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Sample records for project pluto ground

  1. Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Barrie W.

    2010-08-01

    1. The Solar System; 2. The discovery of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto; 3. Pluto, a diminishing world; 4. Pluto's family; 5. Surfaces, atmospheres, interiors of Pluto and Charon; 6. The Edgeworth-Kuiper belt; 7. Is Pluto a planet?; 8. The New Horizons mission to Pluto (and beyond); 9. Pluto: gateway to beyond?; Glossary; Further reading and other resources; Index.

  2. Project Cerberus: Flyby Mission to Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sivier, K.; Koepke, A.; Humphrey, Theodore W.; Elbel, Jeffrey P.; Hackett, Bruce E.; Kennedy, Ralph G.; Leo, Donald J.; Zimmerman, Shery A.

    1990-01-01

    The goal of the Cerberus Project was to design a feasible and cost-effective unmanned flyby mission to Pluto. The requirements in the request for proposal for an unmanned probe to Pluto are presented and were met. The design stresses proven technology that will avoid show stoppers which could halt mission progress. Cerberus also utilizes the latest advances in the spacecraft industry to meet the stringent demands of the mission. The topics covered include: (1) mission management, planning, and costing; (2) structures; (3) power and propulsion; (4) attitude, articulation, and control; (5) command, control, and communication; and (6) scientific instrumentation.

  3. Pluto.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Binzel, Richard P.

    1990-01-01

    Discussed are details of what is known about the composition, physical characteristics, and formation of the planet Pluto and its satellite, Charon. Alignments of these bodies and details of their rotations and revolutions are described. (CW)

  4. Pluto

    SciTech Connect

    Binzel, R.P. )

    1990-06-01

    A new picture of Pluto has begun to emerge during the past decade. Dedicated observational efforts using a variety of modern instruments, aided by some fortuitous celestial alignments, have produced a number of surprises. Pluto has a satellite, Charon, so large that the two objects can virtually be considered a double planet. The planet has bright polar caps and a darker, mottled equatorial region. A layer of methane ice covers most of its surface. Pluto even possesses a thin atmosphere; when the planet is farthest from the sun, all or part of the atmosphere may freeze and fall to the surface as snow. Charon's surface, which appears to be quite different from Pluto's, may be a great expanse of water ice. Pluto's size and density are much like those of Triton, the large satellite of Neptune that was recently visited by the Voyager 2 probe. These and other similarities suggest that both bodies may be leftover planetesimals, relics from the early days of the solar system that managed not to be swept up by the giant outer planets. In this scenario, Triton was captured by Neptune, whereas Pluto was able to survive as a bona fide planet in an independent orbit about the sun.

  5. Haze in Pluto's atmosphere: Results from SOFIA and ground-based observations of the 2015 June 29 Pluto occultation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bosh, A. S.; Person, M. J.; Zuluaga, C. A.; Sickafoose, A. A.; Levine, S. E.; Pasachoff, J. M.; Babcock, B. A.; Dunham, E. W.; McLean, I.; Wolf, J.; Abe, F.; Becklin, E.; Bida, T. A.; Bright, L. P.; Brothers, T.; Christie, G.; Collins, P. L.; Durst, R. F.; Gilmore, A. C.; Hamilton, R.; Harris, H. C.; Johnson, C.; Kilmartin, P. M.; Kosiarek, M. R.; Leppik, K.; Logsdon, S. E.; Lucas, R.; Mathers, S.; Morley, C. J. K.; Nelson, P.; Ngan, H.; Pfüller, E.; Natusch, T.; Röser, H.-P.; Sallum, S.; Savage, M.; Seeger, C. H.; Siu, H.; Stockdale, C.; Suzuki, D.; Thanathibodee, T.; Tilleman, T.; Tristram, P. J.; Van Cleve, J.; Varughese, C.; Weisenbach, L. W.; Widen, E.; Wiedemann, M.

    2015-11-01

    We observed the 29 June 2015 occultation by Pluto from SOFIA and several ground-based sites in New Zealand. Pre-event astrometry (described in Zuluaga et al., this conference) allowed us to navigate SOFIA into Pluto's central flash (Person et al., this conference). Fortuitously, the central flash also fell over the Mt. John University Observatory (Pasachoff et al., this conference). We combine all of our airborne and ground-based data to produce a geometric solution for the occultation and to investigate the state of Pluto's atmosphere just two weeks before the New Horizons spacecraft's close encounter with Pluto. We find that the atmosphere parameters at half-light are unchanged from our observations in 2011 (Person et al. 2013) and 2013 (Bosh et al. 2015). By combining our light-curve inversion with recent radius measurements from New Horizons, we find strong evidence for an extended haze layer in Pluto's atmosphere. See also Sickafoose et al. (this conference) for an evaluation of the particle sizes and properties.SOFIA is jointly operated by the Universities Space Research Association, Inc. (USRA), under NASA contract NAS2-97001, and the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) under DLR contract 50 OK 0901 to the University of Stuttgart. Support for this work was provided by NASA SSO grants NNX15AJ82G (Lowell Observatory), NNX10AB27G (MIT), and NNX12AJ29G (Williams College), and by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

  6. New Horizons Pluto lessons learned during ground processing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hogue, Patrick

    2006-08-01

    The New Horizons (NH) Pluto probe was launched on an Atlas V-551 equipped with a five-meter payload fairing (PLF). In-situ Gel-Pak witness plates were used to monitor fall-out at spacecraft level and at Centaur level within the PLF. Based upon the composition of particles captured on a Gel-Pak that witnessed encapsulation and transport to the launch facility significant particle fall-out is associated with fairing materials of construction. The weekly variation of particle fall-out onto subsequent Gel-Pak surfaces over the course of launch preparation indicates that upward transport of particles occurred. Based upon the sum of all Gel-Pak particle counts combined with visual detection of dust on the top deck of New Horizons during installation of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) our goal of level 450 beginning of life (BOL) was probably exceeded. A big contributor to this excedance was removal of the isolation diaphragm that normally separates the spacecraft form activity below due to mission unique requirements. The launch service provider confirmed detection of upward air movement in previous ground testing of an Atlas V fairing. Future contamination sensitive missions using the Atlas V may want to consider the following: 1) reduced PLF airflow (NH used 280 Lbm/min.), 2) ultraviolet inspection of the PLF, 3) use of isolation diaphragm, 4) in-situ particle counting. Sodium chloride was evident on many particles examined by SEM/EDS, indicating intrusion of the sea coast atmosphere into KSC cleanrooms.

  7. Ground-based Light Curves Two Pluto Days Before the New Horizons Passage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bosh, A. S.; Pasachoff, J. M.; Babcock, B. A.; Durst, R. F.; Seeger, C. H.; Levine, S. E.; Abe, F.; Suzuki, D.; Nagakane, M.; Sickafoose, A. A.; Person, M. J.; Zuluaga, C.; Kosiarek, M. R.

    2015-12-01

    We observed the occultation of a 12th magnitude star, one of the two brightest occultation stars ever in our dozen years of continual monitoring of Pluto's atmosphere through such studies, on 29 June 2015 UTC. At Canterbury University's Mt. John University Observatory on the south island of New Zealand, in clear sky, we used our POETS frame-transfer CCD at 10 Hz with GPS timing on the 1-m McLellan telescope as well as an infrared camera on an 0.6-m telescope and three-color photometry at a slower cadence on a second 0.6-m telescope. The light curves show a central flash, indicating that we were close to the center of the occultation path, and allowing us to explore Pluto's atmosphere lower than usual. The light curves show that Pluto's atmosphere remained robust. Observations from 0.5- and 0.4-m telescopes at the Auckland Observatory gave the first half of the occultation before clouds came in. We coordinated our observations with aircraft observations with NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) and its High Speed Imaging Photometer for Occultations (HIPO). Our ground-based and airborne stellar-occultation effort came only just over two weeks of Earth days and two Pluto days (based on Pluto's rotational period) before the flyby of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, meaning that the mission's exquisite snapshot of Pluto's atmosphere can be placed in the context of our series of ground-based occultation observations carried out on a regular basis since 2002 following a first Pluto occultation observed in 1988 from aloft. Our observations were supported by NASA Planetary Astronomy grants NNX12AJ29G to Williams College, NNX15AJ82G to Lowell Observatory, and NNX10AB27G to MIT, and by the National Research Foundation of South Africa. We thank Alan Gilmore, Pam Kilmartin, Robert Lucas, Paul Tristam, and Carolle Varughese for assistance at Mt. John.

  8. Coordinated Ground-Based Observations and the New Horizons Fly-by of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Eliot; Young, Leslie; Parker, Joel; Binzel, Richard

    2015-04-01

    The New Horizons (NH) spacecraft is scheduled to make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015. NH carries seven scientific instruments, including separate UV and Visible-IR spectrographs, a long-focal-length imager, two plasma-sensing instruments and a dust counter. There are three arenas in particular in which ground-based observations should augment the NH instrument suite in synergistic ways: IR spectra at wavelengths longer than 2.5 µm (i.e., longer than the NH Ralph spectrograph), stellar occultation observations near the time of the fly-by, and thermal surface maps and atmospheric CO abundances based on ALMA observations - we discuss the first two of these. IR spectra in the 3 - 5 µm range cover the CH4 absorption band near 3.3 µm. This band can be an important constraint on the state and areal extent of nitrogen frost on Pluto's surface. If this band depth is close to zero (as was observed by Olkin et al. 2007), it limits the area of nitrogen frost, which is bright at that wavelength. Combined with the NH observations of nitrogen frost at 2.15 µm, the ground-based spectra will determine how much nitrogen frost is diluted with methane, which is a basic constraint on the seasonal cycle of sublimation and condensation that takes place on Pluto (and similar objects like Triton and Eris). There is a fortuitous stellar occultation by Pluto on 29-JUN-2015, only two weeks before the NH closest approach. The occulted star will be the brightest ever observed in a Pluto event, about 2 magnitudes brighter than Pluto itself. The track of the event is predicted to cover parts of Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to HST and ground based campaigns to find a TNO target reachable by NH, the position of the shadow path will be known at the +/-100 km level, allowing SOFIA and mobile ground-based observers to reliably cover the central flash region. Ground-based & SOFIA observations in visible and IR wavelengths will characterize the haze opacity and vertical

  9. The 2011 June 23 Stellar Occultation by Pluto: Airborne and Ground Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Person, M. J.; Dunham, E. W.; Bosh, A. S.; Levine, S. E.; Gulbis, A. A. S.; Zangari, A. M.; Zuluaga, C. A.; Pasachoff, J. M.; Babcock, B. A.; Pandey, S.; Amrhein, D.; Sallum, S.; Tholen, D. J.; Collins, P.; Bida, T.; Taylor, B.; Bright, L.; Wolf, J.; Meyer, A.; Pfueller, E.; Wiedemann, M.; Roeser, H.-P.; Lucas, R.; Kakkala, M.; Ciotti, J.; Plunkett, S.; Hiraoka, N.; Best, W.; Pilger, E. J.; Micheli, M.; Springmann, A.; Hicks, M.; Thackeray, B.; Emery, J. P.; Tilleman, T.; Harris, H.; Sheppard, S.; Rapoport, S.; Ritchie, I.; Pearson, M.; Mattingly, A.; Brimacombe, J.; Gault, D.; Jones, R.; Nolthenius, R.; Broughton, J.; Barry, T.

    2013-10-01

    On 2011 June 23, stellar occultations by both Pluto (this work) and Charon (future analysis) were observed from numerous ground stations as well as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). This first airborne occultation observation since 1995 with the Kuiper Airborne Observatory resulted in the best occultation chords recorded for the event, in three visible wavelength bands. The data obtained from SOFIA are combined with chords obtained from the ground at the IRTF, the U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station, and Leeward Community College to give the detailed state of the Pluto-Charon system at the time of the event with a focus on Pluto's atmosphere. The data show a return to the distinct upper and lower atmospheric regions with a knee or kink in the light curve separating them as was observed in 1988, rather than the smoothly transitioning bowl-shaped light curves of recent years. The upper atmosphere is analyzed by fitting a model to all of the light curves, resulting in a half-light radius of 1288 ± 1 km. The lower atmosphere is analyzed using two different methods to provide results under the differing assumptions of particulate haze and a strong thermal gradient as causes for the lower atmospheric diminution of flux. These results are compared with those from past occultations to provide a picture of Pluto's evolving atmosphere. Regardless of which lower atmospheric structure is assumed, results indicate that this part of the atmosphere evolves on short timescales with results changing the light curve structures between 1988 and 2006, and then reverting these changes in 2011 though at significantly higher pressures. Throughout these changes, the upper atmosphere remains remarkably stable in structure, again except for the overall pressure changes. No evidence of onset of atmospheric collapse predicted by frost migration models is seen, and the atmosphere appears to be remaining at a stable pressure level, suggesting it should persist

  10. THE 2011 JUNE 23 STELLAR OCCULTATION BY PLUTO: AIRBORNE AND GROUND OBSERVATIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Person, M. J.; Bosh, A. S.; Levine, S. E.; Gulbis, A. A. S.; Zangari, A. M.; Zuluaga, C. A.; Sallum, S.; Dunham, E. W.; Collins, P.; Bida, T.; Bright, L.; Pasachoff, J. M.; Babcock, B. A.; Pandey, S.; Amrhein, D.; Tholen, D. J.; Taylor, B.; Wolf, J.; Pfueller, E.; Meyer, A.; and others

    2013-10-01

    On 2011 June 23, stellar occultations by both Pluto (this work) and Charon (future analysis) were observed from numerous ground stations as well as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). This first airborne occultation observation since 1995 with the Kuiper Airborne Observatory resulted in the best occultation chords recorded for the event, in three visible wavelength bands. The data obtained from SOFIA are combined with chords obtained from the ground at the IRTF, the U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station, and Leeward Community College to give the detailed state of the Pluto-Charon system at the time of the event with a focus on Pluto's atmosphere. The data show a return to the distinct upper and lower atmospheric regions with a knee or kink in the light curve separating them as was observed in 1988, rather than the smoothly transitioning bowl-shaped light curves of recent years. The upper atmosphere is analyzed by fitting a model to all of the light curves, resulting in a half-light radius of 1288 {+-} 1 km. The lower atmosphere is analyzed using two different methods to provide results under the differing assumptions of particulate haze and a strong thermal gradient as causes for the lower atmospheric diminution of flux. These results are compared with those from past occultations to provide a picture of Pluto's evolving atmosphere. Regardless of which lower atmospheric structure is assumed, results indicate that this part of the atmosphere evolves on short timescales with results changing the light curve structures between 1988 and 2006, and then reverting these changes in 2011 though at significantly higher pressures. Throughout these changes, the upper atmosphere remains remarkably stable in structure, again except for the overall pressure changes. No evidence of onset of atmospheric collapse predicted by frost migration models is seen, and the atmosphere appears to be remaining at a stable pressure level, suggesting it should

  11. An analysis of AMTEC, multi-cell ground-demo for the Pluto/Express mission

    SciTech Connect

    Tournier, J.M.; El-Genk, M.S.

    1998-07-01

    Results of recent tests of an 8-cell, AMTEC ground-demo are analyzed and the performance of individual cells compared. The ground-demo produced a peak electric power of 27 W{sub e} at an output voltage of 16 V, when tested at hot and cold side temperatures of 1123 K and 553 K. The electric power output and terminal voltage of the individual cells, however, differed by as much as 25%, from 2.94 to 3.76 W{sub e}, and 1.73 to 2.21 V, respectively. These variations were attributed to differences in: (a) contact resistance between electrode / BASE / current collector; (b) current (or electrons) leakage between anode and cathode electrodes through the metal-ceramic braze joint between BASE tubes and support plate; and (c) the charge-exchange polarization losses. Model's predictions compared very well with measured voltage and electric power output of individual cells and of the ground-demo. At the operating conditions for the Pluto/Express spacecraft (T{sub hot} {approximately} 1200 K, T{sub cd} {approximately} 573 K), the best performing ground-demo cell would have delivered 5 W{sub e} at an output voltage of 3 V. These values, however, are still significantly lower than those needed to meet the Pluto/Express mission power requirements (8.2 W{sub e} at 3.5 V, per cell).

  12. Pluto's Atmosphere from the 2015 June 29 Ground-based Stellar Occultation at the Time of the New Horizons Flyby

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sicardy, B.; Talbot, J.; Meza, E.; Camargo, J. I. B.; Desmars, J.; Gault, D.; Herald, D.; Kerr, S.; Pavlov, H.; Braga-Ribas, F.; Assafin, M.; Benedetti-Rossi, G.; Dias-Oliveira, A.; Gomes-Júnior, A. R.; Vieira-Martins, R.; Bérard, D.; Kervella, P.; Lecacheux, J.; Lellouch, E.; Beisker, W.; Dunham, D.; Jelínek, M.; Duffard, R.; Ortiz, J. L.; Castro-Tirado, A. J.; Cunniffe, R.; Querel, R.; Yock, P. C.; Cole, A. A.; Giles, A. B.; Hill, K. M.; Beaulieu, J. P.; Harnisch, M.; Jansen, R.; Pennell, A.; Todd, S.; Allen, W. H.; Graham, P. B.; Loader, B.; McKay, G.; Milner, J.; Parker, S.; Barry, M. A.; Bradshaw, J.; Broughton, J.; Davis, L.; Devillepoix, H.; Drummond, J.; Field, L.; Forbes, M.; Giles, D.; Glassey, R.; Groom, R.; Hooper, D.; Horvat, R.; Hudson, G.; Idaczyk, R.; Jenke, D.; Lade, B.; Newman, J.; Nosworthy, P.; Purcell, P.; Skilton, P. F.; Streamer, M.; Unwin, M.; Watanabe, H.; White, G. L.; Watson, D.

