based on the accent of the speaker.

Please explain. (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619443)

How is it that we're finding planets dozens to hundreds of light years away, yet we still don't know how many moons the planets in our own solar system have?

Comets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40623133)

I suspect that the slew of newly discovered moons over the last few years is in fact an indication that our solar system is currently passing through a big cluster of debris and that these news moons are in fact comets which have been newly captured in planetary gravity wells.

Why do I think this? Several reasons, one of which being that the Earth has been seeing a great deal more crap falling out of the sky than even five years ago.

Unnamed? (1)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619545)

How is this and the other (the 4th one from last year) still unnamed? One would think they'd just have a sheet of names ready to go at this point, like they do with hurricanes. Nyx is already up there as a moon of Pluto, we can't name her brother Erebus? Why not some of Pluto's assistants: Aeacus, Minos, or Rhadamanthus?

Dear Pluto, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40620113)

Fuck you Pluto, you're not even a planet, asshole!

Sincerely,

IAU

Woot Woot! (1)

morian97 (1325925) | more than 2 years ago | (#40621015)

But any signs of water?

not a moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40622269)

Dont you mean newly equired space rock.
How big is it, when was it first identified?
Pluto will always be a cast out moon, as thee others hahaha, nice try. :0

mod down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40622703)

BSD sux0rs. Wh4t atround return it formed his own
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