Monday, September 26, 2005

Concept artwork depicting the New Horizons spacecraft passing by Pluto and its satellite Charon

Just when I thought I wouldn’t be turning my journal page into a mini-version of, I read an interesting (err, to me at least...but then that's why I'm posting an entry about this on my very own websi— Ahh, forget it) article about engineers being one step closer towards preparing the first-ever spacecraft to fly towards the ninth planet in the solar system: Mustafar. Just kidding... I meant Pluto. Mustafar is that volcanic world in Revenge of the Sith (Just felt like nerding up this entry even more, haha). For more info on the New Horizons spacecraft, click on the link I posted above. Other than that, have a nice day. Or evening. Wherever you live.

The New Horizons spacecraft being prepared by engineers at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
For additional info, go to the New Horizons website

EDIT: WARNING: A GEEK RANT... Well son-of-a-b****!!! I just found out on the New Horizons website that people could've submitted their names to be put on a compact disc that will be installed on the spacecraft. And the contest is already over (it ended on September 15)!! Darn!! My name could've went to Mustafar--err, Pluto!! That definitely beats having my name vaporized by some comet!! I also submitted my name to be put on the Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn, but I don't know if my name was indeed placed on a CD that was attached to that probe (since the Cassini contest took place in 1992-93, and you couldn't download an online certificate confirming that your name was submitted during that time, which you could now do with the Deep Impact and New Horizons missions), and it's inevitable that Cassini will eventually be destroyed by crashing into one of Saturn's moons in the future, or if NASA deliberately sends the probe into the planet's atmosphere to burn up and be destroyed a la Galileo at Jupiter and Magellan at Venus. At least New Horizons will fly on forever like the distant Pioneer or Voyager spacecraft...assuming it doesn't fly into a star millions of years from now. Again, darn!! For those of you who actually submitted your names to the New Horizons contest, click here to look them up. DARN!! I'm a lot more disappointed than I sound.

BELOW: A DVD bearing 616,420 digitized signatures of people from nations around the world that was attached to the Cassini spacecraft. My signature is among them...err, hopefully.

A DVD bearing 616,400 digitized signatures of people from nations around the world that was attached to the Cassini spacecraft

EDIT #2: I bought the Explore the Universe 2006 Collector's Edition of Astronomy magazine on October 7 (you thought I was done talking like a nerd? I don't think so), and at the end of the "Cassini's 4-year Odyssey" article, the writer (John Shibley) also states that Cassini will be sent into Saturn's atmosphere many years from now for final as not to contaminate any of the planet's moons should the probe crash into 'em. NOOOO!!

A Cassini image of Dione with Saturn in the background

ABOVE: No, this pic isn't Photoshopped. The Cassini space probe actually took this image of the moon Dione with Saturn in the background. Click here for more news on the mission.

An illustration showing the Voyagers' current positions in the solar system

ABOVE: The Voyager spacecraft... Now these are the space probes to have your name on, considering they're both at least ten years away from entering interstellar space (Has anyone seen my pocket protector?). Image courtesy of JPL's Voyager website.

A painting depicting a Pioneer spacecraft venturing through the Milky Way Galaxy

ABOVE: And don't forget about Pioneers' 10 and 11. Pioneer 10 will reach the red star Aldebaran—which forms the eye of the constellation Taurus (The Bull)—about 2 million years from now, while Pioneer 11 will reach one of the stars in the constellation Aquila (The Eagle) in about 4 million years.

The Dawn spacecraft

ABOVE: The Dawn spacecraft...which is scheduled for launch on June 30, 2007 and will arrive at the asteroid Vesta in 2011 and then dwarf planet Ceres in 2015.

EDIT #3: The two photos below show the Send Your Name CD being installed onto Deep Impact's Impactor...but that doesn't take away from the fact that this CD no longer exists. And if it does, it's now in the forms of millions of atomized particles.

A CD bearing 625,000 names of people is installed onto Deep Impact's Impactor

BELOW: The Deep Impact flyby spacecraft is about to be mated with the Impactor (resting on the floor).

The Deep Impact flyby spacecraft is about to be mated with the Impactor (resting on the floor)

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