    2016-03-01

    We present results from a multi-chord Pluto stellar occultation observed on 2015 June 29 from New Zealand and Australia. This occurred only two weeks before the NASA New Horizons flyby of the Pluto system and serves as a useful comparison between ground-based and space results. We find that Pluto's atmosphere is still expanding, with a significant pressure increase of 5 ± 2% since 2013 and a factor of almost three since 1988. This trend rules out, as of today, an atmospheric collapse associated with Pluto's recession from the Sun. A central flash, a rare occurrence, was observed from several sites in New Zealand. The flash shape and amplitude are compatible with a spherical and transparent atmospheric layer of roughly 3 km in thickness whose base lies at about 4 km above Pluto's surface, and where an average thermal gradient of about 5 K km-1 prevails. We discuss the possibility that small departures between the observed and modeled flash are caused by local topographic features (mountains) along Pluto's limb that block the stellar light. Finally, using two possible temperature profiles, and extrapolating our pressure profile from our deepest accessible level down to the surface, we obtain a possible range of 11.9-13.7 μbar for the surface pressure. Partly based on observations made with the ESO WFI camera at the 2.2 m Telescope (La Silla), under program ID 079.A-9202(A) within the agreement between the ON/MCTI and the Max Planck Society, with the ESO camera NACO at the Very Large Telescope (Paranal), under program ID 089.C-0314(C), and at the Pico dos Dias Observatory/LNA, Brazil.

  13. Korea's School Grounds Projects

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Park, Joohun

    2003-01-01

    This article describes two projects which Korea has undertaken to improve its school grounds: (1) the Green School Project; and (2) the School Forest Pilot Project. The Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOE&HRI) recently launched the Green School Project centred on existing urban schools with poor outdoor environments.…

  14. Pluto: Dwarf planet 134340

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ksanfomality, L. V.

    2016-01-01

    In recent decades, investigations of Pluto with up-to-date astronomical instruments yielded results that have been generally confirmed by the New Horizons mission. In 2006, in Prague, the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) reclassified Pluto as a member of the dwarf planet category according to the criteria defined by the IAU for the term "planet". At the same time, interest in studies of Pluto was increasing, while the space investigations of Pluto were delayed. In 2006, the New Horizons Pluto spacecraft started its journey to Pluto. On July 14, 2015, the spacecraft, being in fly-by mode, made its closest approach to Pluto. The heterogeneities and properties of the surface and rarified atmosphere were investigated thoroughly. Due to the extreme remoteness of the spacecraft and the energy limitations, it will take 18 months to transmit the whole data volume. Along with the preliminary results of the New Horizons Pluto mission, this paper reviews the basics on Pluto and its moons acquired from the ground-based observations and with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). There are only a few meteorite craters on the surfaces of Pluto and Charon, which distinctly marks them apart from such satellites of the giant planets as Ganymede and Callisto. The explanation is that the surface of Pluto is young: its age is estimated at less than 100 Myr. Ice glaciers of apparently a nitrogen nature were found. Nitrogen is also the main component of the atmosphere of Pluto. The planet demonstrates the signs of strong geologic activity, though the energy sources of these processes are unknown.

  15. Pluto Time

    NASA Video Gallery

    If you stood on Pluto at noon and looked around, the landscape would be illuminated about as brightly as on Earth soon after sunset. The team for NASA's New Horizons mission dubbed this "Pluto Time...

  16. Pluto's volatile distribution from speckle imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Leslie; Howell, Steve; Young, Eliot; Buie, Marc; Grundy, Will

    2013-08-01

    Howell et al. (2012) separated Pluto and Charon with the speckle imager, DSSI, and measured their diameters. We propose to build on this work, to map the volatiles on Pluto, by taking more exposures, observing in four filters designed to measure Pluto's albedo, color, and CH_4 distribution, and observing multiple faces on Pluto. This will help us study Pluto's migrating frosts as Pluto leaves the sun, and as its summer pole becomes more directly illuminated. We compare results back to HST maps in 1994 and 2002/2003 and forward to New Horizons maps in 2015 and future ground-based maps in 2015 or beyond.

  17. Pluto Express: Mission to Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Giuliano, J. A.

    1996-01-01

    Pluto is the smallest, outermost and last-discovered planet in the Solar System and the only one that has never been visited by a spacecraft from Earth. Pluto and its relatively large satellite Charon are the destinations of a proposed spacecraft mission for the next decade, being developed for NASA by scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

  18. Seasonal Nitrogen Cycles on Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hansen, Candice J.; Paige, David A.

    1996-01-01

    A thermal model, developed to predict seasonal nitrogen cycles on Triton, has been modified and applied to Pluto. The model was used to calculate the partitioning of nitrogen between surface frost deposits and the atmosphere, as a function of time for various sets of input parameters. Volatile transport was confirmed to have a significant effect on Pluto's climate as nitrogen moved around on a seasonal time scale between hemispheres, and sublimed into and condensed out of the atmosphere. Pluto's high obliquity was found to have a significant effect on the distribution of frost on its surface. Conditions that would lead to permanent polar caps on Triton were found to lead to permanent zonal frost bands on Pluto. In some instances, frost sublimed from the middle of a seasonal cap outward, resulting in a "polar bald spot". Frost which was darker than the substrate did not satisfy observables on Pluto, in contrast to our findings for Triton. Bright frost (brighter than the substrate) came closer to matching observables. Atmospheric pressure varied seasonally. The amplitudes, and to a lesser extent the phase, of the variation depended significantly on frost and substrate properties. Atmospheric pressure was found to be determined both by Pluto's distance from the sun and by the subsolar latitude. In most cases two peaks in atmospheric pressure were observed annually: a greater one associated with the sublimation of the north polar cap just as Pluto receded from perihelion, and a lesser one associated with the sublimation of the south polar cap as Pluto approached perihelion. Our model predicted frost-free dark substrate surface temperatures in the 50 to 60 K range, while frost temperatures typically ranged between 30 to 40 K. Temporal changes in frost coverage illustrated by our results, and changes in the viewing geometry of Pluto from the Earth, may be important for interpretation of ground-based measurements of Pluto's thermal emission.

  19. Pluto and Charon Color Light Curves from New Horizons on Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ennico, Kimberly; Howett, C. J. A.; Olkin, C. B.; Reuter, D. C.; Buratti, B. J.; Buie, M. W.; Grundy, W. M.; Parker, A. H.; Zangari, A. M.; Binzel, R. P.; Cook, J. C.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Dalle Ore, C. M.; Earle, A. M.; Jennings, D. E.; Linscott, I. R.; Parker, J. Wm.; Protopapa, S.; Singer, K. N.; Spencer, J. R.; Stern, S. A.; Tsang, C. C. C.; Verbiscer, A. J.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.

    2015-11-01

    On approach to the Pluto system, New Horizons’ Ralph Instrument’s Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) observed Pluto and Charon, spatially separated, between April 9 and June 23, 2015. In this period, Pluto and Charon were observed to transition from unresolved objects to resolved and their integrated disk intensities were measured in four MVIC filters: blue (400-550 nm), red (540-700 nm), near-infrared (780-975 nm), and methane (860-910 nm). The measurement suite sampled the bodies over all longitudes. We will present the color rotational light curves for Pluto and Charon and compare them to previous (Buie, M. et al. 2010 AJ 139, 1117; Buratti, B.J. et al 2015 ApJ 804, L6) and concurrent ground-based BVR monitoring. We will also compare these data to color images of the encounter hemisphere taken during New Horizons’ July 14, 2015 Pluto and Charon flyby, as this data set provides a unique bridge between Pluto & Charon as viewed as astronomical targets versus the complex worlds that early data from New Horizons has revealed them to be. This work was supported by NASA’s New Horizons project.

  20. The Moons of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brown, Robert Hamilton; Cruikshank, Dale P.

    1985-01-01

    In preparation for the Voyager flybys in 1989, the pace of ground-based investigations of the moons of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto has quickened considerably. Information derived from these investigations is presented. (JN)

  1. Pluto's atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Elliot, J.L.; Dunham, E.W.; Bosh, A.S.; Slivan, S.M.; Young, L.A.

    1989-01-01

    Airborne CCD photometer observations of Pluto's June 9, 1988 stellar occultation have yielded an occultation lightcurve, probing two regions on the sunrise limb 2000 km apart, which reveals an upper atmosphere overlying an extinction layer with an abrupt upper boundary. The extinction layer may surround the entire planet. Attention is given to a model atmosphere whose occultation lightcurve closely duplicates observations; fits of the model to the immersion and emersion lightcurves exhibit no significant derived atmosphere-structure differences. Assuming a pure methane atmosphere, surface pressures of the order of 3 microbars are consistent with the occultation data. 43 references.

  2. Kuiper Belt Objects Along the Pluto Express Path

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jewitt, David

    1999-01-01

    The objective of this proposal was to mount a ground-based search for Kuiper Belt objects near the trajectory of the NASA Pluto Express spacecraft. The high density of Kuiper Belt objects established from work on Mauna Kea makes it probable that one or more bodies can be visited by Pluto Express after its encounter with Pluto. The work was funded during its first year through NASA HQ. The second year was funded through Goddard. The third year was never funded.

  3. Support Observations For New Horizons: Pluto's Solar Phase Curve As Measured By The Cassini Spacecraft And A New Ground-based Optical Lightcurve.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hicks, Michael D.; Buratti, B. J.; Gillam, S. D.; Young, J. W.; Somers, J. F.

    2008-09-01

    Sequence planning for the New Horizons flyby of Pluto on 2015 July 14 requires an accurate estimation of the surface scattering properties at high solar phase angles ( 90 deg). As seen from the Earth, however, the solar phase angle of Pluto never exceeds 1.9 deg. We are fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to begin to regularly integrate Cassini-ISS imaging of Pluto into Cassini Optical Navigation (Op-Nav) sequencing. We report on space-based photometric observations of Pluto on the following dates, with the solar phase angles listed in parenthesis: 2007 March 31 (11.94 deg), 2008 March 01 (13.63 deg), 2008 July 09 (14.21 deg). Additional Cassini Op-Nav imaging of Pluto was scheduled for 2007 September 12 and 2007 October 05 but were lost due to spacecraft safing and a data overrun event, respectively. Reduction of the Op-Nav imaging of Pluto is made complex by the extremely dense stellar background: near-simultaneous observations of the Pluto fields at the JPL Table Mountain Observatory (TMO) 0.6-meter telescope allows for proper subtraction of faint background sources. Combined data from Cassini-ISS and TMO data gives a preliminary phase coefficient in the R band of Beta = 0.06 +/- 0.02 mag per deg. We shall present results that incorporate a more detailed analysis. In order to constrain potential volatile transport on the surface of Pluto due to changing solar illumination geometry and heliocentric distance, we have recently measured (2007 October-2008 March) a Bessel R-band rotational lightcurve of the planet at TMO which exhibits a lightcurve amplitude of 0.15 +/- 0.02 mag. We shall compare our new lightcurve to historical Pluto lightcurve measurements and to the expected secular lightcurve changes based on the HST albedo map.

  4. Photometry Of Pluto At Low Galactic Latitudes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    George, Erin; Buie, M.; Bagenal, F.

    2012-10-01

    Our research is part of an ongoing project to continue the long-term photometric monitoring of Pluto in hopes to constrain volatile migration on the surface. As Pluto passes near the center of the galaxy, the fields are too crowded with stars for normal aperture photometry. We approached this problem by using Optimal Image Subtraction (OIS). We took images, both containing and not containing Pluto, using the 0.8m robotic telescope at Lowell Observatory, the 1m robotic telescope at New Mexico State University, and the Faulkes 2m robotic telescope at Siding Spring, part of Las Cumbres Observatory. We are presently gathering data, but our main focus was the data from 2010. We began by taking images of the star fields at the galactic center without Pluto to build catalogs of standard stars. These catalogs were applied to the Pluto images in order to make interpolated images and to cross check our results. We extracted the photometry of Pluto from differenced images where the background stars were subtracted, and we then applied the transformation equation to solve for Pluto’s standard magnitude. We will present the details of our data processing methodology, as well as the 2010 Pluto B, V, and B-V light curves in comparison to those from previous years. This work was supported by NASA Planetary Astronomy Grant NNX09AB43G.

  5. Configuration of Pluto's Volatile Ices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grundy, William M.; Binzel, R. P.; Cook, J. C.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Dalle Ore, C. M.; Earle, A. M.; Ennico, K.; Jennings, D. E.; Howett, C. J. A.; Linscott, I. R.; Lunsford, A. W.; Olkin, C. B.; Parker, A. H.; Parker, J. Wm; Protopapa, S.; Reuter, D. C.; Singer, K. N.; Spencer, J. R.; Stern, S. A.; Tsang, C. C. C.; Verbiscer, A. J.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.; Berry, K.; Buie, M. W.; Stansberry, J. A.

    2015-11-01

    We report on near-infrared remote sensing by New Horizons' Ralph instrument (Reuter et al. 2008, Space Sci. Rev. 140, 129-154) of Pluto's N2, CO, and CH4 ices. These especially volatile ices are mobile even at Pluto's cryogenic surface temperatures. Sunlight reflected from these ices becomes imprinted with their characteristic spectral absorption bands. The detailed appearance of these absorption features depends on many aspects of local composition, thermodynamic state, and texture. Multiple-scattering radiative transfer models are used to retrieve quantitative information about these properties and to map how they vary across Pluto's surface. Using parameter maps derived from New Horizons observations, we investigate the striking regional differences in the abundances and scattering properties of Pluto's volatile ices. Comparing these spatial patterns with the underlying geology provides valuable constraints on processes actively modifying the planet's surface, over a variety of spatial scales ranging from global latitudinal patterns to more regional and local processes within and around the feature informally known as Sputnik Planum. This work was supported by the NASA New Horizons Project.

  6. Possible occultation by Pluto from US East Coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Waagen, Elizabeth O.

    2012-06-01

    We have been asked to help disseminate the news of a possible occultation by Pluto visible to observers on the US East coast. Although the AAVSO does not ordinarily issue announcements of upcoming occultations, in this case the object is Pluto and the NASA New Horizons mission (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html) will be visiting Pluto in 2015. The information below has been supplied by Dr. Leslie Young (Southwest Research Institute), who is coordinating this observing campaign on Pluto. Dr. Young is also Deputy Project Scientist for the New Horizons mission. ALERT: Possible Pluto occultation Wednesday night (2012/06/14 03:28 UT) from US East coast. CONTACT: Leslie Young (layoung@boulder.swri.edu; work: 303-546-6057; skype: drpluto). Also see our planning pages in progress at http://wiki.boulder.swri.edu/mediawiki/index.php/2012-06-14_Pluto_occultation. Pluto's thin, nitrogen atmosphere is in vapor-pressure equilibrium with the surface ice, and changes seasonally. We've seen it double since 1988, and now we measure its pressure once or twice a year. The technique we use is stellar occultation, when a star passes behind Pluto's atmosphere. The atmosphere defocuses the starlight. By the timing of the fading of the star, we measure the pressure and temperature in Pluto's atmosphere at ~10 km resolution. MORE INFORMATION: See http://wiki.boulder.swri.edu/mediawiki/index.php/2012-06-14_Pluto_occultation.

  7. The Search for Pluto Water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cook, Jason C.; Cruikshank, Dale P.; Dalle Ore, Cristina M.; Ennico, Kimberly; Grundy, William M.; Olkin, Cathy B.; Protopapa, Silvia; Stern, S. Alan; Weaver, Harold A.; Young, Leslie A.

    2015-11-01

    On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to Pluto at about ~12,000 km from Pluto's surface. The LEISA (Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array) component of the Ralph instrument (Reuter, D.C., Stern, S.A., Scherrer, J., et al. 2008, Space Sci. Rev. 140, 129) obtained spatially resolved near infrared spectra at scales as small as 3 km/pix. LEISA covers the wavelength range 1.25 to 2.5 μm at a spectral resolution (λ/Δλ) of 240, and the 2.1 to 2.25 μm range at a resolution of 560. The observations from this instrument are being used to map the distribution of Pluto's known ices such as N2, CH4, CO and C2H6 as well as search for H2O-ice. To date, H2O-ice has evaded detection from Earth bound observatories. Observations based on LORRI, the LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager, suggest H2O-ice is a major component of several mountain ranges around the western perimeter of the landmass informally named Tombaugh Regio. If true, H2O-ice may be found in small isolated regions around Pluto. We will present our analysis of all LESIA data of Pluto in hand to search for and understand the distribution of H2O-ice. If found, we will also discuss limits on crystalline vs. amorphous H2O-ice and temperature measurements based on the 1.65 µm crystalline H2O-ice feature. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  8. The Size of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tholen, David J.

