And that was only the beginning of that mission
The most recent update hopefully makes it a lot more useable with including both attribution of the work and an explanation of what the picture is about. As always, there is a link to the original page, and I plan on adding sorting features soon.
I hope this helps more people get exposed to the beauty of outer space and the very awe inspiring things humans have done!
I appreciate the feedback!
It also reminded me of the astronomy course I took in university that taught me how much astronomy is about logical deduction. Deducing what must be there based on orbits and how it obscures light from stars, shadows, etc. And then going out there and validing all of it. That's beautiful.
As a computer vision/imaging person, that's a pretty far look for a 75mm (~3 inch) mirror. It's like trying to take a picture of the Empire State building in NYC from Las Vegas with a tripod telescope.
Even with such a small primary mirror, New Horizons has a number of advantages. First, Ultima Thule is larger than Manhattan. Not exactly large, but certainly bigger than the Empire State Building.
Second, the mount is incredibly stable. There are basically no vibrations to speak of. As an amateur astronomer, I can tell you that the mount is one of the most important pieces of equipment in astrophotography. A mediocre telescope on a good mount will give good images. A good telescope on a mediocre mount will give mediocre images.
Third, the mirror itself is much better designed and manufactured than the average amateur astronomer's scope. Certainly better than any of mine.
Fourth, the sensor is cooled to very low temperatures, so it is way less noisy than the average consumer sensor.
Fifth, there is no atmosphere in the way. This is a huge advantage.
When all is said and done, LORRI will have a resolution on Ultima Thule's surface of about 60 feet. Certainly no Google Earth, but plenty good enough for the science objects of the flyby.
My point remains though, and it was just a general metaphor about how astounding the stuff they are trying to do is from an imaging perspective.
EDIT: The full download of the gigabytes of data from the flyby will take 20 months to download.
The best shots won't be for a while, but hopefully the team received some informative images today or tonight and will be able to share them at tomorrow's press conference. As she notes, there is a chance that the first downloads will miss Ultima Thule entirely. The encounter was just that difficult.
As for LORRI and Ralph, can't we call them both "primary?" Only Ralph produces color images, so most color shots of Pluto are Ralph's (https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/639/the-frozen-canyon...).
LORRI has higher resolution, which is why some of the most stunning shots of Pluto are black and white (https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/652/plutos-majestic-m...).
Some images were produced by "painting" Ralph's colors onto LORRI's high resolution features (https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/699/pluto-dazzles-in-...).
Which was Really Hard, because that is a tiny object to use as a gravitational anchor. About the mass of a terrestrial mountain. The precision is incredible.
Casino's Grand Finale ( for JPL) : https://vimeo.com/210782375
To be clear, something that "doesn't last long" on an astronomical timescale could still quite happily exist stably for several dozen human lifetimes.
"And we hope to hunt down one more KBO — one more Kuiper Belt object — and make an even more distant flyby in the 2020s," Stern added [...] New Horizons [...] has enough juice [...] to keep the power on through the mid to late 2030s, he said.”
Not much yet.
I say NASA’s budget could be much greater. And employment for all could be guaranteed. Political movements to the otherwise are bad for society. They actively hurt society and guard against betterment. We’re talking dark ages vs progress.
More often the complaint is "I hate that you are spending money on space rather on the things I am interested in".
The cost of that would be relatively close to nil (except for those who'd rather you see you with no choice at all).
Let's say you are right.
I do not want taxes turned into a market. Doing that is a patch for not doing civics better in the first place.
When more of us get involved, the funding scenario inproves right a long with a lot of overdue things.
I am completely willing to revisit this idea when we are doing more of the basics right.
(What is true is that the only people to have seen the far side of the moon directly are white male Americans, but New Horizons is not a manned mission)
"Two NASA employees received awards at Saturday’s (Feb. 11, 2017) annual Black Engineer of the Year Award gala in Washington."
The movie "Hidden Figures" showed some of the problems NASA culture had with integration, this Air and Space article shows more of that struggle.
"How NASA Joined the Civil Rights Revolution
Integration came to the nation’s space agency in the mid-1960s"
seems like a waste of a very unique opportunity.
All-in-all, it seems unlikely that a golden record would be all that useful.
"Perhaps the records will never be intercepted. Perhaps no one in five billion years will ever come upon them.
Five billion years is a long time. In five billion years, all human beings will have become extinct or evolved into other beings, none of our artifacts will have survived on Earth, the continents will have become unrecognizably altered or destroyed, and the evolution of the Sun will have burned the Earth to a crisp or reduced it to a whirl of atoms.
Far from home, untouched by these remote events, the Voyagers, bearing the memories of a world that is no more, will fly on."
- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
The probe itself is interesting enough, and there are many reasons to be reserved about how much self-describing information we voluntarily share with completely unknown aliens.
I personally find comfort in knowing there's nearly zero possibility of anything intelligent finding voyager intact.
Well 'vast', yes, but not much else. Mainly rock and ices.