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NASA Space Science

Pluto Probe Snaps Jupiter Pictures 133

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the eye-in-the-sky dept.
sighted writes "The New Horizons probe, on its way to Pluto and beyond, is now speeding toward Jupiter. Today the team released some of the early data and pictures, which are the first close-range shots of the giant planet since the robotic Cassini spacecraft passed that way in 2001."
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Pluto Probe Snaps Jupiter Pictures

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  • by muindaur (925372) * on Friday January 19, 2007 @06:41AM (#17678838) Journal
    Nasa has discovered Jupiters gas was produced by CowboyNeal.
    • by Thuktun (221615)
      Like the Planet Express ship, I notice the New Horizons spacecraft has a carbonated logic unit dubbed PEPSSI. [jhuapl.edu]
  • Does anybody know how long does it take for the photo data to be transmitted from that far away (Both Jupiter and Pluto)? Hours or days? I am still pretty amazed that we can send a probe into space and receive pictures from Jupiter.
    • by rumith (983060) on Friday January 19, 2007 @06:46AM (#17678864)
      10 hours from Pluto in average. 45 minutes from Jupiter in average. Don't know whether they'll in their aphelion or perihelion now, so can't say more precisely.
      • by rucs_hack (784150) on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:09AM (#17678980)
        their exact position today can be found in the JPL Horizons database
        http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi [nasa.gov]

        so using Sol as Origin [0,0,0], with distance in km and km/s velocity measures:
        XYZ position and velocity in Km and Km/sec
        V prefix = velocity,

        Jupiter
        A.D. 2007-Jan-19 00:00:00.0000 (CT)
          X =-3.523007925524937E+08 Y =-7.203651223053448E+08 Z = 1.087397270750013E+07
          VX= 1.158611696091788E+01 VY=-5.127849980674650E+00 VZ=-2.378734986696975E-01

        Earth
          A.D. 2007-Jan-19 00:00:00.0000 (CT)
          X =-7.005151113800500E+07 Y = 1.294518808525130E+08 Z =-1.647040773451328E+03
          VX=-2.669513206382950E+01 VY=-1.429493892074527E+01 VZ=-5.052885705412180E-04

        And the Horizons probe itself is here:
        A.D. 2007-Jan-19 00:00:00.0000 (CT)
          X =-3.141011231236297E+08 Y =-6.673772181265557E+08 Z = 9.200702373118341E+06
          VX= 1.154291925552546E-01 VY=-1.978644188955009E+01 VZ= 1.493924692614632E-01

        However it's too early to work out the times taken for signals to travel based on these positions. I need more coffee.
        • by KiloByte (825081) on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:31AM (#17679064)
          Pythagoras' theorem says the distance in R3 (ie, euclidean space) is sqrt((x1-x2)^2+(y1-y2)^2+(z1-z2)^2).
          That is, the distance between Earth and Jupiter right now is: 8.95528824E8 km.

          Dividing that by c gives 2987 seconds. So, right now the half-ping is 50 minutes.

          By similar calculation, you can get that EarthNew Horizons is 2779.975 s =~ 46 minutes.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by beckerist (985855)
            A cool slight diversion: this is exactly the reverse process of how Ole Roemer [wikipedia.org] in the 1670's came up with his estimate of the speed of light.
            • by beckerist (985855)
              Except, of course, for the fact that it was Io used as a point of reference instead of the probe... But hey, a satellite is a satellite! :-)
            • Another cool slight diversion, Rene Descartes said that:

              "if the speed of light is ever found to be anything other than infinite then it may be said that I know nothing in matters of philosophy"

              So all those who quote his "Cogito ergo sum" should think again!
          • you stole rucs-hacks coffee? that's just mean
        • does anyone else here think it seems a bit odd to print a number with 16 decimal places then stick an E+08 at the end, why not just an 8 digit number with 8 decimal places?

          i do actually know the TECHNICAL answer: one digit, followed by a bunch of decimal places followed by an exponent is standard scientific notation. Still looks bizzarro to me though
          • by rucs_hack (784150)
            I frequently include all values after the decimal place up to the first zero. That seems to help precision. If you cut the number down and remove non zero values, it can really hurt accuracy.

            It definatelly helps when it comes to Phobos and Deimos, they are a pain to get right.
          • by mdwh2 (535323)
            does anyone else here think it seems a bit odd to print a number with 16 decimal places then stick an E+08 at the end, why not just an 8 digit number with 8 decimal places?

            It means you can see at a glance how big it is, without having to count the digits.