    2014-11-01

    The presence of a thin atmosphere around Pluto prevents the stellar occultation method from probing all the way down to the surface of Pluto. As such, the most accurate method for measuring the size of Pluto is fitting the mutual event photometry from 1985 to 1990. Previous fits solved for not only the size of Pluto, but also the size and orbit of Charon. Since that era, the size and orbit of Charon have been determined independently and more accurately via other means. Stellar occultation measurements have established the diameter of Charon as 1212 km, while the orbit of Charon has been determined via direct images obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope over a period of two decades. By imposing the known values for the size and orbit of Charon on the fits to the mutual event photometry, a new size for Pluto can be derived with considerably fewer free parameters. To perform this fit, the extensive set of mutual event photometry acquired at Mauna Kea Observatory was utilized. A fit to all the data yields a diameter for Pluto of 2317 km. To avoid the question of limb darkening on Pluto and the effect of albedo variation over the surface of Pluto, even fewer free parameters can be solved for by restricting attention to just the superior mutual events, during which Charon was behind Pluto. In this case the diameter of Pluto increases to 2379 km. Work is currently being done to determine how weighting of the data affects the result. The true value will become known in a few months when New Horizons flies past Pluto. These fits also show that there is still room for improvement in the orbit of Charon.

  9. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Prognostics Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perotti, Jose M.

    2015-01-01

    The project implements prognostics capabilities to predict when a component system or subsystem will no longer meet desired functional or performance criteria, called the end of life. The capability also provides an assessment of the remaining useful life of a hardware component. The project enables the delivery of system health advisories to ground system operators. This project will use modeling techniques and algorithms to assess components' health andpredict remaining life for such components. The prognostics capability being developed will beused:during the design phase and during pre/post operations to conduct planning and analysis ofsystem design, maintenance & logistics plans, and system/mission operations plansduring real-time operations to monitor changes to components' health and assess their impacton operations.This capability will be interfaced to Ground Operations' command and control system as a part ofthe AGSM project to help assure system availability and mission success. The initial modelingeffort for this capability will be developed for Liquid Oxygen ground loading applications.

  10. Pushing back the frontier - A mission to the Pluto-Charon system

    SciTech Connect

    Farquhar, R.; Stern, S.A. Colorado Univ., Boulder )

    1990-08-01

    A flyby mission to Pluto is proposed. The size, orbit, atmosphere, and surface of Pluto, and the Pluto-Charon system are described. The benefits of a planetary flyby compared to ground observations are discussed in terms of imaging capabilities. Planned payloads include a plasma science package, a UV spectrometer, and a thermal mapper. The advantages of a dual launch to Mars and the need for a Jupiter-Pluto transfer are considered. A diagram of a spacecraft for a flyby study of Pluto is provided.

  11. Pushing back the frontier - A mission to the Pluto-Charon system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farquhar, Robert; Stern, S. Alan

    1990-01-01

    A flyby mission to Pluto is proposed. The size, orbit, atmosphere, and surface of Pluto, and the Pluto-Charon system are described. The benefits of a planetary flyby compared to ground observations are discussed in terms of imaging capabilities. Planned payloads include a plasma science package, a UV spectrometer, and a thermal mapper. The advantages of a dual launch to Mars and the need for a Jupiter-Pluto transfer are considered. A diagram of a spacecraft for a flyby study of Pluto is provided.

  12. Automated Ground Umbilical Systems (AGUS) Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gosselin, Armand M.

    2007-01-01

    All space vehicles require ground umbilical systems for servicing. Servicing requirements can include, but are not limited to, electrical power and control, propellant loading and venting, pneumatic system supply, hazard gas detection and purging as well as systems checkout capabilities. Of the various types of umbilicals, all require several common subsystems. These typically include an alignment system, mating and locking system, fluid connectors, electrical connectors and control !checkout systems. These systems have been designed to various levels of detail based on the needs for manual and/or automation requirements. The Automated Ground Umbilical Systems (AGUS) project is a multi-phase initiative to develop design performance requirements and concepts for launch system umbilicals. The automation aspect minimizes operational time and labor in ground umbilical processing while maintaining reliability. This current phase of the project reviews the design, development, testing and operations of ground umbilicals built for the Saturn, Shuttle, X-33 and Atlas V programs. Based on the design and operations lessons learned from these systems, umbilicals can be optimized for specific applications. The product of this study is a document containing details of existing systems and requirements for future automated umbilical systems with emphasis on design-for-operations (DFO).

  13. Dynamics of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dobrovolskis, Anthony R.

    1989-01-01

    The dynamics of the Pluto-Charon system are reviewed from a historical perspective. Although Pluto's orbit crosses Neptune's, an intricate system of nested resonances keeps these planets apart. Pluto's orbit is apparently chaotic as well. Pluto always keeps the same face turned toward Charon, and vice versa. Tides also damp Charon's orbital eccentricity and inclination. Precession of Pluto's orbital plane causes Pluto's obliquity to vary periodically from formally prograde to retrograde. Pluto is probably an original member of the Solar system, but not an escaped satellite of Neptune.

  14. Pluto's atmosphere near perihelion

    SciTech Connect

    Trafton, L.M. )

    1989-11-01

    A recent stellar occultation has confirmed predictions that Pluto has an atmosphere which is sufficiently thick to uniformly envelope the planet and to extend far above the surface. Pluto's atmosphere consists of methane and perhaps other volatile gases at temperatures below their freezing points; it should regulate the surface temperature of its volatile ices to a globally uniform value. As Pluto approaches and passes through perihelion, a seasonal maximum in the atmospheric bulk and a corresponding minimum in the exposed volatile ice abundance is expected to occur. The lag in maximum atmospheric bulk relative to perihelion will be diagnostic of the surface thermal properties. An estimate of Pluto's atmospheric bulk may result if a global darkening (resulting from the disappearance of the seasonally deposited frosts) occurs before the time of maximum atmospheric bulk. The ice deposited shortly after perihelion may be diagnostic of the composition of Pluto's volatile reservoir.

  15. Clues From Pluto's Ions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-05-01

    Nearly a year ago, in July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft passed by the Pluto system. The wealth of data amassed from that flyby is still being analyzed including data from the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument. Recent examination of this data has revealedinteresting new information about Plutos atmosphere and how the solar wind interacts with it.A Heavy Ion TailThe solar wind is a constant stream of charged particles released by the Sun at speeds of around 400 km/s (thats 1 million mph!). This wind travels out to the far reaches of the solar system, interacting with the bodies it encounters along the way.By modeling the SWAP detections, the authors determine the directions of the IMF that could produce the heavy ions detected. Red pixels represent IMF directions permitted. No possible IMF could reproduce the detections if the ions are nitrogen (bottom panels), and only retrograde IMF directions can produce the detections if the ions are methane. [Adapted from Zirnstein et al. 2016]New Horizons data has revealed that Plutos atmosphere leaks neutral nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide molecules that sometimes escape its weak gravitational pull. These molecules become ionized and are subsequently picked up by the passing solar wind, forming a tail of heavy ions behind Pluto. The details of the geometry and composition of this tail, however, had not yet been determined.Escaping MethaneIn a recent study led by Eric Zirnstein (Southwest Research Institute), the latest analysis of data from the SWAP instrument on board New Horizons is reported. The team used SWAPs ion detections from just after New Horizons closest approach to Pluto to better understand how the heavy ions around Pluto behave, and how the solar wind interacts with Plutos atmosphere.In the process of analyzing the SWAP data, Zirnstein and collaborators first establish what the majority of the heavy ions picked up by the solar wind are. Models of the SWAP detections indicate they are unlikely

  16. New Horizons at Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments will characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it will communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away.

  17. The lower atmosphere of Pluto revealed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2009-03-01

    Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have gained valuable new insights about the atmosphere of the dwarf planet Pluto. The scientists found unexpectedly large amounts of methane in the atmosphere, and also discovered that the atmosphere is hotter than the surface by about 40 degrees, although it still only reaches a frigid minus 180 degrees Celsius. These properties of Pluto's atmosphere may be due to the presence of pure methane patches or of a methane-rich layer covering the dwarf planet's surface. ESO PR Photo 08a/09 Pluto (Artist's Impression) "With lots of methane in the atmosphere, it becomes clear why Pluto's atmosphere is so warm," says Emmanuel Lellouch, lead author of the paper reporting the results. Pluto, which is about a fifth the size of Earth, is composed primarily of rock and ice. As it is about 40 times further from the Sun than the Earth on average, it is a very cold world with a surface temperature of about minus 220 degrees Celsius! It has been known since the 1980s that Pluto also has a tenuous atmosphere [1], which consists of a thin envelope of mostly nitrogen, with traces of methane and probably carbon monoxide. As Pluto moves away from the Sun, during its 248 year-long orbit, its atmosphere gradually freezes and falls to the ground. In periods when it is closer to the Sun -- as it is now -- the temperature of Pluto's solid surface increases, causing the ice to sublimate into gas. Until recently, only the upper parts of the atmosphere of Pluto could be studied. By observing stellar occultations (ESO 21/02), a phenomenon that occurs when a Solar System body blocks the light from a background star, astronomers were able to demonstrate that Pluto's upper atmosphere was some 50 degrees warmer than the surface, or minus 170 degrees Celsius. These observations couldn't shed any light on the atmospheric temperature and pressure near Pluto's surface. But unique, new observations made with the CRyogenic InfraRed Echelle Spectrograph (CRIRES

  18. Hemispherical Pluto and Charon Color Composition From New Horizons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ennico, K.; Parker, A.; Howett, C. A. J.; Olkin, C. B.; Spencer, J. R.; Grundy, W. M.; Reuter, D. E.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Binzel, R. P.; Buie, M. W.; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.

    2016-01-01

    New Horizons flew by Pluto and its moons on July 14, 2015 [1]. In the days prior to the closest approach (C/A), panchromatic and color observations of Pluto and Charon were made covering a fully complete range of longitudes. Although only a fraction of this "late-approach" data series has been transmitted to the ground, the results indicate Pluto's latitudinal coloring trends seen on the encounter hemisphere continues on the far side. Charon's red pole is visible from a multitude of longitudes and its colors are uniform with longitude at lower latitudes.

  19. Mountains on Pluto

    NASA Video Gallery

    This movie zooms into the base of the heart-shaped feature on Pluto to highlight a new image captured by NASA's New Horizons. The new image, seen in black and white against a previously released co...

  20. Heat from Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jewitt, D. C.

    1994-01-01

    Submillimeter photometry from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea is used to study thermal emission from Pluto. The brightness temperatures at 800 and 1300 microns are TB = 42 +/- 5 K and TB = 35 +/- 9 K, respectively, essentially confirming a prior measurement of TB = 39 +/- 3 K at 1200 microns by Altenhoff et al. (1988). These are substantially smaller than brightness temperatures obtained previously at 60 and 100 microns (Aumann & Walker, (1987); Sykes et al., (1987)), showing that the surface of Pluto is nonisothermal, nongrey, or both. The data are incompatible with nitrogen-covered, isothermal T about 35 K Pluto models (Owen et al., (1993)). We suggest that the surface may be divided into cold regions coated by nitrogen ice plus warmer regions devoid of nitrogen, and we tentatively identify the latter with optically dark patches on Pluto's surface.

  1. New Horizons at Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schenk, Paul; Nimmo, Francis

    2016-06-01

    The New Horizons mission has revealed Pluto and its moon Charon to be geologically active worlds. The familiar, yet exotic, landforms suggest that geologic processes operate similarly across the Solar System, even in its cold outer reaches.

  2. Pluto's Putative Cryovolcanic Constructs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singer, K. N.; White, O. L.; Schenk, P. M.; Moore, J. M.; Spencer, J. R.; McKinnon, W. B.; Howard, A. D.; Stern, A. S.; Cook, J. C.; Grundy, W. M.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Beyer, R. A.; Umurhan, O.; Howett, C. J. A.; Parker, A. H.; Protopapa, S.; Lauer, T. R.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.; Olkin, C. B.; Ennico, K.

    2016-06-01

    New Horizons imaged two large mounds with deep central depressions on Pluto. Both features appear constructional, and have relatively young surfaces. This mapping is part of effort to characterize and assess the age and origin of the mounds.

  3. Pluto's Spinning Moons

    NASA Video Gallery

    Most inner moons in the solar system keep one face pointed toward their central planet; this animation shows that certainly isn’t the case with the small moons of Pluto, which behave like spinning ...

  4. Discovering Pluto's atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Beatty, J.K.; Killian, A.

    1988-12-01

    Observations of the occultation of an obscure 12th-magnitude star in eastern Virgo by Pluto on June 9, 1988 are discussed. The occultation was observed by astronomers aboard NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory flying over the Pacific. The prediction of the occultation and the results of the observations are examined. The study demonstrated that Pluto has a thin atmosphere and that its diameter is about two-thirds that of the moon.

  5. Improved ephemerides of Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Standish, E. M.

    1994-01-01

    The history of the Pluto ephemerides created at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is given. The uncertainties of present and possible future ephemerides are illustrated, and it is shown how rapidly the error grows for any present-day ephemeris of Pluto which is extrapolated into the future--tens of thousands of kilometers after only a decade. Continuing the observations into the future not only will reduce the extrapolation time but will provide a substantial improvement to the ephemeris itself.

  6. Pluto System Surface Composition Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grundy, William M.; Binzel, R. P.; Cook, J. C.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Dalle Ore, C. M.; Earle, A. M.; Ennico, K.; Jennings, D. E.; Howett, C. J. A.; Linscott, I. R.; Lunsford, A. W.; Olkin, C. B.; Parker, A. H.; Parker, J. Wm; Protopapa, S.; Reuter, D. C.; Singer, K. N.; Spencer, J. R.; Stern, S. A.; Tsang, C. C. C.; Verbiscer, A. J.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.

    2015-11-01

    This talk will present an overview of surface composition discoveries from New Horizons' exploration of the Pluto system. The emphasis will be on results that could only have been obtained thanks to the uniquely high spatial resolution provided by a spacecraft visit. The Ralph instrument is New Horizons' primary tool for investigating surface compositions in the Pluto system. Ralph consists of a near-infrared spectral imager sharing a 75 mm aperture telescope assembly with a color CCD camera system. The Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) component of Ralph provides spectral coverage from 1.25 - 2.5 µm, at a resolving power (λ/Δλ) of 240. Ices such as CH4, N2, CO, CO2, C2H6, NH3, and H2O have uniquely diagnostic absorption bands in this wavelength region. The Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) has 7 CCD arrays of which 4 have interference filters affixed directly on the focal plane. The filters pass wavelengths ranging from 400 through 975 nm, sensitive to coloration by tholin-type materials as well as a weak CH4 ice absorption band at 890 nm. Both Ralph components are usually operated in a scanning mode, rotating the spacecraft about its Z axis to sweep Ralph's field of view across the scene such that each point in the scene is eventually imaged at each wavelength. The width of the scanned region is 0.9 degrees divided into 256 spatial pixels for LEISA and 5.7 degrees spanned by 5000 pixels for MVIC. Over the course of the summer 2015 flyby, numerous Ralph observations targeted the various bodies in the Pluto system. As of late 2015, transmission of the data to Earth continues, but already a number of spectacular data sets are available for analysis, including LEISA scans of Pluto at 6 to 7 km/pixel and of Charon at 3 km/pixel, as well as MVIC scans of Pluto at 700 m/pixel and of Charon at 5 km/pixel. This work was supported by the NASA New Horizons Project.

  7. Dynamics of Pluto and Charon

    SciTech Connect

    Dobrovolskis, A.R. )

    1989-11-01

    The dynamics of the Pluto-Charon system are reviewed from a historical perspective. Although Pluto's orbit crosses Neptune's, an intricate system of nested resonances keeps these planets apart. Pluto's orbit is apparently chaotic as well. Pluto always keeps the same face turned toward Charon, and vice versa. Tides also damp Charon's orbital eccentricity and inclination. Precession of Pluto's orbital plane causes Pluto's obliquity to vary periodically from formally prograde to retrograde. Pluto is probably an original member of the Solar system, but not an escape satellite of Neptune. The Voyager II encounter with Neptune, the final Pluto-Charon mutual events, and the next generation of telescopes are bound to reveal some surprises.

  8. Mk12A/W78 ground test project (u)

    SciTech Connect

    Stokes, Kyle R

    2010-12-01

    The slides present the scope, objectives and status of the Mk12A1W78 Ground Test Project for the purpose of updating the ICBM Project Officers Group. In addition, project constraints and risks are discussed.

  9. Pluto's Extended Atmosphere: New Horizons Alice Lyman-α Imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Retherford, Kurt D.; Gladstone, G. Randall; Stern, S. Alan; Weaver, Harold A.; Young, Leslie A.; Ennico, Kimberly A.; Olkin, Cathy B.; Cheng, Andy F.; Greathouse, Thomas K.; Hinson, David P.; Kammer, Joshua A.; Linscott, Ivan R.; Parker, Alex H.; Parker, Joel Wm.; Pryor, Wayne R.; Schindhelm, Eric; Singer, Kelsi N.; Steffl, Andrew J.; Strobel, Darrell F.; Summers, Michael E.; Tsang, Constantine C. C.; Tyler, G. Len; Versteeg, Maarten H.; Woods, William W.; Cunningham, Nathaniel J.; Curdt, Werner

    2015-11-01

    Pluto's upper atmosphere is expected to extend several planetary radii, proportionally more so than for any planet in our solar system. Atomic hydrogen is readily produced at lower altitudes due to photolysis of methane and transported upward to become an important constituent. The Interplanetary Medium (IPM) provides a natural light source with which to study Pluto's atomic hydrogen atmosphere. While direct solar Lyman-α emissions dominate the signal at 121.6 nm at classical solar system distances, the contribution of diffuse illumination by IPM Lyman-α sky-glow is roughly on par at Pluto (Gladstone et al., Icarus, 2015). Hydrogen atoms in Pluto's upper atmosphere scatter these bright Lyα emission lines, and detailed simulations of the radiative transfer for these photons indicate that Pluto would appear dark against the IPM Lyα background. The Pluto-Alice UV imaging spectrograph on New Horizons conducted several observations of Pluto during the encounter to search for airglow emissions, characterize its UV reflectance spectra, and to measure the radial distribution of IPM Lyα near the disk. Our early results suggest that these model predictions for the darkening of IPM Lyα with decreasing altitude being measureable by Pluto-Alice were correct. We'll report our progress toward extracting H and CH4 density profiles in Pluto's upper atmosphere through comparisons of these data with detailed radiative transfer modeling. These New Horizons findings will have important implications for determining the extent of Pluto's atmosphere and related constraints to high-altitude vertical temperature structure and atmospheric escape.This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  10. Changes on Pluto's Surface Revealed with Long Timebase Photometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    George, Erin; Buie, M.

