Think about it: Charon orbits, right? That's like the boatman who ferried dead souls across the river Styx never landing on the other shore, but just going in circles. People would get impatient. Do you even know where you're going? Or perhaps they'd be pleased: looks like no eternal torment for me! Sweet!
Anyway: congrats to the New Horizons team, which did something astonishing. They aimed a tiny vehicle at Pluto a decade ago, and nailed it.
The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when New Horizons departed Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 19, 2006, but was demoted seven months later to dwarf status. Scientists in charge of the $720 million mission, as well as NASA brass, hope the new observations will restore Pluto's honor. "It's a huge morning, a huge day not just for NASA but for the United States," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said from NASA headquarters in Washington.
Here’s a nice little graphical round-up of what the New Horizons probe did this morning, besides remind everyone about Pluto’s senseless demotion. In related news: the eggheads at the Large Hadron Collider, where they’ve been smashing Large Hedrons to get smaller, more manageable Hedrons, announced that they’ve discovered a new class of particles. This doesn’t happen every day.
“The pentaquark is not just any new particle,” said LHCb spokesperson Guy Wilkinson. “It represents a way to aggregate quarks, namely the fundamental constituents of ordinary protons and neutrons, in a pattern that has never been observed before in over fifty years of experimental searches. Studying its properties may allow us to understand better how ordinary matter, the protons and neutrons from which we’re all made, is constituted.”
Of course, that’s not the end of it. We haven’t discovered all the particles, although you can’t say for certain we have. I still get the feeling that when it comes to this level of observation, we’re still in the van Leeuwenhoek stage.
Also related, inasmuch as the team in Pluto is probably high-fiving themselves for getting a ship in low earth orbit:
UFO sighting leaves experts convinced they have seen an alien craft
That’s the headline at the Mirror. First of all, there’s no such thing as a UFO expert. Second, I’m not sure that this group is inclined to resist the lure of attractive evidence. That’s it! I’m convinced! For years I’ve believed that UFOs are out there, and I’ve studied every picture desperate for confirmation of my yearnings, but my stubborn nature has made me reject them all until now!
From the piece: “It may seem like a remote control toy, but this strange object has left some UFO experts convinced they have seen an alien aircraft.”
Oh for heaven’s sake. No.
Now, a shape-shifting cloud, that’s a different thing.
APPLE Arrested for charging your phone on a train? What’s the crime? “Suspicion of abstracting electricity.” By the way, if you’re reading stories about the Apple Watch Flopping, it’s based on stats from a company that gets its data from a sample of people who’ve agreed to let them scan their email for sales receipts. Uh-whuh? you say. All is explained here.