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[–] Shinx 0 points 92 points (+92|-0) ago 

I always thought Pluto was blue. My life is a lie.

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[–] Biff-Top-Johnny 1 points 85 points (+86|-1) ago 

It's little things like this that reinforce the whole reason for space exploration: you just don't know until you go.

You can whine about the costs, but we spend more here on Earth for less.

For all our scans and assumptions and knowledge, a simple picture taken from orbit can challenge fundamental assumptions we have about reality. For all we know there could have been a city there with local inhabitants who don;t use radio waves and/or who have such a different basis for life that we'd have never detected them without actually going.

For all our advancement, all our knowledge, for how 'transparent' and 'conquered' the universe feels to us, it turns out we didn't even know what color a major body in our own solar system was, let alone what other wonders lie out there, beyond.

Keep exploring, not just because we can, but because we have to.

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[–] Shinx 0 points 33 points (+33|-0) ago 

I hope in my lifetime I get to see the world realize how important space exploration is and put more effort and funding into NASA and other companies to speed the process.

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[–] ShitConversationBot 0 points 23 points (+23|-0) ago  (edited ago)

No. No. No. There's no way a body 1000km smaller in diameter than our moon has the gravity to sustain an atmosphere much less any form of life. The distance from the sun is so great that it appears as merely a bright star only heating temperatures on Pluto to slightly above -370F (~-230C). That's not enough heat energy for most chemical processes to function, much less biological. A good portion of the surface is nitrogen and methane ice. Not to mention no significant magnetic fields to protect from cosmic radiation. Nothing living in that environment PERIOD. We can KNOW that there is not a city of inhabitants on Pluto as safe as we can KNOW there isn't one on the sun. Just ask North Korea, they recently sent a man to the sun if you can believe that.

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[–] The_Wanderer 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago 

Not to mitigate what you say, but yes, we DID know that Pluto wasn't blue. Long-range telescopes confirmed as much. What they couldn't do was show us anything better than a completely indistinct orange disc (and even for that they had to use every enhancement/trick in the book).

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[–] RaiFighter 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

You can whine about the costs, but we spend more here on Earth for less.

Not to mention the technologies that get developed to make it happen are very often repurposed for local use.

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[–] Murzac 0 points 12 points (+12|-0) ago 

Actually in the case of pluto it has been known to be brown for well over a decade. It's just the fact that it's an ice world that has always made people assume it would be more like Enceladus or something.

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[–] briguy24 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I always thought it was brown but like a deeper brown. This is a lighter tone almost beige.

So cool that we can see it this closely now.

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[–] gravuerc 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

So did I.

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[–] photonasty 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

I always pictured it as grey. It's much browner than I expected.

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[–] PleasurePlatypus 0 points 27 points (+27|-0) ago 

The spacecraft was 476,000 miles (766,000 kilometers) from the surface.

And the closest we passed was at like 7,700 miles. We are going to get some fucking awesome pictures.

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[–] Gone_Private 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

When? Any time frame for the closer pictures?

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[–] TraitorMatt 0 points 15 points (+15|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Emily Lakdawalla said this in her "What to expect when you're expecting a flyby: Planning your July around New Horizons' Pluto Pictures" Blog post from about a week ago.

"On September 14, New Horizons will begin downlinking a "browse" version of the entire Pluto data set, in which all images will be lossily compressed. It will take about 10 weeks to get that data set to the ground. There will be compression artifacts, but we'll see the entire data set. Then, around November 16, New Horizons will begin to downlink the entire science data set losslessly compressed. It will take a year to complete that process."

Getting all this huge amount of data will take a while but you have to remember, photos isn't the primary goal. There is tons of science data that will have priority over the photos.

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[–] DILLIGAF 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago 

A lot of the data is being stored and will slowly be transmitted due to distance restricting bandwidth. The coolest pictures that get the public behind the space exploration effort first and all the data and many more pics for months to come.

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[–] fitlord 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

IIRC, first complete images are expected in the beginning of September.

The probe transmits data at a whopping 1kbit/s :-/

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[–] Manemoj 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

High resolutions photos are expected in approximately 4 hours.

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[–] Wheelman 0 points 22 points (+22|-0) ago 

Someone sees Pluto in Pluto

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[–] Fox_Tango 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Is that ice or weather formation?

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[–] jenso 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

damn... can't unsee

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[–] gettingoldernotwiser 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I saw that shape, too... makes me wonder if this particular picture has been modified just for kicks.

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[–] Charley 4 points 18 points (+22|-4) ago 

Our beautiful 9th planet. Instead, I'll ignore the existence of the people that tried taking away Pluto's planethood. The thing's got moons for christ's sake.

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[–] AristarchusOfSamos 0 points 34 points (+34|-0) ago 

So does Eris. And Eris's moon is more of a proper moon. Charon doesn't even orbit Pluto. They're so close in mass that they orbit each other, like a double planet instead of planet/moon.

I'm not saying you're wrong. Just that it's complicated, and definitions in science are hard.

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[–] Fox_Tango 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Don't forget Ceres!

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[–] Toidlsebd 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Which is even cooler, who needs planethood when you are part of a binary system!

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[–] PleasurePlatypus 1 points 7 points (+8|-1) ago 

We really need to modify our definition of planet. When scientists started calling it a "dwarf" I imagined something strangely shaped and small, but this looks just like any other planet.

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[–] Hubblesphere 1 points 17 points (+18|-1) ago 

Pluto is small.

It's smaller than our own moon. The reason Nasa reclassified it had nothing to do with pluto, it was just the issue of all the other pluto sized objects they found in quick succession after the fact. When you include Pluto you have dozens of other similarly sized objects that fit the category. Scientifically it doesn't make sense to categorize Pluto differently just because it was "first." Therefore it had to be reclassified as a dwarf planet and placed with all the other dwarf planets. It is still very important and unique and how it is classed will never change that.

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[–] Charley 5 points 1 points (+6|-5) ago 

We just need to kick the dickheads out of science. I think a solid definition would be a piece of space rock that is round and was given that shape by gravity.

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[–] Shagoosty 1 points -1 points (+0|-1) ago 

Size has less to do with it than its orbit.

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[–] ThankYouForPosting 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

Are you hungry for apples also?

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[–] The_Dude 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Yes!

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[–] Charley 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Only on Thursdays.

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[–] PoliticalScientist 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Posted this bellow:

A dwarf planet is a planetary-mass object that is neither a planet nor a natural satellite. That is, it is in direct orbit of the Sun, and is massive enough for its shape to be in hydrostatic equilibrium under its own gravity, but has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.

Also, NASA did not reclassify, the IAU did and by the IAU I mean only 5% of them voted on the matter.

Space.com

The vote involved just 424 astronomers who remained for the last day of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Prague.

"I'm embarassed for astornomy," said Alan Stern, leader of NASA's New Horizon's mission to Pluto and a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute. "Less than 5 percent of the world's astronomers voted."

Stern, in charge of the robotic probe on its way to Pluto, said the language of the resolution is flawed. It requires that a planet "has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit." But Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune all have asteroids as neighbors.

"It's patently clear that Earth's zone is not cleared," Stern told SPACE.com. "Jupiter has 50,000 trojan asteroids," which orbit in lockstep with the planet.

Stern called it "absurd" that only 424 astronomers were allowed to vote, out of some 10,000 professional astronomers around the globe.

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[–] Swanka 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

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[–] Charley 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I'm going to need the 424 addresses of those astronomers to send hate mail.

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[–] VrillBill 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago 

whats the white spot made of?

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[–] basementdweller94 1 points 19 points (+20|-1) ago 

Cold.

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[–] Pegasus_Poo 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Buckets of it.

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[–] DyingBloodbirds 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago  (edited ago)

My guess is some kind of ice-y plains. I am more shocked at the amount of craters to the left of the white. I was expecting it to be very mountainous from the last blurry picture we got, and didn't think any craters would be visible. It's amazing nonetheless. A previously unknown terrestrial body revealed for the first time. :D

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[–] Charley 3 points -2 points (+1|-3) ago 

Chuzz

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[–] penguincheerleader 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago 

One thing that does seem to have been learned is that Pluto is slightly larger in volume and therefor less dense than previously believed. Here is a link:

http://phys.org/news/2015-07-pluto-bigger-scientists-thought-flyby.html

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[–] DtEb86DRAEV 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

instagram... wut

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[–] The_Wanderer 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

I know, I had the same thought. 0-o

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[–] Frankyhangmyself 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

Where can we have a really hi-res photo for our really nice poster?

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[–] gruix 0 points 10 points (+10|-0) ago 

Hi-res photos will be availables in a few days.. weeks... or even months: the upload rate of the probe at that distance is so slow that it will only send a few compressed thumbnails in real time, and then take 6 months just to upload the rest of the high-quality photos taken on the few hours of the fly-by.

Scientists will prioritize the download of a few photos for science and public viewing in the coming days.

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[–] big_carp 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

they might need more AOL minutes...

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[–] fitlord 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Early September, if I understand correctly.

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