    2013-10-01

    We are continuing to monitor the long-term photometric behavior of Pluto in order to constrain volatile surface migration. As Pluto passes near the center of the galaxy, the fields are too crowded for normal aperture photometric techniques. We approached this problem with a combination of point-spread function (PSF) photometry and optimal image subtraction (OIS). Our data are from the 0.8-m robotic telescope at Lowell Observatory, the 1-m robotic telescope at New Mexico State Observatory, and the Faulkes 2-m robotic telescope at Siding Spring, part of Las Cumbres Observatory. Our latest results add photometric data up through 2012 to the data collected since discovery. Our new reduction scheme consists of background catalogs, image subtraction using deep templates, and Pluto photometry extraction. We also use the known photometric properties of Charon determined with HST to remove Charon's contribution from old and new data and compare these results with the HST data where Pluto is measured by itself. Data since 2002 show marked departures from the behavior prior to that time. These results provide clear evidence for time evolution of Pluto's surface albedo. We will present these results along with implications for present-day processes that are altering the surface of Pluto. This work also provides crucial insight into the effort required to provide ground-based support observations for the upcoming New Horizons flyby of Pluto in 2015. Support for this work was provided by NASA Planetary Astronomy Program, grant number NNX09AB43G.

  11. Pluto: The Farthest Planet (Usually).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Universe in the Classroom, 1988

    1988-01-01

    Provides background information about the planet Pluto. Includes the history of Pluto and discusses some of the common misconceptions about the planets. Addresses some of the recent discoveries about Pluto and contains a resource list of books, articles, and a videotape. (TW)

  12. The atmosphere of Pluto as observed by New Horizons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gladstone, G. Randall; Stern, S. Alan; Ennico, Kimberly; Olkin, Catherine B.; Weaver, Harold A.; Young, Leslie A.; Summers, Michael E.; Strobel, Darrell F.; Hinson, David P.; Kammer, Joshua A.; Parker, Alex H.; Steffl, Andrew J.; Linscott, Ivan R.; Parker, Joel Wm.; Cheng, Andrew F.; Slater, David C.; Versteeg, Maarten H.; Greathouse, Thomas K.; Retherford, Kurt D.; Throop, Henry; Cunningham, Nathaniel J.; Woods, William W.; Singer, Kelsi N.; Tsang, Constantine C. C.; Schindhelm, Eric; Lisse, Carey M.; Wong, Michael L.; Yung, Yuk L.; Zhu, Xun; Curdt, Werner; Lavvas, Panayotis; Young, Eliot F.; Tyler, G. Leonard; Bagenal, F.; Grundy, W. M.; McKinnon, W. B.; Moore, J. M.; Spencer, J. R.; Andert, T.; Andrews, J.; Banks, M.; Bauer, B.; Bauman, J.; Barnouin, O. S.; Bedini, P.; Beisser, K.; Beyer, R. A.; Bhaskaran, S.; Binzel, R. P.; Birath, E.; Bird, M.; Bogan, D. J.; Bowman, A.; Bray, V. J.; Brozovic, M.; Bryan, C.; Buckley, M. R.; Buie, M. W.; Buratti, B. J.; Bushman, S. S.; Calloway, A.; Carcich, B.; Conard, S.; Conrad, C. A.; Cook, J. C.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Custodio, O. S.; Ore, C. M. Dalle; Deboy, C.; Dischner, Z. J. B.; Dumont, P.; Earle, A. M.; Elliott, H. A.; Ercol, J.; Ernst, C. M.; Finley, T.; Flanigan, S. H.; Fountain, G.; Freeze, M. J.; Green, J. L.; Guo, Y.; Hahn, M.; Hamilton, D. P.; Hamilton, S. A.; Hanley, J.; Harch, A.; Hart, H. M.; Hersman, C. B.; Hill, A.; Hill, M. E.; Holdridge, M. E.; Horanyi, M.; Howard, A. D.; Howett, C. J. A.; Jackman, C.; Jacobson, R. A.; Jennings, D. E.; Kang, H. K.; Kaufmann, D. E.; Kollmann, P.; Krimigis, S. M.; Kusnierkiewicz, D.; Lauer, T. R.; Lee, J. E.; Lindstrom, K. L.; Lunsford, A. W.; Mallder, V. A.; Martin, N.; McComas, D. J.; McNutt, R. L.; Mehoke, D.; Mehoke, T.; Melin, E. D.; Mutchler, M.; Nelson, D.; Nimmo, F.; Nunez, J. I.; Ocampo, A.; Owen, W. M.; Paetzold, M.; Page, B.; Pelletier, F.; Peterson, J.; Pinkine, N.; Piquette, M.; Porter, S. B.; Protopapa, S.; Redfern, J.; Reitsema, H. J.; Reuter, D. C.; Roberts, J. H.; Robbins, S. J.; Rogers, G.; Rose, D.; Runyon, K.; Ryschkewitsch, M. G.; Schenk, P.; Sepan, B.; Showalter, M. R.; Soluri, M.; Stanbridge, D.; Stryk, T.; Szalay, J. R.; Tapley, M.; Taylor, A.; Taylor, H.; Umurhan, O. M.; Verbiscer, A. J.; Versteeg, M. H.; Vincent, M.; Webbert, R.; Weidner, S.; Weigle, G. E.; White, O. L.; Whittenburg, K.; Williams, B. G.; Williams, K.; Williams, S.; Zangari, A. M.; Zirnstein, E.

    2016-03-01

    Observations made during the New Horizons flyby provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of Pluto's atmosphere. Whereas the lower atmosphere (at altitudes of less than 200 kilometers) is consistent with ground-based stellar occultations, the upper atmosphere is much colder and more compact than indicated by pre-encounter models. Molecular nitrogen (N2) dominates the atmosphere (at altitudes of less than 1800 kilometers or so), whereas methane (CH4), acetylene (C2H2), ethylene (C2H4), and ethane (C2H6) are abundant minor species and likely feed the production of an extensive haze that encompasses Pluto. The cold upper atmosphere shuts off the anticipated enhanced-Jeans, hydrodynamic-like escape of Pluto's atmosphere to space. It is unclear whether the current state of Pluto's atmosphere is representative of its average state - over seasonal or geologic time scales.

  13. The atmosphere of Pluto as observed by New Horizons.

    PubMed

    Gladstone, G Randall; Stern, S Alan; Ennico, Kimberly; Olkin, Catherine B; Weaver, Harold A; Young, Leslie A; Summers, Michael E; Strobel, Darrell F; Hinson, David P; Kammer, Joshua A; Parker, Alex H; Steffl, Andrew J; Linscott, Ivan R; Parker, Joel Wm; Cheng, Andrew F; Slater, David C; Versteeg, Maarten H; Greathouse, Thomas K; Retherford, Kurt D; Throop, Henry; Cunningham, Nathaniel J; Woods, William W; Singer, Kelsi N; Tsang, Constantine C C; Schindhelm, Eric; Lisse, Carey M; Wong, Michael L; Yung, Yuk L; Zhu, Xun; Curdt, Werner; Lavvas, Panayotis; Young, Eliot F; Tyler, G Leonard

    2016-03-18

    Observations made during the New Horizons flyby provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of Pluto's atmosphere. Whereas the lower atmosphere (at altitudes of less than 200 kilometers) is consistent with ground-based stellar occultations, the upper atmosphere is much colder and more compact than indicated by pre-encounter models. Molecular nitrogen (N2) dominates the atmosphere (at altitudes of less than 1800 kilometers or so), whereas methane (CH4), acetylene (C2H2), ethylene (C2H4), and ethane (C2H6) are abundant minor species and likely feed the production of an extensive haze that encompasses Pluto. The cold upper atmosphere shuts off the anticipated enhanced-Jeans, hydrodynamic-like escape of Pluto's atmosphere to space. It is unclear whether the current state of Pluto's atmosphere is representative of its average state--over seasonal or geologic time scales. PMID:26989258

  14. IRAS serendipitous survey observations of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sykes, Mark V.; Cutri, Roc M.; Lebofsky, Larry A.; Binzel, Richard P.

    1987-01-01

    On Aug. 16, 1983, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite made two separate pointed observations of Pluto and its moon Charon. Because of the small angular displacement of the system between the times of measurement, the Pluto-Charon system was identified as a source in the Serendipitous Survey (SSC 14029+0518). Detections were made at 60 and 100 micrometers with color-corrected flux densities of 581 + or - 58 and 721 + or - 123 millijanskys, respectively. Pluto is best described as having a dark equatorial band, and brighter polar caps of methane ice extending to + or - 45 deg latitude, at most. An upper limit of approximately 9 meter-amagats is placed on the column abundance of a methane atmosphere on Pluto, which is comparable to recent upper limits based on independent ground-based spectroscopy.

  15. Triton, Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cruikshank, D. P.

    1990-01-01

    On the eve of the Voyager encounter with Neptune and Triton, the knowledge of the surface and atmosphere of the satellite has made some progress. Methane, and perhaps molecular nitrogen, appears to dominate the surface and atmospheric chemistry. Sketchy evidence suggests changes in the disposition and state of the volatile materials on this body in the past few years, perhaps in response to the extreme seasons. Pluto and its satellite Charon are at last revealed in some detail, chiefly resulting from observations of the mutual transits and occultations of 1985-1990. A stellar occultation by Pluto in 1988 has given the first detailed information on the planet's atmosphere. The density of the Pluto-Charon system indicates a bulk composition consisting of silicates and water ice, suggesting formation directly from the solar nebula.

  16. Nonisothermal Pluto atmosphere models

    SciTech Connect

    Hubbard, W.B.; Yelle, R.V.; Lunine, J.I. )

    1990-03-01

    The present thermal profile calculation for a Pluto atmosphere model characterized by a high number fraction of CH4 molecules encompasses atmospheric heating by solar UV flux absorption and conductive transport cooling to the surface of Pluto. The stellar occultation curve predicted for an atmosphere of several-microbar surface pressures (which entail the existence of a substantial temperature gradient close to the surface) agrees with observations and implies that the normal and tangential optical depth of the atmosphere is almost negligible. The minimum period for atmospheric methane depletion is calculated to be 30 years. 29 refs.

  17. The Development of Project Orion Ground Safety Requirements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kirkpatrick, Paul; Condzella, Bill; Williams, Jeff

    2011-01-01

    In spite of a very compressed schedule, Project Orion's AFT safety team was able to pull together a comprehensive set of ground safety requirements using existing requirements and subject matter experts. These requirements will serve as the basis for the design of GSE and ground operations. Using the above lessons as a roadmap, new Projects can produce the same results. A rigorous set of ground safety requirements is required to assure ground support equipment (GSE) and associated flight hardware ground operations are conducted safety

  18. Visual and infrared studies of asteroids and the Pluto-Charon system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tedesco, Edward F.

    1991-01-01

    The strategy of the project was to: (1) analyze light curves of Pluto-Charon mutual eclipse event light curves to derive models of the Pluto-Charon system; (2) use these results in planning and reducing HST observations tentatively scheduled to be obtained in Aug. 1991 to determine Pluto-Charon mass ratio; and (3) obtain visual and IR photometry of selected asteroids to help determine their albedos, sizes, shapes, pole orientations, taxonomic classes, and phase functions.

  19. Pluto's Intriguing Moons

    NASA Video Gallery

    We talk a lot about Charon, Pluto's largest moon that's about half the size of its host planet. But what about Pluto’s other moons? They're strange, to say the least. Pluto’s four smaller moons —...

  20. The Phoenix Pluto Probe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gunning, George R.; Spapperi, Jeff; Wilkinson, Jeffrey P.; Eldred, Jim; Labij, Dennis; Strinni, Meredith

    1990-01-01

    A design proposal for an unmanned probe to Pluto is presented. The topics covered include: (1) scientific instrumentation; (2) mission management, planning, and costing; (3) power and propulsion system; (4) structural subsystem; (5) command, control, and communication; and (6) attitude and articulation control.

  1. Pluto or Bust!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fisher, Diane

    2005-01-01

    This article begins with a discussion of the development of the solar system. It also focuses on the fact that in January 2006, NASA plans to launch the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto-Charon and on to one or more of the icy Kuiper Belt Objects. Sections of the article include: (1) Investigating the Aftermath; (2) Designing a Mission to…

  2. Photochemistry of Pluto's Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krasnopolsky, Vladimir A.

    1999-01-01

    This work include studies of two problems: (1) Modeling thermal balance, structure. and escape processes in Pluto's upper atmosphere. This study has been completed in full. A new method, of analytic solution for the equation of hydrodynamic flow from in atmosphere been developed. It was found that the ultraviolet absorption by methane which was previously ignored is even more important in Pluto's thermal balance than the extreme ultraviolet absorption by nitrogen. Two basic models of the lower atmosphere have been suggested, with a tropopause and a planetary surface at the bottom of the stellar occultation lightcurve, respectively, Vertical profiles, of temperature, density, gas velocity, and the CH4 mixing ratio have been calculated for these two models at low, mean, and high solar activity (six models). We prove that Pluto' " s atmosphere is restricted to 3060-4500 km, which makes possible a close flyby of future spacecraft. Implication for Pluto's evolution have also been discussed. and (2) Modeling of Pluto's photochemistry. Based on the results of (1), we have made some changes in the basic continuity equation and in the boundary conditions which reflect a unique can of hydrodynamic escape and therefore have not been used in modeling of other planetary atmospheres. We model photochemistry of 44 neutral and 23 ion species. This work required solution of a set of 67 second-order nonlinear ordinary differential equations. Two models have been developed. Each model consists of the vertical profiles for 67 species, their escape and precipitation rates. These models predict the chemical structure and basic chemical processes in the current atmosphere and possible implication of these processes for evolution. This study has also been completed in full.

  3. Correlating Pluto's Albedo Distribution to Long Term Insolation Patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Earle, Alissa M.; Binzel, Richard P.; Stern, S. Alan; Young, Leslie A.; Buratti, Bonnie J.; Ennico, Kimberly; Grundy, Will M.; Olkin, Catherine B.; Spencer, John R.; Weaver, Hal A.

    2015-11-01

    NASA's New Horizons' reconnaissance of the Pluto system has revealed striking albedo contrasts from polar to equatorial latitudes on Pluto, as well as sharp boundaries for longitudinal variations. These contrasts suggest Pluto undergoes dynamic evolution that drives the redistribution of volatiles. Using the New Horizons results as a template, in this talk we will explore the volatile migration process driven seasonally on Pluto considering multiple timescales. These timescales include the current orbit (248 years) as well as the timescales for obliquity precession (amplitude of 23 degrees over 3 Myrs) and regression of the orbital longitude of perihelion (3.7 Myrs). We will build upon the long-term insolation history model described by Earle and Binzel (2015, Icarus 250, 405-412) with the goal of identifying the most critical timescales that drive the features observed in Pluto’s current post-perihelion epoch. This work was supported by the NASA New Horizons Project.

  4. Radio Occultation Measurements of Pluto's Atmosphere with New Horizons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hinson, D. P.; Linscott, I.; Tyler, G. L.; Bird, M. K.; Paetzold, M.; Strobel, D. F.; Summers, M. E.; Woods, W. W.; Stern, A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Olkin, C.; Young, L. A.; Ennico Smith, K.; Gladstone, R.; Greathouse, T.; Kammer, J.; Parker, A. H.; Parker, J. W.; Retherford, K. D.; Schindhelm, E.; Singer, K. N.; Steffl, A.; Tsang, C.; Versteeg, M.

    2015-12-01

    The reconnaissance of the Pluto System by New Horizons included radio occultations at both Pluto and Charon. This talk will present the latest results from the Pluto occultation. The REX instrument onboard New Horizons received and recorded uplink signals from two 70-m antennas and two 34-m antennas of the NASA Deep Space Network - each transmitting 20 kW at 4.2-cm wavelength - during a diametric occultation by Pluto. At the time this was written only a short segment of data at occultation entry (193°E, 17°S) was available for analysis. The REX measurements extend unequivocally to the surface, providing the first direct measure of the surface pressure and the temperature structure in Pluto's lower atmosphere. Preliminary analysis yields a surface pressure of about 10 microbars, smaller than expected. Data from occultation exit (16°E, 15°N) are scheduled to arrive on the ground in late August 2015. Those observations will yield an improved estimate of the surface pressure, a second temperature profile, and a measure of the diameter of Pluto with a precision of a few hundred meters.

