Montage by Emily Lakdawalla.
“Now that I have a reasonable-resolution global color view of Pluto,” writes Emily Lakdawalla, “I can drop it into one of my trademark scale image montages, to show you how it fits in with the rest of the similar-sized worlds in the solar system: the major moons and the biggest asteroids.”
The solar system contains dozens of objects that are large enough for self-gravity to make them round, and yet are not considered planets. They include the major moons of the planets, one asteroid, and many worlds in the Kuiper belt. The ones that we have visited with spacecraft are shown here to scale with each other. A couple of items on here are not quite round, illustrating the transition to smaller, lumpier objects.
It's just an accident that Pluto wound up next to Iapetus and Triton, which I think are the two best analogs for what we can see on Pluto's surface. Yet Pluto stands out for its uniquely ruddy color. Charon, too, is unique, for its dark pole, but there are similarities to the similar-sized worlds on the left side of the diagram: Ariel and Dione in particular.
These are the not-planets. Their non-planetary status is a handicap because these are the worlds that we need to get Earthlings excited about exploring. Titan's strange hydrology -- Enceladus' geysers -- the subsurface oceans of Europa and Ganymede -- the dynamic surfaces of Triton and Pluto. And beyond all the worlds pictured here, there are hundreds of Kuiper belt objects that I would include on this montage if we had ever visited them up close. But we haven't yet. So much undiscovered country yet to explore -- but they're all worlds that much of the public is not familiar with.
Full size here [PNG].
“The not-planets” [planetary.org]
Montage by Emily Lakdawalla. The Moon: Gari Arrillaga. Other data: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/SwRI/UCLA/MPS/IDA. Processing by Ted Stryk, Gordan Ugarkovic, Emily Lakdawalla, and Jason Perry.
Montage by Emily Lakdawalla.
RIP Starship SN4 😭https://t.co/klPMtZHxjW pic.twitter.com/hrrElBXmSC — Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) May 29, 2020 SpaceX’s Starship SN4 prototype launch vehicle just exploded in a huge fireball during a static fire test in Boca Chica, Texas. While the Starship spacecraft is still early in development, the explosion doesn’t feel great leading up to the SpaceX-NASA historic […]
Astronaut David Scott re-created, in 1971 during the Apollo 15 mission, Galileo’s “falling bodies” experiment by dropping a hammer and feather on the moon at the same time. Simply, both fell at the same rate because there was no air resistance. screengrab via Wonders of Physics/YouTube (Digg)
On Tuesday evening, the night before NASA astronaut Bob Behnken was set to launch into orbit about a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule, he launched his own rocket from Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
When you were 10 and your mom demanded you finish your vegetables or go to your room, you were mad. Even as kids, we hated it when we were ordered to do something. Car insurance is a federal mandate, yet that’s only one of the reasons why most Americans would rather do just about anything […]
We all know the drill. As the overlords of the smartphone and tablet markets, the braintrust at Apple very seldom hold sales on their signature devices. So rather than spending almost $1,000 on a brand-new iPad Pro, the folks in Cupertino are instead giving you the opportunity to score one for about a third of […]
Entrepreneurs looking for new avenues to reach customers may not have considered one of the fastest-growing content mediums today: podcasting. And we don’t mean just dropping an advertisement for your product or service in the middle of a popular show. Right now, there are about 850,000 active podcasts reaching 165 million Americans. Those listeners are […]