            I'm more curious that they think they can measure Jupiter's position to a fraction of a millimetre, or the velocities to a fraction of a nanometre per second...
            • I'm more curious that they think they can measure Jupiter's position to a fraction of a millimetre, or the velocities to a fraction of a nanometre per second...
              These accuracies result from the mathematics. Why toss out digits simply because we can't be absolutely certain to the fraction of a millimeter/nanosecond of any given celestial object? It costs nothing to keep them and they allow the numbers to be independently verified.
              • millimeter/nanosecond of any given celestial object
                ...millimeter/nanosecond of the position of any given celestial object...

                Cranky

              • by bmo (77928)
                "These accuracies result from the mathematics. Why toss out digits simply because we can't be absolutely certain"

                Because extra digits do not equal accuracy.

                To put it another way, those numbers are nothing more than visual noise. If you can measure something to only four decimal places, it makes absolutely no sense to use any numbers after the fourth decimal place, as they don't represent anything _at all_.

                The real world is not like a high-school math class. You don't get any "attaboys" for meaningless ext
          • by jslater25 (1005503) on Friday January 19, 2007 @10:21AM (#17681094)
            I like to write zero as 0.00E8. How do you write zero?
          • by geobeck (924637) on Friday January 19, 2007 @10:59AM (#17681712) Homepage

            does anyone else here think it seems a bit odd to print a number with 16 decimal places then stick an E+08 at the end...

            I just think the 16 decimal places are kind of overkill because, by the time you write them down, everything after the fifth or sixth one has changed because the objects are moving relative to each other.

        • by FallOfDay (1053148) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:45AM (#17679782)
          The rough & ready, easy-on-the-eye (!), pictorial version is as follows:
          http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/whereis_nh.php [jhuapl.edu]
          • by Jugalator (259273)
            Celestia [shatters.net] fans may find an add-on [celestiamotherlode.net] with improved Pluto orbit accuracy, New Horizons orbital data, and a model for the probe useful for tracking the spacecraft.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by AvyTech (942143)
          I just got grrly wood. Yay for me.

          • pics or it didn't happen :D

            LOL couldn't resist

            (oh and btw the captcha for this post just happens to be "immature"... go figure!!!)
            • by AvyTech (942143)
              And there I thought my maturity level was through the roof with all that tickly action. In all seriousness, though, That calculation just blew up part of my brain. Not that I was using that particular area, but still.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bucko (15043)
      The New Horizons Site [jhuapl.edu] keeps track of the spacecraft position and distance. According to the last mission update, the light travel time is now over 1h 30m.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by duh P3rf3ss3r (967183)
        According to the last mission update, the light travel time is now over 1h 30m.
        I have no idea where you got that. From the page you sent us to, the distance to the spacecraft is currently 5.57AU. Dividing that by c gives 2779.46 s or 46.32 minutes. Perhaps it's written somewhere on that site that the round trip light time is just over an hour nd a half. But that's not at all the same thing.
    • by Tom Womack (8005) <tom@womack.net> on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:29AM (#17679054) Homepage
      http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/science/data_collection.ht ml [jhuapl.edu] says that the transmission is at 38kbit/second from Jupiter, and will be at around 450bit/second from Pluto.

      Cassini runs at 82kbit/second from Saturn, but it's a probe with a larger power budget.

      The imager takes one-megapixel, 16bpp images, and compresses them to 100kbyte files for initial transmission, saving the originals in a few gigabytes of onboard flash; it can be instructed to send back uncompressed images if there's something interesting visible.

      So an image takes about 20 seconds to transmit, plus about six minutes if you want the uncompressed version; and it takes 45 minutes to get to Earth from Jupiter. From Pluto, the images will take half an hour for the preview and twelve hours for the uncompressed image.
      • by gsslay (807818) on Friday January 19, 2007 @09:24AM (#17680264)
        Unfortunately it then zips the compressed image into a self-extracting exe, so NASA's anti-virus strips it off at the mail server.
      • Unfortunately high speed cable internet connections are not available beyond the orbit of Jupiter.
      • The challenge of getting the data from Pluto, once it's acquired, is definitely non-trivial.

        New Horizons has a total of 8 GB of redundant solid state (flash) memory to save data as it's taken. Divide that by the the 450 baud the parent mentioned, and you can see that to broadcast all of that data to earth would take about 7 months, not including overhead related to operating the probe and previewing the most important data.

        In fact, New Horizons will perform it's observations of Pluto and Charon nearly
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      Does anybody know how long does it take for the photo data to be transmitted from that far away (Both Jupiter and Pluto)? Hours or days?