  5. The Atmosphere of Pluto as Observed by New Horizons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gladstone, Randy

    2016-07-01

    A major goal of the New Horizons (NH) mission was to explore and characterize the structure and composition of Pluto's atmosphere. Several instruments onboard NH contributed to these goals, primarily: 1) the REX instrument, through uplink X-band radio occultations, 2) the Alice instrument, through extreme- and far-ultraviolet solar occultations, and 3) the LORRI panchromatic and MVIC color imagers, through high-resolution imaging. The associated datasets were obtained near closest approach of NH to Pluto at 11:48 UT on 14 July 2015. Pressure and temperature profiles of the lower atmosphere are derived from the REX radio occultation data, the composition and structure of the extended atmosphere are derived from the Alice solar occultation data, and the distribution and properties of Pluto's hazes are derived from the LORRI and MVIC imaging data. The observations made during the NH flyby provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of Pluto's atmosphere. While the lower atmosphere (at altitudes less than 200 km) is largely consistent with ground-based stellar occultations, the upper atmosphere is much colder and more compact than indicated by pre-encounter models. Molecular nitrogen dominates the atmosphere (at altitudes less than 1800 km or so), while methane, acetylene, ethylene, and ethane are important minor species, and likely help produce the haze which surrounds Pluto. The cold upper atmosphere considerably reduces the magnitude of the hydrodynamic escape of Pluto's atmosphere to space. In this talk an overview of the atmosphere science results will be presented.

  6. Visible-band (390-940nm) monitoring of the Pluto absorption spectrum during the New Horizons encounter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Robert J.; Marchant, Jonathan M.

    2015-11-01

    Whilst Earth-based observations obviously cannot compete with New Horizons’ on-board instrumentation in most regards, the New Horizons data set is essentially a snapshot of Pluto in July 2015. The New Horizons project team therefore coordinated a broad international observing campaign to provide temporal context and to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to directly link our Earth-based view of Pluto with “ground truth” provided by in situ measurements. This both adds value to existing archival data sets and forms the basis of long term, monitoring as we watch Pluto recede from the Sun over the coming years. We present visible-band (390-940nm) monitoring of the Pluto absorption spectrum over the period July - October 2015 from the Liverpool Telescope (LT). In particular we wished to understand the well-known 6-day fluctuation in the methane ice absorption spectrum which is observable from Earth in relation to the never-before-available high resolution maps of the Pluto surface. The LT is a fully robotic 2.0m optical telescope that automatically and dynamically schedules observations across 30+ observing programmes with a broad instrument suite. It is ideal for both reactive response to dynamic events (such as the fly-by) and long term, stable monitoring with timing constraints individually optimised to the science requirements of each programme. For example past studies of the observed CH4 absorption variability have yielded ambiguity of whether they were caused by real physical changes or geometric observation constraints, in large part because of the uneven time sampling imposed by traditional telescope scheduling.

  7. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Enterprise Architecture Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harp, Janicce Leshay

    2014-01-01

    The project implements an architecture for delivery of integrated health management capabilities for the 21st Century launch complex. Capabilities include anomaly detection, fault isolation, prognostics and physics-based diagnostics.

  8. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Enterprise Architecture Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perotti, Jose M. (Compiler)

    2015-01-01

    The project implements an architecture for delivery of integrated health management capabilities for the 21st Century launch complex. The delivered capabilities include anomaly detection, fault isolation, prognostics and physics based diagnostics.

  9. Astrometrical observations of Pluto-Charon system with the automated telescopes of Pulkovo observatory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slesarenko, V. Yu.; Bashakova, E. A.; Devyatkin, A. V.

    2016-03-01

    The space probe "New Horizons" was launched on 19th of January 2006 in order to study Pluto and its moons. Spacecraft performed close fly-by to Pluto on 14th of July 2015 and obtained the most detailed images of Pluto and its moon until this moment. At the same time, observation obtained by the ground-based telescopes may also be helpful for the research of such distant system. Thereby, the Laboratory of observational astrometry of Pulkovo Observatory of RAS made a decision to reprocess observations obtained during last decade. More than 350 positional observations of Pluto-Charon system were carried out with the mirror astrograph ZA-320M at Pulkovo and Maksutov telescope MTM-500M near Kislovodsk. These observations were processed by means of software system APEX-II developed in Pulkovo observatory and numerical simulations were performed to calculate the differences between positions of photocenter and barycenter of Pluto-Charon system.

  10. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Prognostics Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harp, Janicce Leshay

    2014-01-01

    The project implements prognostics capabilities to predict when a component, system or subsystem will no longer meet desired functional or performance criteria, called the "end of life." The capability also provides an assessment of the "remaining useful life" of a hardware component.

  11. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Physics Models for Diagnostics Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harp, Janicce Leshay

    2014-01-01

    The project will use high-fidelity physics models and simulations to simulate real-time operations of cryogenic and systems and calculate the status/health of the systems. The project enables the delivery of system health advisories to ground system operators. The capability will also be used to conduct planning and analysis of cryogenic system operations.

  12. Discovery of Hazes in Pluto's Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, Andrew F.; Gladstone, Randy; Summers, Michael; Parker, Alex; Spencer, John; Young, Leslie; Weaver, Hal; Ennico, Kim; Olkin, Cathy; Stern, Alan

    2015-11-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft made the first reconnaissance of the Pluto-Charon system on Jul 14, 2015. The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on New Horizons obtained images of Pluto and Charon on approach, near closest approach, and on departure. The departure images, obtained at high solar phase angles , unexpectedly revealed that Pluto’s atmosphere is hazy. The haze in Pluto’s atmosphere was detected in each of five images obtained in two separate observations on Jul 14 and on Jul 26, at solar phase angles of 167° and 165° respectively. The haze extends to altitudes of at least 150 km above Pluto’s surface, with evidence for layering and/or gravity waves. We will present the haze observations and discuss derived physical properties and implications for the atmosphere and its interactions with the surface, including estimates for the rate of deposition of haze particles on the surface of Pluto.This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons Project.

  13. PLUTO first report.

    PubMed

    Otte, Jean-Bernard; Meyers, Rebecka

    2010-11-01

    The PLUTO is a registry developed by an international collaboration of the Liver Tumors Strategy Group (SIOPEL) of the SIOP. Although the number of patients collected in PLUTO to date is too small to add any analytic power to the existing literature, this new registry has great promise. It has been created to clarify issues regarding the role of liver transplantation in the treatment of children with unresectable liver tumors. By reviewing the results to date, we hope we can motivate more centers to participate, enroll patients, complete data entry, and boost the potential impact of the collaborative effort. To achieve this goal, a large number of patients are needed, which requires an intensified international collaboration. Pediatric oncologists, pediatric surgical oncologists, and pediatric liver transplant surgeons are all encouraged to participate and contribute. This is a preliminary glimpse of what we hope to be a series of interim reports over the next decade from the steering committee to help guide therapy in this very challenging group of children. PMID:20946516

  14. First Results on Pluto's Energetic Particle Environment from the PEPSSI Instrument

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kollmann, Peter; Hill, M. E.; McNutt, R.; Smith, H. T.; Vandegriff, J.; Kusterer, M.; Brown, L.; Haggerty, D. K.; Lisse, C. M.; Elliott, H. A.; Strobel, D.; Bagenal, F.; Sidrow, E.; McComas, D. J.; Horanyi, M.; Zirnstein, E.; Krimigis, S. M.; Ennico, K.; Young, L. A.; Weaver, H. A.; Olkin, C. B.; Stern, S. A.

    2015-11-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto in July 2015 and passed through the wakes of Pluto and its largest moon Charon. Pluto interacts with the solar wind via the magnetic fields created by currents in its ionosphere and the pick-up of charge-exchange ions escaping from its atmosphere. The PEPSSI instrument (Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation) passed through this interaction region. Closest approach distance to Pluto was 11 Pluto radii, inside the orbit of Charon. PEPSSI measures intensities of keV to MeV ions and can distinguish ions in the solar wind from ions originating from Pluto. Pluto’s energetic particle environment clearly stands out compared to the surrounding solar wind at these heliospheric distances. Electrons in the same energy range as the ions do not show a distinct signature throughout the flyby. There is no indication in the particle observations for an intrinsic magnetic field of Pluto. We will present an analysis of the data that is downlinked throughout August and set them into context with measurements taken by PEPSSI in Jupiter’s magnetotail in 2007. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  15. Planetary science: Pluto's polygons explained

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dombard, Andrew J.; O'Hara, Sean

    2016-06-01

    The Sputnik Planum basin of Pluto contains a sheet of nitrogen ice, the surface of which is divided into irregular polygons tens of kilometres across. Two studies reveal that vigorous convection causes these polygons. See Letters p.79 & 82

  16. Intrepid: A Mission to Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Behling, Michael; Buchman, Donald; Marcus, Andres; Procopis, Stephanie; Wassgren, Carl; Ziemer, Sarah

    1990-01-01

    A proposal for an exploratory spacecraft mission to Pluto/Charon system was written in response to the request for proposal for an unmannned probe to pluto (RFP). The design requirements of the RFP are presented and under the guidance of these requirements, the spacecraft Intrepid was designed. The RPF requirement that was of primary importance is the minimization of cost. Also, the reduction of flight time was of extreme importance because the atmosphere of Pluto is expected to collapse close to the Year 2020. If intrepid should arrive after the collapse, the mission would be a failure; for Pluto would be only a solid rock of ice. The topics presented include: (1) scientific instrumentation; (2) mission management, planning, and costing; (3) power and propulsion subsystem; (4) structural subsystem; (5) command, control, and communications; and (6) attitude and articulation control.

  17. Simulating Space Weather at Pluto

    NASA Video Gallery

    This video shows a simulation of the space environment all the way out to Pluto in the months surrounding New Horizons’ July 2015 flyby. At the time, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Cente...

  18. Heterogeneous and Evolving Distributions of Pluto's Volatile Surface Ices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grundy, William M.; Olkin, C. B.; Young, L. A.; Buie, M. W.; Young, E. F.

    2013-10-01

    We report observations of Pluto's 0.8 to 2.4 µm reflectance spectrum with IRTF/SpeX on 70 nights over the 13 years from 2001 to 2013. The spectra show numerous vibrational absorption features of simple molecules CH4, CO, and N2 condensed as ices on Pluto's surface. These absorptions are modulated by the planet's 6.39 day rotation period, enabling us to constrain the longitudinal distributions of the three ices. Absorptions of CO and N2 are concentrated on Pluto's anti-Charon hemisphere, unlike absorptions of less volatile CH4 ice that are offset by roughly 90° from the longitude of maximum CO and N2 absorption. In addition to the diurnal/longitudinal variations, the spectra show longer term trends. On decadal timescales, Pluto's stronger CH4 absorption bands have deepened, while the amplitude of their diurnal variation has diminished, consistent with additional CH4 absorption by high northern latitude regions rotating into view as the sub-Earth latitude moves north (as defined by the system's angular momentum vector). Unlike the CH4 absorptions, Pluto's CO and N2 absorptions are declining over time, suggesting more equatorial or southerly distributions of those species. The authors gratefully thank the staff of IRTF for their tremendous assistance over the dozen+ years of this project. The work was funded in part by NSF grants AST-0407214 and AST-0085614 and NASA grants NAG5-4210 and NAG5-12516.

  19. Global distribution of Pluto's atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Trafton, L.; Stern, S.A.

    1983-04-15

    Pluto's volatile atmosphere currently extends essentially uniformly around the globe and has nearly uniform thickness, discounting topographic elevation differences and tidal effects. Although in equilibrium with the surface ice, the atmosphere does not noticeably freeze out on the night side, during eclipses of the Sun by Charon, or at the poles during Pluto's present season near perihelion. The bulk thermal tide is negligible. The rotational and tidal deformations of the atmosphere affect the atmospheric thickness of 0.6--2% for a pure CH/sub 4/ atmosphere, depending on the unknown mass of Charon, and up to 15% for an atmosphere with high mean molecular weight. An important consequence of the global uniformity of Pluto's atmosphere and the observed CH/sub 4/ column abundance of 27 +- 7 m--Am is that Pluto's surface is close to 58 K over the entire globe. This compares with the value approx.43 K expected on the basis of insolation and blackbody radiation. We suggest that the explanation for Pluto's elevated surface temperature is the low thermal emissivity of solid CH/sub 4/, expected on the basis of the absence of a rotational spectrum in the gas. Solid CH/sub 4/, which covers an appreciable portion of Pluto's surface, can absorb sunlight in the visible and near-infrared bands but lacks opacity at thermal wavelengths to radiate the absorbed energy efficiently.

  20. Shapes and Poles of the Small Satellites of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, Simon B.; Showalter, Mark R.; Spencer, John R.; Weaver, H. A.; Binzel, Richard P.; Hamilton, Douglas P.; Stern, S. A.; Olkin, Catherine B.; Young, Leslie A.; Ennico, Kimberly

    2015-11-01

    Pluto-Charon is a binary dwarf planet surrounded by four much smaller satellites: Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra (in order of increasing distance from the barycenter). These satellites were discovered with the Hubble Space Telescope, which also showed that their orbits are nearly circular around the system barycenter and coplanar to the central binary. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, and obtained the first resolved images of all four small satellites. We will present initial models for the shapes and densities of the small satellites determined from both those resolved images and earlier unresolved images, as well as measurements of the rotational poles of small satellites at the time of the Pluto encounter. This work was supported by the NASA New Horizons Project.

  1. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Physics Models For Diagnostics Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perotti, Jose M.

    2015-01-01

    The project will use high-fidelity physics models and simulations to simulate real-time operations of cryogenic and systems and calculate the status/health of the systems. The project enables the delivery of system health advisories to ground system operators. The capability will also be used to conduct planning and analysis of cryogenic system operations. This project will develop and implement high-fidelity physics-based modeling techniques tosimulate the real-time operation of cryogenics and other fluids systems and, when compared to thereal-time operation of the actual systems, provide assessment of their state. Physics-modelcalculated measurements (called “pseudo-sensors”) will be compared to the system real-timedata. Comparison results will be utilized to provide systems operators with enhanced monitoring ofsystems' health and status, identify off-nominal trends and diagnose system/component failures.This capability can also be used to conduct planning and analysis of cryogenics and other fluidsystems designs. This capability will be interfaced with the ground operations command andcontrol system as a part of the Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance (AGSM) project to helpassure system availability and mission success. The initial capability will be developed for theLiquid Oxygen (LO2) ground loading systems.

  2. The State of Pluto's Bulk Atmosphere at the Time of the New Horizons Encounter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Resnick, Aaron C.; Barry, T.; Buie, M. W.; Carriazo, C. Y.; Cole, A.; Gault, D.; Giles, B.; Giles, D.; Hartig, K.; Hill, K.; Howell, R. R.; Hudson, G.; Loader, B.; Mackie, J.; Nelson, M.; Olkin, C.; Register, J.; Rodgers, T.; Sicardy, B.; Skrutskie, M.; Verbiscer, A.; Wasserman, L.; Watson, C.; Young, E.; Young, L.; Zalucha, A.

    2015-11-01

    On 29-JUL-2015, our team - plus many critical amateur astronomers - observed a stellar occultation by Pluto from sites in Australia and New Zealand. This event was remarkable for two reasons: it preceded the New Horizons flyby of Pluto by just two weeks, and the occulted star was about 10x brighter than Pluto itself, by far the brightest Pluto occultation event observed to date. The separation of ground sites spanned nearly 900 km with respect to the central chord, allowing a good geometric solution for the shadow path. The lightcurves show some inflection points and broad "fangs" that are characteristic of perturbations in the temperature profile. Preliminary fits show that the temperature profile derived from a 2006 occultation (Young et al. 2008) reproduces the 29-JUN-2015 lightcurves well. Assuming a surface radius of 1187 km for Pluto, we find that the surface pressure is 18 +/- 3 µbar. This pressure indicates that Pluto's surface has not yet started to cool down, despite a decrease in absorbed solar flux of more than 17% since perihelion in 1988. A surface pressure of 18 µbar would correspond to a nitrogen ice surface temperature of 38.0 K.References:Young, E.F., et al. "Vertical Structure in Pluto's Atmosphere from the 2006 June 12 Stellar Occultation," AJ 136 1757-1769 (2008)

  3. Escape of Pluto's Atmosphere: In Situ Measurements from the Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) instrument on New Horizons and Remote Observations from the Chandra X-ray observatory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNutt, Ralph L.; Hill, Matthew E.; Lisse, Carey M.; Kollmann, Peter; Bagenal, Fran; Krimigis, Stamatios M.; McComas, David J.; Elliott, Heather A.; Wolk, Scott J.; Strobel, Darrell F.; Zhu, Xun; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.; Ennico, K.; Olkin, C. B.

    2015-11-01

    The escape rate of Pluto's atmosphere is of significant scientific interest. The Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) is a compact, energy by time-of-flight (TOF) instrument developed to help address this science goal. Pluto is known to have an atmosphere, and pre-encounter models have postulated a majority N2 composition with free escape of up to ~1028 molecules/sec. The expected major ionization product near Pluto is singly ionized N2 molecules with pickup energies sufficient to be measured with PEPSSI. In the process of measuring the local energetic particle environment, such measurements can also provide constraints on the local density of Pluto's extended atmosphere, which, along with plasma measurements from the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument, also on New Horizons, could allow the inference of the strengh and extent of mass-loading of the solar wind due to Pluto's atmosphere. Pluto's neutral atmosphere also provides a source population for charge exchange of highly ionized, minor ions in the solar wind, such as O, C, and N. This process allows these ions to capture one electron and be left in an excited state. That state, in turn decays with the emission of a low-energy (100 eV to 1 keV) X-ray. Observations of such solar wind charge exchange (SWCX) X-rays have been made in the past of the Earth's geocorona and Mars's extended atmosphere. The award of almost 40 hours of Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) for observing Pluto with the Chandra X-ray observatory near the period of closest approach of New Horizons to Pluto potentially enabled a remote determination of Pluto's global outgassing rate using the local solar wind flux as measured by the SWAP instrument. Preliminary anaysis of data returned from these observations reveal a definite interaction of Pluto with the solar wind, but at a lower strength than had been predicted. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  4. The visible spectrum of Pluto: secular and longitudinal variation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorenzi, Vania; Pinilla-Alonso, Noemí; Emery, Joshua P.; Licandro, Javier; Cruikshank, Dale P.; Grundy, Will; Binzel, Richard P.

