CR4 - The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion ®


Previous in Forum: Circuitry for Peltier Condenser   Next in Forum: Higher and Deeper :)
Close
Close
Close
17 comments
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5013
Good Answers: 126

New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 8:14 AM

A Continuing Mission

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured the world's attention when it buzzed Pluto in July 2015. In January 2019, it will set another record when it reaches another object in the outer edges of the solar system. Known as 2014 MU69, the ancient object will provide insight into the early life of the sun and its planets. Unlike other things explored by spacecraft, the tiny chip of ice and rock will be the first to be explored by a spacecraft launched before its discovery. Both Pluto and 2014 MU69 lie within the Kuiper Belt, a collection of icy rocks that surrounds the outer reaches of the solar system. These objects are thought to be pristine samples from the early solar system, cast out into the boundary zone through gravitational interactions with the larger objects that would grow into planets. Examining them should reveal insight into what was happening in the solar system in the first stages of its lifetime.

Beyond Pluto

As early as 2003, the National Academy of Sciences' Planetary Decadal Survey strongly recommended that the visit to Pluto include flybys of small Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs). Observing multiple targets would provide greater insight into the previously unexplored segment of the solar system. New Horizons launched in 2006 with extra fuel for such a flyby, and its power and communications systems are prepared to work at distances beyond Pluto's orbit for years to come. In 2011, mission scientists used ground-based telescopes to begin searching for a second target, but none of the new discoveries lay within the reach of New Horizons. In 2014, the Hubble Space Telescope joined the search, locating five potential objects. One of them was 2014 MU69, which was labeled 1110113Y after its June 26, 2014, discovery and PT1 ("potential target 1") after its elevation to one of two possible destinations. In August 2015, the mission team selected 2014 MU69 as its next potential target.

"2014 MU69 is a great choice because it is just the kind of ancient KBO, formed where it orbits now, that the Decadal Survey desired us to fly by," New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement. "Moreover, this KBO costs less fuel to reach [than other candidate targets], leaving more fuel for the flyby, for ancillary science, and greater fuel reserves to protect against the unforeseen."

Article Continues Here

Register to Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that, still doing it. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 11832
Good Answers: 741
#1

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 10:43 AM

I knew they were planning to pick another KBO, other than Pluto, to flyby. I'm glad they announced this. It is intriguing that this KBO was unknown at launch. Hopefully the New Horizons spacecraft does not discover an unknown KBO before reaching this new target.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Register to Reply
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5013
Good Answers: 126
#2
In reply to #1

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 11:07 AM

It's funny, I know the up close pictures of this Kuiper Belt object will probably just look like this (if we're lucky):

Yet I'm still excited. Just the thought of visiting places that far away is impressive, even if they are just essentially frozen snowballs in space.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2715
Good Answers: 97
#3

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 11:45 AM

Just a note: the bright object in the picture is not 2014 MU69, but rather the diagonal line of faint dots showing its motion against the background stars:

Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5013
Good Answers: 126
#4
In reply to #3

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 12:07 PM

I was wondering what I was seeing, that makes much more sense, not used to seeing background stars so big. Cool video!

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2715
Good Answers: 97
#5
In reply to #4

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 12:32 PM

The object is very faint and small, only about 30 miles in diameter. Apparent magnitude 27, and so only the biggest telescopes can see it. It is also a reddish colour; I'm guessing due to the presence of tholins on its surface, maybe? Tholins give Pluto its reddish hue.

Register to Reply
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5013
Good Answers: 126
#7
In reply to #5

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 12:44 PM

Very cool. Tiny but luckily in the right place!

I would expect the stars to still be point like, even at that magnification. Do you think the apparent width of the stars in the image is just from overexposure?

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2715
Good Answers: 97
#9
In reply to #7

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:04 PM

I think that's a pretty safe bet. Given this object's extreme faintness, the exposure times would have to be pretty long even for a large telescope. Not sure though why the star smudges appear elongated.

Register to Reply
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5013
Good Answers: 126
#13
In reply to #9

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:51 PM

You bring up an interesting question regarding the elongation. I've tried looking for an answer but haven't found anything yet. It really all depends on how the exposure for those images are being done. If you find anything, please post because I've very interested if it has to do with the Earth's orbital motion around the Sun or Hubble hitting it's limit to correct for it's own orbital motion around the Earth, or something else altogether.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2715
Good Answers: 97
#15
In reply to #13

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:58 PM

The reaction wheels used to orient Hubble and Kepler have been nothing but trouble and so I'm thinking the elongation may be due to a slight drift in the telescope's orientation during the exposures.

Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that, still doing it. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 11832
Good Answers: 741
#8
In reply to #5

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:02 PM

I've always wondered if the Tholian web of Star Trek TOS was an "Easter Egg" nod to the discovery by Carl Sagan and Bishun Khare of Tholin chemistry?

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2715
Good Answers: 97
#10
In reply to #8

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:09 PM

That's an interesting thought! Compare also the colour of tholins ...

... with the colour of Loskene, the Tholian starship commander:

Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that, still doing it. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 11832
Good Answers: 741
#11
In reply to #10

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:24 PM

I clearly have this backwards. According to Wikipedia, Sagan and Khare published their Tholin paper in 1979. While they may have been doing the preliminary work when that episode aired the Star Trek writers would not have known of the work.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2715
Good Answers: 97
#12
In reply to #11

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:33 PM

Oh no! Maybe Judy Burns and Chet Richards are two of them! I dunno, does a spatial interphase lend itself to time travel?

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2715
Good Answers: 97
#14
In reply to #11

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 1:54 PM

Hard to say when Sagan actually coined the term. It first appeared in print in his 1979 paper, but that doesn't say anything about when he first coined it, and research (not Sagan's necessarily) on these compounds dates back at least to 1952. Also, Gene Roddenberry consulted with a lot of scientists for the show, and some of them may have worked with or knew Carl Sagan personally. Sagan also worked closely with TV production people for his own, later show, Cosmos. So, yeah, there may actually be a connection. Also the choice of colour for the Tholian commander being nearly identical to the actual colour of tholins? Yeah, it could be a coincidence of course, but pretty unlikely I should think.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1900
Good Answers: 59
#6

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/03/2017 12:44 PM

Is it habitable?

It's like waiting for Christmas morning. It will be great to see what that snowball in space looks like.

__________________
If you put a light on something? What do you do next?
Register to Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain, and now disconnecting as Little England and Wales (not too sure about Wales bit, either). Kettle's on.
Posts: 25900
Good Answers: 682
#16

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/06/2017 12:22 PM

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell Redfred!

__________________
"Did you get my e-mail?" - "The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw, 1856
Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that, still doing it. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 11832
Good Answers: 741
#17
In reply to #16

Re: New Horizons Next Target: 2014 MU69

03/06/2017 1:06 PM

I should've been a little more clear.

I don't want an new KBO found the hard way.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 17 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Andrew Westman (7); Bayes (4); JE in Chicago (1); PWSlack (1); redfred (4)

Previous in Forum: Circuitry for Peltier Condenser   Next in Forum: Higher and Deeper :)

Advertisement