      Note that many of the images will be stored onboard and sent after the main encounters are done. This is because it uses up time and fuel to aim the probe back and forth between antenna alignment with earth and science instruments.

      To cut costs, New Horizons rotates the whole probe to aim instruments instead of having movable instruments (unlike Voyagers, which had movable
  • by simm1701 (835424) on Friday January 19, 2007 @06:54AM (#17678908)
    .. that pluto isn't a planet any more???

    I certainly hope so, otherwise it could get really embarrassed when it tries to ask for directions!!
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:04AM (#17678952)
    Except Europa. Attempt no landings there.
  • A year already?! I remember the launch, but why is it so easy to forget these awesome achievements. Some, perhaps, take for granted what it takes to get something so fragile as 'New Horizons' to get into space...Very impressive picture too. What an age we live in!
  • heh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:11AM (#17679370) Homepage
    Pluto Probe Snaps Jupiter Pictures

    Doctor Manhatten Outraged!
  • probe (Score:1, Funny)

    by hachete (473378)
    when does it get to probe Uranus?

    Thankyou, thankyou. I'll be here all week. Try the chopped liver.
  • New Horizons will be soon exactly 4,000,000,000,000 meters away from 134340 Pluto at 2007-01-19 18:49:08 UTC.

    http://www.yaohua2000.org/cgi-bin/New%20Horizons.p l [yaohua2000.org]

    Mac widget for tracking New Horizons: http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/status/ma gicnumber.html [apple.com]

  • APL??? (Score:3, Funny)

    by markhb (11721) on Friday January 19, 2007 @09:19AM (#17680216) Journal
    What is this APL [jhuapl.edu], and why are they named after a programming language with its own character set [wikipedia.org]?
  • Just to give you a sense of scale for Jupiter, the Earth would fit nicely into the Great Red Spot (N/S dims of red spot are almost exactly the same as the diameter of Earth).
    • Jupiter's diet must be working. I was always told that three earths side by side could fit into the big red spot. n/s one, but three side by side.
      • by argStyopa (232550)
        Can't comment on the diet, but according to wiki:
        12-14,000 km high by 24-40,000 km wide.

        Earth is about 12,750 km diameter.

        So yeah, at it's fullest you could fit 3 wide, but only the center one would fit completely widthwise.
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      Just to give you a sense of scale for Jupiter, the Earth would fit nicely into the Great Red Spot (N/S dims of red spot are almost exactly the same as the diameter of Earth).

      I told you those corporate mergers would doom the Earth.
           
  • Just an Opinion... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Friday January 19, 2007 @10:15AM (#17681012) Homepage
    I'm really excited about New Horizons. It's a really exciting mission that almost didn't get the support it needed. If you do some Googling you can find out the full story about it.

    Hell, I know Pluto isn't considered a planet... but that to me makes NH even more exciting. Pluto is a large KBO (Kuiper Belt Object) and as such has the potential to be a very early remnant of the formation of our solar system. As such, investigating this object and Charon, it's "moon" has the potential to teach us far more about the early existence of the solar system than investigating many other objects. To be honest, I'm MORE excited about a trip to a relatively unknown and uncharted object such as a KBO than I would be over the exploration of another planet (despite the fact that these are arbitrary designations at best)

    The NEAR mission was fascinating for the same reason. It was investigation of a relatively unknown object and we learned far more about the nature of asteroids and other deep space objects during that mission than we ever thought possible. If NH even returns half of the information about Pluto that NEAR returned about the asteroid Eros then we will learn an incredible amount about our solar system, and maybe change a few models about solar system formation that might just change some minds.

    Good show, NASA. Sometimes you're the butt of a lot of jokes, but there are times you manage some truly remarkable missions (the mars rovers for one) that increase our understanding of the universe and just really excite science geeks like me :)
  • by Chacham (981)
    I still think Jupiter looks like a giant wood chip.

    The linked picture is here [jhuapl.edu].
  • The headline made me think of a Mitch Hedburg [wikipedia.org] type joke...

    "Pluto Probe Snaps Jupiter Pictures"
    Well then they F***ed up.
  • Wha??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cervantes (612861) on Friday January 19, 2007 @10:55AM (#17681646) Journal
    "Pluto Probe Snaps Jupiter Pictures"

    Holy crap, they made another metric/imperial conversion error!
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Friday January 19, 2007 @12:52PM (#17683584) Journal
    ...and they forgot to load the cameras up with colour film.
  • Damn, it's still there!

    Those Jovians sure are persistent. :-(

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