    2015-11-01

    Continuous near-infrared spectroscopic observations during the last 30 years enabled the characterization of the Pluto's surface and the study of its variability. Nevertheless, only few data are available in the visible range, where the nature of the complex-organics can be studied.For this reason, we started an observational campaign to obtain the Pluto's relative reflectance in the visible range, with the aim of characterizing the different components of its surface, and providing ground based observations in support of the New Horizons mission. We observed Pluto on six nights in 2014, with the imager/spectrograph ACAM@WHT (La Palma, Spain). We obtained six spectra in the 0.40 - 0.93 µm range, that covered a whole Pluto's rotational period (6.4 days).To study longitudinal variations, we computed for all the spectra the spectral slope, and the position and the depth of the methane ice absorption bands. Also, to search for secular or seasonal variations we compared our data with previously published results.All the spectra present a red slope, indicating the presence of complex organics on Pluto's surface, and show the methane ice absorption bands between 0.73 and 0.90 μm. We also report the detection of the CH4 absorption band at 0.62 μm, already detected in the spectra of Makemake and Eris. The measurement of the band depth at 0.62 μm in the new spectra of Pluto, and in the spectra of Makemake and Eris, permits us to estimate the Lambert coefficient, not measured yet at this wavelength, at a temperature of 30 K and 40 K.We find that all the CH4 bands present a blue shift. This shift is minimum at the Charon-facing hemisphere, where the CH4 is also more abundant, indicating a higher degree of saturation of CH4 in the CH4:N2 dilution at this hemisphere.Comparing with data in the literature, we found that the longitudinal and secular variations of the parameters measured in our spectra are in accordance with previous results and with the distribution of the dark

  5. North Village Ground Source Heat Pump Demonstration Project

    SciTech Connect

    Redderson, Jeff

    2015-08-03

    This project demonstrated the feasibility of converting from a traditional direct exchange system to a ground source heat pump system on a large scale, multiple building apartment complex on a university campus. A total of ten apartment buildings were converted using vertical well fields and a ground source loop that connected the 24 apartments in each building into a common system. The system has yielded significant operational savings in both energy and maintenance and transformed the living environments of these residential buildings for our students.

  6. High Resolution HST Images of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1994-05-01

    planet Pluto and its moon, Charon, as revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The image was taken by the European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera on February 21, 1994, when the planet was 4,400 million kilometres from the Earth; or nearly 30 times the separation between the Earth and the Sun. The HST corrected optics show the two objects as clearly separate and sharp disks. This now allows astronomers to measure directly (to within about 1 percent) Pluto's diameter of 2320 kilometres and Charon's diameter of 1270 kilometres. The HST observations show that Charon is bluer than Pluto. This means that the worlds have different surface composition and structure. A bright highlight on Pluto indicates that it may have a smoothly reflecting surface layer. A detailed analysis of the HST image also suggests that there is a bright area parallel to the equator of Pluto. However, subsequent observations are needed to confirm is this feature is real. Though Pluto was discovered in 1930, Charon was not detected until 1978. This is because this moon is so close to Pluto that the two world's are typically blurred together when viewed through ground-based telescopes. The new HST image was taken when Charon was near its maximum elongation from Pluto (0.9 arcseconds). The two worlds are 19,640 kilometres apart. This photo accompanies ESO PR 09/94. It is available from ESO as ESO PR Photo 09/94-1 and from the Space Telescope Science Institute (Baltimore, USA) as STSci-PR94-17. Reproductions should be credited to NASA, ESA and ESO. How to obtain ESO Press Information ESO Press Information is made available on the World-Wide Web (URL: http://www.eso.org../). ESO Press Photos may be reproduced, if credit is given to the European Southern Observatory.

  7. ISTAR: Project Status and Ground Test Engine Design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Quinn, Jason Eugene

    2003-01-01

    Review of the current technical and programmatic status of the Integrated System Test of an Airbreathing Rocket (ISTAR) project. November 2002 completed Phase 1 of this project: which worked the conceptual design of the X-43B demonstrator vehicle and Flight Test Engine (FTE) order to develop realistic requirements for the Ground Test Engine (GTE). The latest conceptual FTE and X-43B configuration is briefly reviewed. The project plan is to reduce risk to the GTE and FTE concepts through several tests: thruster, fuel endothermic characterization, engine structure/heat exchanger, injection characterization rig, and full scale direct connect combustion rig. Each of these will be discussed along with the project schedule. This discussion is limited due to ITAR restrictions on open literature papers.

  8. UMTRA Ground Water Project management action process document

    SciTech Connect

    1996-03-01

    A critical U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) mission is to plan, implement, and complete DOE Environmental Restoration (ER) programs at facilities that were operated by or in support of the former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). These facilities include the 24 inactive processing sites the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) (42 USC Section 7901 et seq.) identified as Title I sites, which had operated from the late 1940s through the 1970s. In UMTRCA, Congress acknowledged the potentially harmful health effects associated with uranium mill tailings and directed the DOE to stabilize, dispose of, and control the tailings in a safe and environmentally sound manner. The UMTRA Surface Project deals with buildings, tailings, and contaminated soils at the processing sites and any associated vicinity properties (VP). Surface remediation at the processing sites will be completed in 1997 when the Naturita, Colorado, site is scheduled to be finished. The UMTRA Ground Water Project was authorized in an amendment to the UMTRCA (42 USC Section 7922(a)), when Congress directed DOE to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ground water standards. The UMTRA Ground Water Project addresses any contamination derived from the milling operation that is determined to be present at levels above the EPA standards.

  9. The interacting surface and atmosphere of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, L. A.; Binzel, R. P.; Earle, A. M.; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Olkin, C.; Ennico Smith, K.

    2015-12-01

    The frozen volatiles on Pluto's surface, N2, CO and CH4, have long been expected to interact in complex ways as Pluto's distance from the sun and subsolar latitude vary over the course of a Pluto year. With the flyby of the New Horizons spacecraft by Pluto, we finally have a data that can help us understand this interaction more completely. Key datasets include spatially resolved surface spectra allowing the relation of composition to albedo; surface pressures; brightness temperatures of the winter longitudes at 4.2 cm; and detailed geology and geomorphology. These and other datasets will challenge and refine our previous understanding of Pluto's interacting surfaces and atmospheres.

  10. Photometry of Pluto-Charon mutual events and Hirayama family asteroids

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Binzel, Richard P.

    1991-01-01

    During 1985 to 1990, nature provided earth bound astronomers with a once-per-century opportunity to observe occultation and transit phenomena between Pluto and its satellite, Charon. Ground based observations of these events are now being used to derive physical parameters for the Pluto-Charon system to a precision that is unlikely to be improved upon until in situ spacecraft observations are obtained. This program supports analysis of photometry observations from McDonald Observatory, a critical location in the International Pluto Campaign network. Knowledge of the diameters, masses, densities, and compositions derived from these observations will augment the understanding of Pluto's origin and its context within the problem of solar system formation.

  11. Detection of Atmospheric CO on Pluto with ALMA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gurwell, Mark; Lellouch, Emmanuel; Butler, Bryan; Moullet, Arielle; Moreno, Raphael; Bockelée-Morvan, Dominique; Biver, Nicolas; Fouchet, Thierry; Lis, Darek; Stern, Alan; Young, Leslie; Young, Eliot; Weaver, Hal; Boissier, Jeremie; Stansberry, John

    2015-11-01

    We observed Pluto and Charon using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) interferometer in Northern Chile on June 12.2 and June 13.15, 2015, just one month prior to the New Horizons flyby of the system. The configuration of ALMA at the time provided ~0.3" resolution, allowing separation of emission from Pluto and Charon. This project targeted multiple science goals, including a search for HCN in Pluto's atmosphere [1] and high precision measurements of the individual brightness temperatures of Pluto and Charon [2], also presented at this meeting. Here we report the high SNR detection of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of Pluto. The CO(3-2) rotational line, at 345.796 GHz (867 μm), was observed with 117 kHz spectral resolution for 45 min (on-source) on each date, providing ~3.5mJy/channel RMS. CO emission was clearly detected on both days, with a contrast of ~65 mJy above the Pluto continuum, and ~1.8 MHz FWHM linewidth, with the combined integrated line SNR >50. The presence of CO in Pluto's atmosphere is expected due to it's presence as ice on the surface in vapor pressure equilibrium with the atmosphere (e.g. [3],[4]), and it was previously detected at modest SNR in the near-IR using the VLT [5]. A preliminary assessment based upon the CO line wings shows the fractional abundance of CO is 500-750 ppm, consistent with that found in [5]. Further, the shape of the line core emission (assuming a constant CO mixing ratio), suggests that the atmospheric temperature rises quickly from the surface to ~100-110 K in the altitude range 20-70 km but decreases above that, falling to about 70 K by 200 km altitude. A detailed line inversion analysis will be performed and results presented.[1] Lellouch et al, this meeting. [2] Butler et al., this meeting. [3] Owen et al (1993), Science, 261, pp. 745-748. [4] Spencer et al (1993), In Pluto and Charon, pp. 435-473. Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson. [5] Lellouch et al (2011), A&A, 530, L4.

  12. Ejecta transfer in the Pluto system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porter, Simon B.; Grundy, William M.

    2015-01-01

    The small satellites of the Pluto system (Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra) have very low surface escape velocities, and impacts should therefore eject a large amount of material from their surfaces. We show that most of this material then escapes from the Pluto system, though a significant fraction collects on the surfaces of Pluto and Charon. The velocity at which the dust is ejected from the surfaces of the small satellites strongly determines which object it is likely to hit, and where on the surfaces of Pluto and Charon it is most likely to impact. We also show that the presence of an atmosphere around Pluto eliminates most particle size effects and increases the number of dust impacts on Pluto. In total, Pluto and Charon may have accumulated several centimeters of small-satellite dust on their surfaces, which could be observed by the New Horizons spacecraft.

  13. Volatile Transport Implications from the New Horizons Flyby of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Leslie; Grundy, William M.; Binzel, RIchard P.; Earle, Alissa M.; Linscott, Ivan R.; Hinson, David P.; Zangari, Amanda M.; McKinnon, William B.; Stern, S. Alan; Weaver, Harold A.; Olkin, Catherine B.; Ennico, Kimberly; Gladstone, G. Randall; Summers, Michael E.; Moore, Jeffrey M.; Spencer, John R.

    2015-11-01

    The New Horizons flyby of Pluto has revealed a striking range of terrains, from the very bright region informally named Sputnik Planum, to very dark regions such as the informally named Cthulhu Regio. Such a variety was beyond the scope of recent models of Pluto's seasonal volatile cycle (Young 2013, ApJL 766, L22; Hansen, Paige and Young 2015, Icarus 246, 183), which assumed globally uniform substrate albedos. The "Exchange with Pressure Plateau (EPP)" class of models in Young (2013) and the favored runs from Hansen et al (2015) had long periods of exchange of volatiles between northern and southern hemispheres. In these models, the equators were largely devoid of volatiles; even though the equatorial latitudes received less insolation than the poles over a Pluto year, they were never the coldest place on the icy world. New models that include a variety of substrate albedos can investigate questions such as whether Sputnik Planum has an albedo that is high enough to act as a local cold trap for much of Pluto's year. We will present the implications of this and other assumption-busting revelations from the New Horizons flyby. This work was supported by NASA’s New Horizons project.

  14. Processes Modifying Cratered Terrains on Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, J. M.

    2015-01-01

    The July encounter with Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft permitted imaging of its cratered terrains with scales as high as approximately 100 m/pixel, and in stereo. In the initial download of images, acquired at 2.2 km/pixel, widely distributed impact craters up to 260 km diameter are seen in the near-encounter hemisphere. Many of the craters appear to be significantly degraded or infilled. Some craters appear partially destroyed, perhaps by erosion such as associated with the retreat of scarps. Bright ice-rich deposits highlight some crater rims and/or floors. While the cratered terrains identified in the initial downloaded images are generally seen on high-to-intermediate albedo surfaces, the dark equatorial terrain informally known as Cthulhu Regio is also densely cratered. We will explore the range of possible processes that might have operated (or still be operating) to modify the landscape from that of an ancient pristinely cratered state to the present terrains revealed in New Horizons images. The sequence, intensity, and type of processes that have modified ancient landscapes are, among other things, the record of climate and volatile evolution throughout much of the Pluto's existence. The deciphering of this record will be discussed. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  15. Geology of Pluto and Charon Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Jeffrey Morgan

    2015-01-01

    Pluto's surface was found to be remarkably diverse in terms of its range of landforms, terrain ages, and inferred geological processes. There is a latitudinal zonation of albedo. The conspicuous bright albedo heart-shaped feature informally named Tombaugh Regio is comprised of several terrain types. Most striking is Texas-sized Sputnik Planum, which is apparently level, has no observable craters, and is divided by polygons and ovoids bounded by shallow troughs. Small smooth hills are seen in some of the polygon-bounding troughs. These hills could either be extruded or exposed by erosion. Sputnik Planum polygon/ovoid formation hypotheses range from convection to contraction, but convection is currently favored. There is evidence of flow of plains material around obstacles. Mountains, especially those seen south of Sputnik Planum, exhibit too much relief to be made of CH4, CO, or N2, and thus are probably composed of H2O-ice basement material. The north contact of Sputnik Planum abuts a scarp, above which is heavily modified cratered terrain. Pluto's large moon Charon is generally heavily to moderately cratered. There is a mysterious structure in the arctic. Charon's surface is crossed by an extensive system of rift faults and graben. Some regions are smoother and less cratered, reminiscent of lunar maria. On such a plain are large isolated block mountains surrounded by moats. At this conference we will present highlights of the latest observations and analysis. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project

  16. New Horizons Mission to Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Delgado, Luis G.

    2011-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the trajectory that will take the New Horizons Mission to Pluto. Included are photographs of the spacecraft, the launch vehicle, the assembled vehicle as it is being moved to the launch pad and the launch. Also shown are diagrams of the assembled parts with identifying part names.

  17. Methods & Strategies: Poor, Poor Pluto

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Graham, Lori; West, Courtney; Jones, Lindsay

    2013-01-01

    Just as students never stop learning, neither do librarians and teachers. Learning is a process that is facilitated by interest and applicability. Therefore, it is imperative to develop instructional activities that students deem important and relevant. "Why is Pluto no longer a planet?" is a question whose answer many people, young and…

  18. Seasonal Nitrogen Cycles on Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hansen, C. J.; Paige, D. A.

    1994-01-01

    A thermal model, developed to predict seasonal nitrogen cycles on Triton, has been modified and applied to Pluto. The model is used to calculate the partitioning of nitrogen between surface frost deposits and the atmosphere, as a function of time for various sets of input parameters.

  19. Our new view of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olkin, Cathy

    2016-07-01

    NASA's New Horizons mission has transformed our pixelated view of Pluto – the tiny object lying on the fringes of the solar system. As Cathy Olkin explains, we can now see ancient craters, young glacial plains and layers of haze stretching up to 200 km from the surface

  20. Revisiting the 1988 Pluto Occultation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bosh, Amanda S.; Dunham, Edward W.; Young, Leslie A.; Slivan, Steve; Barba née Cordella, Linda L.; Millis, Robert L.; Wasserman, Lawrence H.; Nye, Ralph

    2015-11-01

    In 1988, Pluto's atmosphere was surmised to exist because of the surface ices that had been detected through spectroscopy, but it had not yet been directly detected in a definitive manner. The key to making such a detection was the stellar occultation method, used so successfully for the discovery of the Uranian rings in 1977 (Elliot et al. 1989; Millis et al. 1993) and before that for studies of the atmospheres of other planets.On 9 June 1988, Pluto occulted a star, with its shadow falling over the South Pacific Ocean region. One team of observers recorded this event from the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, while other teams captured the event from various locations in Australia and New Zealand. Preceding this event, extensive astrometric observations of Pluto and the star were collected in order to refine the prediction.We will recount the investigations that led up to this important Pluto occultation, discuss the unexpected atmospheric results, and compare the 1988 event to the recent 2015 event whose shadow followed a similar track through New Zealand and Australia.

  1. Bantam System Technology Project Ground System Requirements Document

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moon, J. M.; Beveridge, J. R.

    1997-01-01

    The Low Cost Booster Project (LCBP), also known as Bantam, is an element of the Advanced Space Transportation Program focused on Low Cost Booster Technologies. During FY 99 flight demonstrations are planned to demonstrate the feasibility of producing a booster capable of inserting a 150 kg payload into low earth orbit. The ground support system is an element of the full launch system. The ground support system provides for integration of the payload with the launch vehicle, preparation of the vehicle for launch (including maintenance, integration and test of the vehicle flight software), monitor and control of the launch sequence, range safety during launch, and collection of telemetry during the flight up to payload release. The ground support system is intended to make the maximum possible use of Government Off-the-Shelf (GOTS) or Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) hardware and software to obtain the best value in terms of development operations support and ultimate life cycle cost for the launch system.

  2. Contemporaneous Mid-UV Spectral Coverage of Pluto and Charon Coincident With the New Horizons Encounter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schindhelm, Eric

    2014-10-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft will perform the first-ever, and the only planned flyby of the Pluto System, in July 2015. It will observe Pluto and its moons from Far-Ultraviolet (FUV) to radio wavelengths. However, between 1870 and 4200 Angstroms there is no spectral coverage aboard New Horizons. The Mid-Ultraviolet (MUV, 2000 - 3000 Angstroms), which cannot be observed from the ground, contains numerous useful indicators of surface and atmospheric composition that can provide additional constraints about Pluto. Since Pluto's MUV spectrum is known to change over time, it is scientifically important to capture such data at the unique New Horizons encounter epoch. We propose here a focused, 2-orbit STIS G230L observation of Pluto at the same sub-Earth longitude where New Horizons will obtain its best FUV spectra during its closest approach to Pluto. We note that these HST observations need not occur on the same day as the New Horizons encounter, only during the same observing season. In two orbits, STIS yields higher-SNR spectra of Pluto than have ever been obtained to date in the MUV. This will bridge the gap in New Horizons' spectral coverage, placing the FUV spectra in context with longer wavelength data and contributing new information to augment the New Horizons results with those from HST. Our main science objective is MUV spectroscopy of Pluto, however if scheduling allows for the correct roll angle to also capture Charon in the STIS 52"x2" slit, MUV surface reflectance spectra of Charon would also complement New Horizons FUV data.

  3. Impacts and Cratering on Pluto: Implications for the Source of Pluto's Nitrogen (N2)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singer, K. N.; Stern, S. A.

    2015-05-01

    Craters on Pluto and Charon will provide key information, including clues to the source of Pluto's surface and atmospheric N2. With current estimates of impactor flux on Pluto, comets could not deliver enough N2, but impacts might excavate it.

  4. Hemispherical color differences on Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Binzel, Richard P.

    1988-01-01

    Time-resolved multicolor photometric observations of Pluto-Charon mutual events have been used to derive individual colors for these two bodies and to investigate the degree of color differences between their synchronous facing and opposite hemispheres. Pluto is significantly redder than Charon, where direct measurements of the anti-Charon hemisphere of Pluto and the Pluto-facing hemisphere of Charon yield B-V magnitudes of 0.867 + or - 0.008 and 0.700 + or - 0.010, respectively. Both Pluto and Charon are found to have relatively uniform longitudinal color distributions with 1-sigma upper limits of 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively, for any large-scale hemispherical color asymmetries. Thus, a previous suspicion of a significant color asymmetry on Charon is not confirmed. Instead the data may be attributed to a direct detection of polar caps on Pluto.

  5. Project management for complex ground-based instruments: MEGARA plan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García-Vargas, María. Luisa; Pérez-Calpena, Ana; Gil de Paz, Armando; Gallego, Jesús; Carrasco, Esperanza; Cedazo, Raquel; Iglesias, Jorge

    2014-08-01

    The project management of complex instruments for ground-based large telescopes is a challenge itself. A good management is a clue for project success in terms of performance, schedule and budget. Being on time has become a strict requirement for two reasons: to assure the arrival at the telescope due to the pressure on demanding new instrumentation for this first world-class telescopes and to not fall in over-costs. The budget and cash-flow is not always the expected one and has to be properly handled from different administrative departments at the funding centers worldwide distributed. The complexity of the organizations, the technological and scientific return to the Consortium partners and the participation in the project of all kind of professional centers working in astronomical instrumentation: universities, research centers, small and large private companies, workshops and providers, etc. make the project management strategy, and the tools and procedures tuned to the project needs, crucial for success. MEGARA (Multi-Espectrógrafo en GTC de Alta Resolución para Astronomía) is a facility instrument of the 10.4m GTC (La Palma, Spain) working at optical wavelengths that provides both Integral-Field Unit (IFU) and Multi-Object Spectrograph (MOS) capabilities at resolutions in the range R=6,000-20,000. The project is an initiative led by Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) in collaboration with INAOE (Mexico), IAA-CSIC (Spain) and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain). MEGARA is being developed under contract with GRANTECAN.

  6. U.S. Department of Energy Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Ground Water Project: Project plan

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1994-09-01

    The scope of the Project is to develop and implement a ground water compliance strategy for all 24 UMTRA Project processing sites. The compliance strategy for the processing sites must satisfy the proposed EPA ground water cleanup standards in 40 CFR Part 192, Subparts B and C (1987). This scope of work will entail the following activities on a site-specific basis: Develop a compliance strategy based on modification of the UMTRA Surface Project RAPs or develop Ground Water Project RAPs with NRC concurrence on the RAP and full participation of the affected states and tribes. Implement the RAP to include institutional controls, where appropriate, as an interim measure until compliance with the standards is achieved. Institute long-term verification monitoring for transfer to a separate long-term surveillance program on or before the Project end date. Prepare certification or confirmation reports and modify the long-term surveillance plan (LTSP), where needed, on those sites completed prior to the Project end date.

  7. Managing a big ground-based astronomy project: the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanders, Gary H.

    2008-07-01

    TMT is a big science project and its scale is greater than previous ground-based optical/infrared telescope projects. This paper will describe the ideal "linear" project and how the TMT project departs from that ideal. The paper will describe the needed adaptations to successfully manage real world complexities. The progression from science requirements to a reference design, the development of a product-oriented Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and an organization that parallels the WBS, the implementation of system engineering, requirements definition and the progression through Conceptual Design to Preliminary Design will be summarized. The development of a detailed cost estimate structured by the WBS, and the methodology of risk analysis to estimate contingency fund requirements will be summarized. Designing the project schedule defines the construction plan and, together with the cost model, provides the basis for executing the project guided by an earned value performance measurement system.

  8. Studies of Triton and the Pluto-Charon system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tholen, David J.

    1991-01-01

    The project is designed to take advantage of the six-year-long series of mutual occultation and eclipse events involving Pluto and its satellite Charon during one of its rare edge-on orbital alignments. High-precision, high-time-resolution photometry of these events can be utilized to extract several important physical parameters. An important derived parameter is the mean density of the system, which constrains the bulk composition of two bodies.

  9. Pluto: Planet or "Dwarf Planet"?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voelzke, M. R.; de Araújo, M. S. T.

    2010-09-01

    In August 2006 during the XXVI General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), taken place in Prague, Czech Republic, new parameters to define a planet were established. According to this new definition Pluto will be no more the ninth planet of the Solar System but it will be changed to be a "dwarf planet". This reclassification of Pluto by the academic community clearly illustrates how dynamic science is and how knowledge of different areas can be changed and evolves through the time, allowing to perceive Science as a human construction in a constant transformation, subject to political, social and historical contexts. These epistemological characteristics of Science and, in this case, of Astronomy, constitute important elements to be discussed in the lessons, so that this work contributes to enable Science and Physics teachers who perform a basic education to be always up to date on this important astronomical fact and, thereby, carry useful information to their teaching.

  10. Mapping the stability region of the 3:2 Neptune-Pluto resonance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levison, H. F.; Stern, S. A.

    1993-01-01

    Pluto and Charon are most likely the remnants of a large number of objects that existed in the Uranus-Neptune region at early epochs of the solar system. Numerical integrations have shown that, in general, such objects were ejected from the planetary region on timescales of approximately 10(exp 7) years after Neptune and Uranus reached their current masses. It is thought that the Pluto-Charon system survived to current times without being dynamically removed in this way because it is trapped in a set of secular and mean motion resonances with Neptune. The best-known Pluto-Neptune orbit coupling is the 3:2 mean motion resonance discovered almost 30 years ago by C. Cohen and E. Hubbard. These workers showed that the resonance angle, delta is equivalent to 3(lambda(sub P)) - 2(lambda(sub N)) - omega-bar(sub P) where omega-bar(sub P) is the longitude of perihelion of the Pluto-Charon system, and lambda(sub N) and lambda(sub P) are the mean longitude of Neptune and Pluto-Charon respectively, librates about 180 deg with an amplitude, A(sub delta), of 76 deg. A numerical simulation project to map out the stability region of the 3:2 resonance is reported. The results of these simulations are important to understanding whether Pluto's long-term heliocentric stability requires only the 3:2 resonance, or whether it instead requires one or more of the other Pluto-Neptune resonances. Our study also has another important application. By investigating stability timescales as a function of orbital elements, we gain insight into the fraction of orbital phase space which the stable 3:2 resonance occupies. This fraction is directly related to the probability that the Pluto-Charon system (and possibly other small bodies) could have been captured into this resonance.

  11. Pluto-charon mutual events

    SciTech Connect

    Binzel, R.P. )

    1989-11-01

    Since 1985, planetary astronomers have been working to take advantage of a once-per-century apparent alignment between Pluto and its satellite, Charon, which has allowed mutual occultation and transit events to be observed. There events, which will cease in 1990, have permitted the first precise determinations of their individual radii, densities, and surface compositions. In addition, information on their surface albedo distributions can be obtained.

  12. Ground-water resources of Riverton irrigation project area, Wyoming

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Morris, Donald Arthur; Hackett, O.M.; Vanlier, K.E.; Moulder, E.A.; Durum, W.H.

    1959-01-01

    The Riverton irrigation project area is in the northwestern part of the Wind River basin in west-central Wyoming. Because the annual precipitation is only about 9 inches, agriculture, which is the principal occupation in the area, is dependent upon irrigation. Irrigation by surface-water diversion was begum is 1906; water is now supplied to 77,716 acres and irrigation has been proposed for an additional 31,344 acres. This study of the geology and ground-water resources of the Riverton irrigation project, of adjacent irrigated land, and of nearby land proposed for irrigation was begun during the summer of 1948 and was completed in 1951. The purpose of the investigation was to evaluate the ground-water resources of the area and to study the factors that should be considered in the solution of drainage and erosional problems within the area. The Riverton irrigation project area is characterized by flat to gently sloping stream terraces, which are flanked by a combination of badlands, pediment slopes, and broad valleys. These features were formed by long-continued erosion in an arid climate of the essentially horizontal, poorly consolidated beds of the Wind River formation. The principal streams of the area flow south-eastward. Wind River and Fivemile Creek are perennial streams and the others are intermittent. Ground-water discharge and irrigation return flow have created a major problem in erosion control along Fivemile Creek. Similar conditions might develop along Muddy and lower Cottonwood Creeks when land in their drainage basins is irrigated. The bedrock exposed in the area ranges in age from Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary (middle Eocene). The Wind River formation of early and middle Eocene age forms the uppermost bedrock formation in the greater part of the area. Unconsolidated deposits of Quaternary age, which consist of terrace gravel, colluvium, eolian sand and silt. and alluvium, mantle the Wind River formation in much of the area. In the irrigated parts

  13. Dust Ablation in Pluto's Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horanyi, M.; Poppe, A. R.; Sternovsky, Z.

    2015-12-01

    Based on measurements by in situ dust detectors onboard the Pioneer and New Horizon spacecraft the total production rate of dust particles born in the Kuiper belt can be estimated to be on the order of 5 x 10 ^3 kg/s in the approximate size range of 1 - 10 micron. These particles slowly migrate inward due to Poynting - Robertson drag and their spatial distribution is shaped by mean motion resonances with the gas giant planets in the outer solar system. The expected mass influx into Pluto's atmosphere is on the order of 50 kg/day, and the arrival speed of the incoming particles is on the order of 3 - 4 km/s. We have followed the ablation history as function of speed and size of dust particles in Pluto's atmosphere, and found that, if the particles are rich in volatiles, they can fully sublimate due to drag heating and deposit their mass in a narrow layer. This deposition might promote the formation of the haze layers observed by the New Horizons spacecraft. This talk will explore the constraints on the composition of the dust particles, as well as on our newly developed models of Pluto's atmosphere that can be learned by matching the altitude where haze layers could be formed.

  14. Pluto's atmosphere from stellar occultations in 2012 and 2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dias-Oliveira, Alex; Sicardy, Bruno; Lellouch, Emmanuel; Vieira-Martins, Roberto; Assafin, Marcelo; Ignácio Bueno Camargo, Júlio; Braga-Ribas, Felipe; Gomes-Júnior, Altair; Bendetti-Rossi, Gustavo; Colas, François; Decock, Alice; Doressoundiram, Alain; Dumas, Christophe; Emílio, Marcelo; Fabrega Polleri, Joaquin; Gil-Hutton, Ricardo; Gillon, Michael; Girard, Julien; Hau, George; Ivanov, Valentin; Jehin, Emmanuel; Lecacheux, Jean; Leiva, Rodrigo; Lopez-Sisterna, Cecília; Mancini, Luigi; Manfroid, Jean; Maury, Alain; Meza, Erick; Morales, Nicolas; Nagy, Leslie; Opitom, Cyrielle; Ortiz, José Luiz; Pollock, Joe; Roques, Françoise; Snodgrass, Colin; François Soulier, Jean; Thirouin, Audrey; Vanzi, Leonardo; Widemann, Thomas; Reichart, Daniel; LaCluyze, Aaron; Haislip, Joshua B.; Ivarsen, Kevin; Dominik, Martin; Jørgensen, Uffe; Skottfelt, Jesper

    2015-11-01

    We present results from two Pluto stellar occultations observed on 18 July 2012 and 04 May 2013, and monitored respectively from five and six sites in South America. Both campaigns involved large telescopes (including the 8.2-m VLT at ESO/Paranal). The high SNR ratios and multi-chord coverage provide amoung the best Pluto atmospheric profiles ever obtained from the ground.We show that a spherically symmetric, clear (no-haze) and pure N2 atmosphere with a unique temperature profile satisfactorily fits the twelve lightcurves provided by the two events. We find, however, a small but significant increase of pressure of 6% (6-sigma level) between the two dates, with values of 2.16 ± 0.2 and 2.30 ± 0.01 μbar at the reference radius 1275 km, respectively.We provide atmospheric constrains between 1190 km and 1450 km from Pluto's center, and we determine the temperature profile with accuracy of a few km in vertical scale. Our model shows a stratosphere with strong positive gradient between 1190 km (at 36 K, 11 μbar) and r =1215 km (6.0 μbar), where a temperature maximum of 110 K is reached. Above it is a mesosphere with negative thermal gradient of -0.2 K/km up to 1,390 km (0.25 μbar), at which point, the mesosphere connects itself to a more isothermal upper branch at 81 K. This profile provides (assuming no troposphere) a Pluto surface radius of 1190 ± 5 km, consistent with preliminary values obtained by New Horizons. Currently measured CO abundances are too low to explain the negative mesospheric thermal gradient. We explore the possibility of an HCN (recently detected by ALMA) cooling. This model, however, requires largely supersaturated HCN. Zonal winds and vertical compositional variations of the atmosphere are also unable to explain the observed mesospheric trend.These events are the last useful ground-based occultations recorded before the 29 June 2015 occultation observed from Australia and New Zealand, and before the NASA's New Horizons flyby of July 2015

  15. Discovery of Haze in Pluto's Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, A. F.

    2015-12-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft made the first reconnaissance of the Pluto-Charon system on Jul 14, 2015. The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on New Horizons obtained images of Pluto and Charon on approach, near closest approach, and on departure. The departure images, obtained at high solar phase angles, unexpectedly revealed that Pluto's atmosphere is hazy. The haze in Pluto's atmosphere was detected in each of five images obtained in two separate observations on Jul 14 and on Jul 16, at solar phase angles of 167° and 165° respectively. The haze extends to altitudes of 150 km above Pluto's surface, with evidence for layering and/or gravity waves. We will present the haze observations and discuss derived physical properties and implications for the atmosphere and its interactions with the surface.

  16. Evolution of the JPSS Ground Project Calibration and Validation System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chander, G.; Jain, P.

    2014-12-01

    The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) next-generation operational Earth observation Program that acquires and distributes global environmental data from multiple polar-orbiting satellites. The JPSS Program plays a critical role to NOAA's mission to understand and predict changes in weather, climate, oceans, and coasts environments, which supports the nation's economy and protects lives and property. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is acquiring and implementing the JPSS, comprised of flight and ground systems on behalf of NOAA. The JPSS satellites are planned to fly in afternoon orbit and will provide operational continuity of satellite-based observations and products for NOAA Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite. Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system is a NOAA system developed and deployed by JPSS Ground Project to support Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val), Algorithm Integration, Investigation, and Tuning, and Data Quality Monitoring. It is a mature, deployed system that supports SNPP mission and has been in operations since SNPP launch. This paper discusses the major re-architecture for Block 2.0 that incorporates SNPP lessons learned, architecture of the system, and demonstrates how GRAVITE has evolved as a system with increased performance. It is a robust, reliable, maintainable, scalable, and secure system that supports development, test, and production strings, replaces proprietary and custom software, uses open source software, and is compliant with NASA and NOAA standards. "[Pending NASA Goddard Applied Engineering & Technology Directorate (AETD) Approval]"

  17. Pluto's Atmosphere from the July 2010 Stellar Occultation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Person, Michael J.; Elliot, J. L.; Bosh, A. S.; Gulbis, A. A. S.; Jensen-Clem, R.; Lockhart, M. F.; Zangari, A. M.; Zuluaga, C. A.; Levine, S. E.; Pasachoff, J. M.; Souza, S. P.; Lu, M.; Malamut, C.; Rojo, P.; Bailyn, C. D.; MacDonald, R. K. D.; Ivarsen, K. M.; Reichart, D. E.; LaCluyze, A. P.; Nysewander, M. C.; Haislip, J. B.

