Welcome to Episode 6 of Ultra Frontier Explorer with Dr Jon Overton.
In this episode there’s:
– Epic footage of NASA’s Osiris-Rex rocket launch on its journey from Earth to the potentially hazardous near Earth asteroid Bennu.
– All about WHY this Sample Return Mission is so exciting: what it might tell us about the Solar System and Earth’s past, including the origins of life on Earth. Also, how this mission will gather data to help protect us from the danger of catastrophic collisions in the future!
– Find out what the ‘Yarkovsky Effect’ is, and why understanding it is vital for Planetary Security and the survival of the Human Race versus Asteroid impacts!
It’s now the 10th Anniversary of New Horizons launch, and six months since the historic Pluto & Charon flyby (July 14th, 2015). New Horizons has spent those months beaming the data it collected back to us here on Earth, across 5 billion km of space. Recently, the New Horizons team have released some excellent photos and footage, and there has been an entire scientific conference focussing solely on the data from New Horizons (no doubt the first of many such conferences).
Scroll down for UFEx Episode 5, which is Part 2* of my video coverage of New Horizons ground-breaking mission to flyby Pluto & Charon, (and onward, deeper into the Kuiper Belt), featuring new photos and footage, and covering:
– Some of the engineering that went into New Horizons construction to protect it from any micro-meteorite collisions.
– How New Horizons instruments are powered so far from the Sun.
– Some perspective on navigating New Horizons safely through the multi-body Pluto system at over 49,000km/hr.
– Fascinating geological and meterological phenomena on Pluto & Charon, and proposed explanations for these, including: the composition of Pluto’s “heart” (Sputnik Planum) and the mountain ranges around it (Hilary Montes, Norgay Montes); the discovery of what appears to be two enormous cryo-volcanoes (Wright Mons and Picard Mons) and their implications for Pluto’s interior structure; the probable composition and origin of the reddish-brown material (tholins) patchily distributed on much of Pluto’s surface and at one pole of Charon, (and what that material might have had to do with the origin of life on Earth); plus an explanation for Pluto’s breathtaking blue sky.
– And finally, which of the myriad unexplored Kuiper Belt worlds will be New Horizons next destination, and when it will arrive there.
All of this and more, covered in less than 23minutes! So make yourself a cuppa, sit back and discover how much more we now know about the mysterious worlds of Pluto & Charon than we did before flyby.
*See below for ‘UFEx Episode 4, “New Horizons Journey to Pluto” Part 1’ – covering New Horizon’s gravitational slingshot around Jupiter (9 years ago) and its observations of the Jovian system, especially the Galilean moons.
The background image I’ve used above is “The Day The Earth Smiled” which is an amazing composite photograph of Saturn, its rings and moons, with some planets of the Inner Solar System in the background. The Earth, as seen from 898million miles away (on Sat 19th July 2013) appears as the Pale Blue Dot in the lower right of the image. This image was produced by NASA’s Cassini mission, and is public domain, credit: NASA/JPL. You can see annotated and larger versions of this image here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/jpl/pia17172.html#.VjVW8qe6tH0