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Space Science

New Horizons Probe's Images of Jupiter 86

SeaDour writes "The Pluto-bound New Horizons space probe, launched a little over a year ago, recently succeeded in passing through a narrow navigational keyhole by Jupiter. Using the gas giant's tremendous gravity, the craft now has a significant boost toward its final destination, shaving three years off the time it would otherwise spend en-route. As it passed through the Jovian system, the probe took some fantastic images of the neighborhood, including detailed observations of erupting volcanoes on Io, time-lapse photography of Jupiter's tumultuous atmosphere, and the faint ring system that was first discovered in Voyager photography. These new images prove the capabilities of the small probe, which is set to reach Pluto in 2015."
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New Horizons Probe's Images of Jupiter

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  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:20PM (#18326015)
    Seriously? We launch a gajillion dollar probe, chance it in a sling around the largest planet in our solar system to only save 3 years, and we get black and white photos that have more noise than my cell-phone's camera!?

    This is how the first computers looked like []. And this is how their "hard drives" looked like [].

    It was expensive as hell, and the returns were minimal. They dared to do it first, and to improve upon their experience, so today the neighbor kid can whine how he has to wait entire 7 seconds for his physically accurate and photo realistic 3D racing car simulator game to load the entire race track, complete with realistically behaving crowd, plants and atmospheric effects.

    NASA reached Pluto with a remotely controlled probe deep in space. You ranted in Slashdot. Congratulations to both for your great achievements.
  • by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:25PM (#18326071)
    You're kidding right? All high-end scientific cameras are monochromatic (cameras for microscopy and astronomy). This is because a "color" CCD is essentially just an approximation of what a RGB image would look like. For scientific purposes, you do NOT want a fixed color imager to be adding or subtracting data. You want imaging at particular visible wavelengths (as directed by specific filters). If you want to make a color image, you can individually take pictures at 3 visible wavelengths (e.g. RGB) and combine them. This is what the Mars rovers do. Color doesn't automatically equate mean better. Sometimes it means you get prettier images, but they're rarely more valuable than imaging with specific filters. For example, infrared and UV can also be used to image. You don't get the pretty pictures except by false coloring, but you sure as heck get a lot of valuable measurements.

    Nice attempt at a rant/trolling, but maybe you don't know what you're talking about.

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:45PM (#18326257) Homepage Journal
    Probe has a finite design life. Save three years, improve the chance it will work when it's needed.
  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bad D.N.A. ( 753582 ) <baddna@gma i l .com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:06PM (#18326473)
    Man... I guess that all of these scientists are really dumb and they should start taking your opinion seriously... right?

    You do not launch a god dam cell phone camera on a billion dollar mission and hope to hell that it works.

    Do you have any idea at all what it costs to qualify flight hardware?

    Take your cost, no matter what it is, and add a couple of million to it. That is at best a starting point. That includes the fact that your cell phone would not work in a high radiation environment. The CCD would be blasted by the radiation environment.

    Remember that the launch cost alone is outrageous. The instrument costs are a very small part of the total cost of the mission. A typical instrument costs around 15 million. That includes the design, development, construction, qualification, and scientific analysis of the data.

    Before you pass judgment on what is and is not acceptable, please acknowledge that you are not qualified to pass such judgment.
  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:17PM (#18327105)
    Ding, ding, ding!

    NASA (tag-teaming with fweeky): 1
    Slashdot armchair cynic: 0

    I don't suppose the GP has ever tried taking a picture of Jupiter with his fancy camera phone, either. He might find it a little blurry, very grainy, and surprisingly dark. Add in a little radiation and interference from moving through Jupiter's magnetic field and then transmit it 150 million miles, and layer on top of it spectrographic and radar data from the other instruments and you realize the OP's $450 (mass-produced price) cell phone with it's 3mm lens doesn't even count as a toy in comparison.

    When you consider that the best images we have of Pluto currently (from the Hubble) are about 0.0005 megapixels of surface data and that New Horizons will pass a fraction of the distance from Pluto that it did from Jupiter, you begin to understand how much bang-for-the-buck this mission has to offer in understanding a body that may be one of the most numerous and least understood type of objects (KBO's) in our solar system.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato