Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Say Hello to My Little Friends!!!

          By Chuck Black

Pluto, the little dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt which was the first trans-Neptunian object discovered by terrestrial astronomers, is in the news this week as the NASA New Horizons spacecraft begins to send back all the data accumulated from its Pluto flyby on July 14th.

With any luck, the interest will continue for quite some time to come.

As outlined in the April 14th, 2015 New Horizons webpage under the title "NASA's New Horizons Nears Historic Encounter with Pluto," the spacecraft will require approximately 16 months after it has left the vicinity of Pluto (or any expected future target object) in order to transmit back to Earth the buffer load of data it collected.

Our domestic contribution to the flight is also of note.

As outlined in the July 12th, 2015 Globe and Mail article, "Canadian map of the stars guides the way for NASA’s Pluto probe," the spacecraft is using a Canadian made map to guide its journey.

But perhaps the most important, and certainly the least mentioned news surrounding the flyby, is that voyages of discovery still have a place within the traditional media news cycle.

Of course, alternative news sites, individuals and even small businesses are also looking to help tell the story of this event.

To the right is an info-graphic created by Steven Meyer Jr. who works for Excede Internet, a US based internet service provider.

According to Meyer:
I'm simply a space enthusiast who enjoys learning more about the expansive universe we live in. 
Exceed Internet, the company I work for, likes to host educational items on their site and loved the idea when I asked them to host it on their website. 
They mentioned that they wouldn't mind me making some more science-themed graphics. If you'd like I can send them to you if I make any more.
This blog looks forward to future contributions from Meyer, his colleagues at Excede and from others with a similar interest.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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