It’s pretty damn impressive how much us humans have learned about the solar system. Compared to other animals on this planet, we know a lot. Like take lobsters for instance. Lobsters don’t know dick about comets, while humans just landed a probe on one.
So we should pat ourselves on the back for just how much we know about our surrounding space. But for all our knowledge, we are still woefully in the dark about one of our extraterrestrial neighbors. I’m talking about the recently downgraded Pluto, once a planet, now just a floating, spherical rock at the edge of our sun’s gravitational pull.
However, that’s gonna fucking change when the New Horizons probe arrives. Back in 2006 (when this song was your JAM) NASA launched a rocket containing the New Horizons probe and it embarked on a three BILLION-mile journey to Pluto.
The probe has been chilling in space this whole time, and by chilling I mean hurtling away from us at 36 fucking thousand miles an hour. Try to do that trip at a steady 60 mph and it will take you two million years.
New Horizons has been in hibernation mode for most of the trip, but it just woke up because it’s almost at PLUTO. That’s fucking insane. We shot something off this planet and now it’s at Pluto. Pluto.
Starting next month, the space probe will take the best photos we’ve ever seen of the planet. Currently, all our images of Pluto suck dick, since it’s like as far away as the Bronx is from Brooklyn. Imagine trying to snap a pic of Arthur Avenue with your cell phone from Crown Heights. It’s like that.
Suffice it to say, scientists are GD jazzed.
Scientists don’t know what New Horizons will see, [the Southwest Research Institute’s Alan] Stern says. Even in the fuzzy Hubble photos it’s clear that Pluto has lots of variation on its surface.
“We expect to find craters, perhaps mountain ranges,” Stern notes. “It’s even possible there could be liquids on the surface.”
That would be nuts, because the surface temperature is a BALMY negative 380 degrees Fahrenheit, literally cold enough to freeze your balls off.
Aside from dem purdy pictures, what else while New Horizons find out? Well, come July, it’s gonna get as close as 6,000 miles, and basically tell us everything that’s up with that P. It will determine Pluto’s atmospheric composition (we speculate methane), it will map the surface, it will tell us Pluto’s exact size, as well as the composition of its moons.
It will also look for aliens, I hope.
While images of Pluto will be released right away (and you bet your ass you’ll see them on BroBible as soon as it happens), it is so far away that hi-res shots will take NINE MONTHS to transmit to Earth. Think about that the next time your are watching streaming pornography.
Then, after its job is done, New Horizons will try to check out some other shit in the Kuiper Belt.
Pretty neat, huh? What a cool time to be alive.