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New Horizons and the Future Beyond

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Juice, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Juice

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    I dont know about the rest of you, but Ive been gobbling up all of the new data New Horizons has been sending back recently. For those out of the look, its a space probe about the size of a grand piano thats been rocketing towards Pluto for almost 10 years now.

    Over the last week or so, some of the images its captured of the dwarf planet have been coming back:

    [​IMG]

    And Pluto with one of its moons, Charon:

    [​IMG]

    These are the first clear images we have of Pluto, and after it takes a 9 hour fly-by, New Horizons will just keep rocketing into space forever.

    Focus: New Horizons and what it means.

    Alt Focus:
    Whats the future of space exploration? Many skeptics think we (humans) may never get out of the solar system, but I have hope.
     
  2. The Village Idiot

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    I think we'll get out of the solar system eventually, but certainly not in my lifetime. Given that even at the speed of light, it would take years to traverse the galaxy, you either need to figure out a way to cross vast distances quickly or figure out a way to 'freeze' people and microwave them when they get to where they're going.

    The reason I think that is thinking back to the 1800's, did anyone seriously believe that we'd be on the moon in less than a 100 years? Sure, science fiction had stories about it, but to go from being able to traverse the US on a train to landing on the moon is a huge leap. I suspect that there'll be many more such leaps in the future as technology improves - and someday, someone will look back at us and say 'did anyone seriously believe we'd travel to distant galaxies at will back in the early 2000's?'
     
  3. Juice

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    We were born too late to explore the world and too early to explore the galaxy. Space is so darn big. Nevermind the fact we are eons from a fuel source thats capable of doing that and the theory of relatively says its impossible. Thats why I like the movie (and book) Contact. It would have to be some kind of worm-hole travel to be able to reasonably do anything.
     
  4. The Village Idiot

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    I'm not sure about that. My gut tells me the method of 'travel' - and I use that term loosely - that would enable such travel hasn't even been thought of in the wildest sci fi novel. It will be something that if we were around for it, we'd exclaim 'Holy fuck, no one ever thought of that!.'
     
  5. Crown Royal

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    Voyager 1 and 2 is now in instersteller overdrive and beyond the solar winds of the sun. Those two spacecraft were launched s month or so before I was born. HOWEVER to leave the Oort Cloud-- the actual gravitational field of our solar system-- will take another 300 years. And that's just one tiny star we float around. There are at least 150 billion galaxies out there pack with hundreds of millions to TRILLIONS of stars in each of them in the Visible Universe, kids. There's a Quasar out there found by Hubble with an X-ray light trail 13 MILLION LIGHT YEARS WIDE.

    We are going fucking NOWHERE, and NOBODY is arriving here alive. The next closest star is AlphaCenturi and its five light years away with one planet, a dead one too close to it in the "Death Zone".

    Is there other life in the universe? Hell yes. Will we ever meet it? Hell no. Not unless we can find or project a wormhole.
     
  6. Currer Bell

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    When I was a kid and would watch sci fi movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, there would be references to light speed, etc, but I was too caught up in the stories to consider the impossibleness of what they were doing. The first story I encountered that actually discussed the challenge of trying to cross vast sections of space was A Wrinkle in Time. The funny part was that they kind of glossed over how they overcome the distance. It seemed more like magic than science, but again the story was compelling enough for me to go along with it.

    Long story short, I vote for exploring space via wrinkles.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Rush-O-Matic

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    [​IMG]

    I love New Horizons and hope it and other "space stuff" fosters the adventurous spirit in kids, so they will want to grow up and keep developing and exploring.

    This is one of my favorite time-killing websites: http://www.solarsystemscope.com
     
  8. Kubla Kahn

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    I thought I read the concept of warp travel is looking more and more theoretically possible?
     
  9. Nettdata

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    isaac-asimov.jpg
     
  10. Crown Royal

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    Its either possible or impossible. The Large Hadron Collider's booster fires a particle beam about 9 mph lower than light speed, and requires a 17 mile chain of solenoid magnets to keep it from drilling a hole through, well, anything. That energy so far is unprecedented. Getting a human being to ride something travelling over 675,000,000 mph may be further off then they lead us to believe.
     
  11. TJMax

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    Getting ten pounds to 99% of the speed of light would take all the power produced worldwide in ten days. As far as warp drive (effectively faster-than-light travel), the best idea we have is the Alcubierre drive. It would depend on some quantity of matter possessing negative mass, something we can predict the consequences of but don't think ever actually occurs, and would also need some ungodly amount of energy we could never produce. Alcubierre himself doesn't think it can be done.

    For even sub-luminal interstellar travel, the biggest hurdle is energy production. Can we pull the power out of thin ai... Er, vacuum? Build ramscoops? Then we have radiation shielding and other issues; we have the propulsion to take us to Mars, and that might not happen in our lifetimes.
     
    #11 TJMax, Jul 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  12. Crown Royal

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    Here he finally is, kids. And it looks like it snows on Pluto. SCIENCE!!!!!

    image.jpg o

    After this the ship heads off into the Kuiper belt for the next 300 years to hunt for comets. So fucking amazing I got to see this in my lifetime.
     
    #12 Crown Royal, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  13. E. Tuffmen

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    Fuckin' A. I am so geeked out about this I can't even put it into words. I've been hanging on every word, every picture. No other generation that has ever lived has seen what Pluto actually looks like. Hell, we only just discovered two of its moons in 2011 and 2012 respectively. And Charon wasn't discovered until 1978. Crazy. THIS is the kind of stuff humanity should be focused on. Not new ways to blow each other the fuck up.
     
  14. The Village Idiot

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    Agreed, I'm so excited over this. It's really cool when they start explaining the mind boggling distances involved in this voyage.
     
  15. Crown Royal

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    Unite the Nine.

    image.jpg

    I was at the Aerospace museum in D.C. When Voyager II hit Neptune back in '89 it was geek party time there. It was the most perfect shade of blue I've ever seen, so beautiful and tranquil-looking. Who knew it actually sandblasts itself with 1300 mph winds.
     
  16. Nettdata

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  17. Nettdata

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    And how fucking awesome is it that this is the bumper sticker NASA gave the team:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Crown Royal

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    This one cracked me up

    image.jpg
     
  19. Rush-O-Matic

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    My favorite bit there:
    The next 16 months of data dump, I think, is mostly non-photographic scientific data. It's not there's going to be another planet they can loop around to return to Pluto if they forgot something.
     
  20. Crown Royal

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    Adding to this awesomeness, here's a composite photo showing temperature changes on Pluto and Charon. It's far from a "dead world", even without life.

    image.jpg