    2010-10-01

    We have observed the 4 July 2010 stellar occultation by Pluto as part of our program of monitoring Pluto's atmospheric changes over the last decade. Successful observations were obtained from three sites: Cerro Calan and Cerro Tololo, Chile, as well as the HESS-project site (High Energy Stereoscopic System) in southwestern Namibia. Successful telescope apertures ranged from 0.45 m to 1.0 m and resulted in seven occultation light curves for the event from among the three sites. Simultaneous analysis of the seven light curves indicates that Pluto's atmosphere continues to be stable, as the calculated atmospheric radii are consistent with those detected in 2006 (Elliot et al., AJ 134, 1, 2007) and 2007 (Person et al., AJ 136, 1510, 2008), continuing the stability that followed the large pressure increase detected between 1988 (Millis et al., Icarus 105, 282, 1993) and 2002 (Elliot et al., Nature 424, 165, 2003). We will present the overall astrometric solution as well as current profiles for Pluto's upper atmospheric temperature and pressure obtained from inversion of the light curves (Elliot, Person, and Qu, AJ 126, 1041, 2003). This work was supported, in part, by grants NNX10AB27G to MIT, NNX08AO50G to Williams College, and NNH08AI17I to the USNO from NASA's Planetary Astronomy Division. The 0.75-m ATOM (Automatic Telescope for Optical Monitoring) light curve was obtained with the generous assistance of the HESS-project staff, arranged by Stefan Wagner and Marcus Hauser of the University of Heidelberg. The 0.45-m Goto telescope at Cerro Calán National Astronomical Observatory, Universidad de Chile, was donated by the Government of Japan. PROMPT (Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes) observations at Cerro Tololo were made possible by the Robert Martin Ayers Science Fund. Student participation was supported in part by NSF's REU program and NASA's Massachusetts Space Grant.

  18. Photometry of Pluto 2008–2014: Evidence of Ongoing Seasonal Volatile Transport and Activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buratti, B. J.; Hicks, M. D.; Dalba, P. A.; Chu, Devin; O’Neill, Ariel; Hillier, J. K.; Masiero, J.; Banholzer, Sophianna; Rhoades, H.

    2015-05-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft will encounter Pluto in 2015 July. As this fast flyby will yield a picture of Pluto frozen in time, ground-based observations are key to understanding this dwarf ice planet, especially with regard to the seasonal transport of surface volatiles. This paper reports on changes in Pluto's rotational light curve as evidence for this transport. Historical observations are consistent with a stable frost pattern, but since 2002, changes began to appear in both light curves and Hubble Space Telescope maps. Our BVR observations at Table Mountain Observatory from 2008 to 2014 show evidence for sustained and continued albedo and color changes on Pluto. The B and V albedos are stable, but Pluto is becoming redder in color, particularly on its low-albedo side. This view is consistent with the transport of a bright volatile (nitrogen) with the uncovering of a substrate of red material such as photolyzed methane. As Buie et al. reported a B – V of 0.96 in 2002–2003, and our B – V was higher in 2008–2012, Pluto may have experienced a transient reddening in the 1999–2012 period. We also discovered an opposition supersurge in all three colors at very small solar phase angles (∼0.°10). Explosive geysers have been observed on Triton and Mars, the two other celestial bodies with receding polar caps. Because the physical conditions existing on Pluto are similar to those on Triton, we predict that plume deposits and possibly active plumes will be found on its surface.

  19. Geophysical survey of 105-DR Pluto Crib, 116-DR-4, 100-D Area

    SciTech Connect

    Bergstrom, K.A.

    1993-10-01

    The objective of this Geophysical Survey was to verify the location of the 105-DR Pluto Crib, 116-DR-4. A surface monument currently marks its location. The crib is 10 feet by 10 feet and 15 feet deep. Ground-Penetrating Radar was the geophysical method selected to conduct the investigation.

  20. Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) Project: Developing a COTS-Intensive Ground System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Saylor, Richard; Esker, Linda; Herman, Frank; Jacobsohn, Jeremy; Saylor, Rick; Hoffman, Constance

    2013-01-01

    Purpose of the Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) is to implement a new modern ground segment that will enable the NASA Space Network (SN) to deliver high quality services to the SN community for the future The key SGSS Goals: (1) Re-engineer the SN ground segment (2) Enable cost efficiencies in the operability and maintainability of the broader SN.

  1. Seasonal Volatile Transport on Pluto: New Results from the 2013 Observing Season and Preparation for the New Horizons Encounter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buratti, Bonnie; Dalba, Paul; Hicks, Michael; Chu, Devin; O'Neill, Ariel

    2014-05-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft will encounter Pluto in July 2015 for a fast flyby and close investigation of the dwarf planet and its five known moons. With a time-constrained mission it is essential to acquire ground-based observations for context and for a longer temporal excursion. An observing program at JPL's Table Mountain Observatory (TMO) has been in operation during the past decade and a half, with a goal of seeking temporal changes on Pluto's surface. This program, which has been largely implemented by undergraduate students, seeks changes in the color and albedo of Pluto. Seasonal transport of volatiles is predicted to occur on Pluto, and this transport should be detectable through changes in its rotational light curve as well as in color and albedo, once all variations due to viewing geometry have been accounted for. Occultation studies have shown that there has been a steady increase in Pluto's atmospheric pressure over the past two decades, so concomitant sublimation and recondensation of frost has likely occurred, as predicted by volatile transport models. Rotational light curves of Pluto through time have been created for static frost models based on images from the Hubble Space Telescope. These models, which account for changes in viewing geometry, have been compared with observed light curves obtained between 1950 and 2013. No evidence for transport was evident prior to 2000. However, starting in the early part of the millennium, evidence from new observations by HST (Buie et al., 2010, Astron. J. 139, 1128) and rotational light curves obtained in 2007-2008 (Hicks et al. 2008, B.A.A.S. 40, 460) suggest changes in the frost pattern on Pluto's surface. An extensive and dedicated observing program at TMO was conducted over a period of five months in 2013 during Pluto's opposition. New observations of Pluto's light curve from the 2013 show continued volatile transport, but the most striking change is in Pluto's color. As the New Horizons encounter

  2. Resolved photometry and a solar phase curve for Pluto and Charon from New Horizons LORRI.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zangari, Amanda M.; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, Harold A.; Young, Leslie A.; Ennico, Kimberly; Olkin, Catherine B.; Moore, Jeffrey M.; Binzel, Richard P.; Buie, Marc W.; Buratti, Bonnie J.; Cheng, Andrew F.; Linscott, Ivan R.; McKinnon, William B.; Reitsema, Harold J.; Schenk, Paul; Showalter, Mark R.; Spencer, John R.; Tyler, G. L.; Bray, Veronica J.; Momary, Thomas W.; Nimmo, Francis; Singer, Kelsi N.

    2014-11-01

    During its eighth annual checkout, the New Horizons spacecraft's LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI, Cheng, A. F. et al. (2008) Space Sci Rev, 140, 189-215, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-007-9271-6) snapped 15 series of five optical navigation images of Pluto and Charon. These images, taken over the course of a single 6.38-day revolution/rotation of the system between 2014-07-19 and 2014-07-26 represent a continuation and expansion of last year's campaign to provide the first Pluto and Charon solar phase curves beyond the ground-based limit of 2 degrees (Zangari et al 2013, DPS 45, # 303.08). Since July 2013, Pluto and Charon have become brighter and more-clearly separated as the Pluto-spacecraft distance has halved from 5.9 AU to 2.8 AU, and the solar phase angle has increased from 10.9 to 13.0 degrees. We will present individual light curves and solar phase curves as well as comparisons to previous measurements. Follow-up observations will be continued in January 2015.This work has been funded by NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto.

  3. Pluto Express power system architecture

    SciTech Connect

    Carr, G.A.

    1996-12-31

    The Pluto Express power system must answer the challenge of the next generation spacecraft by reducing its power, mass and volume envelopes. Technology developed by the New Millennium Program will enable the power system to meet the stringent requirements for the Pluto Express mission without exceeding the spacecraft mass and volume budgets. Traditionally, there has been an increasing trend of the percentage of mass of the power system electronics with respect to the total spacecraft mass. With all of the previous technology focus on high density digital packaging, the power system electronics have not been keeping pace forcing the spacecraft to absorb a relative increase in the power system mass. The increasing trend can be reversed by using mixed signal ASICs and high density multi-chip-module (MCM) packaging techniques validated by the New Millennium Program. As the size of the spacecraft shrinks, the power system electronics must become tightly integrated with the spacecraft loads. The power system architecture needs the flexibility to accommodate the specific load requirements without sacrificing the capability for growth or reduction as the spacecraft requirements change throughout the development. Modularity is a key requirement that will reduce the overall power system cost. Although the focus has been on shrinking the power system volume and mass, the efficiency and functionality cannot be ignored. Increased efficiency and functionality will only enhance the power systems capability to reduce spacecraft power requirements. The combination of the New Millennium packaging technologies with the Pluto Express power system architecture will produce a product with the capability to meet a wide range of mission profiles while reducing system development costs.

  4. Orbital and Rotational Dynamics of Pluto's Small Moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showalter, Mark R.; Spencer, John R.; Porter, Simon B.; Hamilton, Douglas P.; Binzel, Richard P.; Stern, S. Alan; Weaver, Harold A.; Olkin, Cathy B.; Young, Leslie A.; Ennico, Kimberly

    2015-11-01

    Four small moons, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, orbit the central binary planet comprising Pluto and Charon. Showalter and Hamilton (Nature 522, 45-49, 2015) analyzed Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data from 2010-2012 to explore some of the dynamical consequences of orbiting a binary planet. They noted evidence for a chaotic rotation of Nix and Hydra, and identified a possible three-body resonance between Styx, Nix and Hydra. We revisit the dynamics of the outer moons based on the latest data from the New Horizons flyby. As the spacecraft approached Pluto, the LORRI camera regularly imaged the moons over a period of ~100 days. This data set will make it possible to derive light curves and rotation rates unambiguously, something that has not been possible from the sparsely sampled HST data. It also extends the time baseline of the orbit determinations by several years, providing a more precise test of the proposed orbital resonances. We will discuss the latest measurements and their dynamical implications for the evolution of the Pluto system. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  5. Mirages and the nature of Pluto's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stansberry, J. A.; Lunine, J. I.; Hubbard, W. B.; Yelle, R. V.; Hunten, D. M.

    1994-01-01

    We present model occultation lightcurves demonstrating that a strong thermal inversion layer at the base of Pluto's stratosphere can reproduce the minimum flux measured by the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO) during the 1988 occultation of a star by Pluto. The inversion layer also forms the occultation equivalent of a mirage at a radius of 1198 km, which is capable of hiding tropospheres of significant depth. Pluto's surface lies below 1198 km, its radius depending on the depth of the troposphere. We begin by computing plausible temperature structures for Pluto's lower atmosphere, constrained by a calculation of the temperature of the atmosphere near the surface. We then trace rays from the occulted star through the model atmosphere, computing the resultant bending of the ray. Model light curves are obtained by summing the contribution of individual rays within the shadow of Pluto on Earth. We find that we can reproduce the KAO lightcurve using model atmospheres with a temperature inversion and no haze. We have explored models with tropospheres as deep as 40 km (implying a Pluto radius of 1158 km) that reproduce the suite of occultation data. Deeper tropospheres can be fitted to the data, but the mutual event radius of 1150 km probably provides a lower bound. If Pluto has a shallow or nonexistent troposphere, its density is consistent with formation in the solar nebula with modest water loss due to impact ejection. If the troposhere is relatively deep, implying a smaller radius and larger density, significant amounts of water loss are required.

  6. Masses and densities of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Null, G. W.; Owen, W. M.; Synnott, S. P.

    1993-06-01

    We have analyzed HST Wide Field Camera CCD images of Pluto, Charon, and a background star to observe Pluto's barycentric motion and to determine the individual masses and bulk densities of Pluto and Charon. The most fundamental new result was an accurate solution for a previously undetermined parameter, the Charon/Pluto mass ratio q; the new solution is q = 0.0837 +/- 0.0147. Significant accuracy improvements by almost a factor of two were obtained for Charon's orbital semimajor axis, a = 19,405 +/- 86 km and the Pluto system mass of 1.401 +/- 0.019 x 10 exp 8 inverse solar masses. The Pluto and Charon masses were (13.10 +/- 0.24) x 10 exp 24 g and (1.10 +/- 0.18) x 10 exp 24 g, respectively. Computed densities depend strongly on the assumed radius values. The density of Pluto is 2.13 +/- 0.04 g/cu cm and that of Charon is 1.30 +/- 0.23 g/cu cm.

  7. Masses and densities of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Null, G. W.; Owen, W. M., Jr.; Synnott, S. P.

    1993-01-01

    We have analyzed HST Wide Field Camera CCD images of Pluto, Charon, and a background star to observe Pluto's barycentric motion and to determine the individual masses and bulk densities of Pluto and Charon. The most fundamental new result was an accurate solution for a previously undetermined parameter, the Charon/Pluto mass ratio q; the new solution is q = 0.0837 +/- 0.0147. Significant accuracy improvements by almost a factor of two were obtained for Charon's orbital semimajor axis, a = 19,405 +/- 86 km and the Pluto system mass of 1.401 +/- 0.019 x 10 exp 8 inverse solar masses. The Pluto and Charon masses were (13.10 +/- 0.24) x 10 exp 24 g and (1.10 +/- 0.18) x 10 exp 24 g, respectively. Computed densities depend strongly on the assumed radius values. The density of Pluto is 2.13 +/- 0.04 g/cu cm and that of Charon is 1.30 +/- 0.23 g/cu cm.

  8. Pluto and Charon - the dance goes on

    SciTech Connect

    Beatty, J.K.

    1987-09-01

    Various methods for estimating the diameters of Pluto and Charon are discussed. The application of speckle interferometry, the timing of occultations, and the monitoring of Charon and Pluto rotations to calculate the diameter of the planet and its satellite are described. Walker (1980) estimated Charon's diameter as greater than 1200 km using the occultated star method; the speckle interferometry estimates of Baier and Weigelt (1983) are between 2710-3460 km for Pluto and between 1050-1520 km for Charon; and using the mutual events method Dunbar and Tedesco (1986) estimated the diameter of Pluto as 2300 + or - 100 km and of Charon as 1500 + or - 100 km. The use of IRAS data combined with visual brightness to estimate planet and satellite diameters is examined; Tedesco et al. (1987) estimated Pluto's diameter as 2200 + or - 150 km and Charon's as 1300 + or - 150 km, and Aumann and Walker (1987) obtained estimates of 2360 km for Pluto and 1534 km for Charon. The compositions of Pluto's and Charon's atmospheres are analyzed.

  9. The Icy Cold Heart of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, Douglas P.

    2015-11-01

    The locations of large deposits of frozen volatiles on planetary surfaces are largely coincident with areas receiving the minimum annual influx of solar energy; familiar examples include the polar caps of Earth and Mars. For planets tilted by more than 45 degrees, however, the poles actually receive more energy than some other latitudes. Pluto, with its current obliquity of 119 degrees, has minima in its average annual insolation at +/- 27 degrees latitude, with ~1.5% more energy flux going to the equator and ~15% more to the poles. Remarkably, the fraction of annual solar energy incident on different latitudes depends only on the obliquity of the planet and not on any of its orbital parameters.Over millions of years, Pluto's obliquity varies sinusoidally from 102-126 degrees, significantly affecting the latitudinal profile of solar energy deposition. Roughly 1Myr ago, the poles received 15% more energy that today while the equator received 13% less. The energy flux to latitudes between 25-35 degrees is far more stable, remaining low over the presumably billions of years since Pluto acquired its current spin properties. Like the poles at Earth, these mid latitudes on Pluto should be favored for the long-term deposition of volatile ices. This is, indeed, the location of the bright icy heart of Pluto, Sputnik Planum.Reflected light and emitted thermal radiation from Charon increases annual insolation to one side of Pluto by of order 0.02%. Although small, the bulk of the energy is delivered at night to Pluto's cold equatorial regions. Furthermore, Charon's thermal infrared radiation is easily absorbed by icy deposits on Pluto, slowing deposition and facilitating sublimation of volatiles. We argue that the slight but persistent preference for ices to form and survive in the anti-Charon Pluto's heart.

  10. Does Pluto have a substantial atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Trafton, L.

    1980-01-01

    The presence of CH4 ice on Pluto implies that Pluto may have a substantial atmosphere consisting of heavy gases. Without such an atmosphere, sublimation of the CH4 ice would be so rapid on a cosmogonic time scale that either such an atmosphere would soon develop through the exposure of gases trapped in the CH4 ice or else the surface CH4 ice would soon be all sublimated away as other, more stable, ices became exposed. If such stable ices were present from the beginning, the existence of CH4 frosts would also imply that Pluto's present atmosphere contains a remnant of its primordial atmosphere.

  11. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Functional Fault Models For Fault Isolation Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perotti, Jose M. (Compiler)

    2014-01-01

    This project implements functional fault models (FFM) to automate the isolation of failures during ground systems operations. FFMs will also be used to recommend sensor placement to improve fault isolation capabilities. The project enables the delivery of system health advisories to ground system operators.

  12. Dust ablation in Pluto's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horanyi, Mihaly; Poppe, Andrew; Sternovsky, Zoltan

    2016-04-01

    Based on measurements by dust detectors onboard the Pioneer 10/11 and New Horizons spacecraft the total production rate of dust particles born in the Edgeworth Kuiper Belt (EKB) has been be estimated to be on the order of 5 ṡ 103 kg/s in the approximate size range of 1 - 10 μm. Dust particles are produced by collisions between EKB objects and their bombardment by both interplanetary and interstellar dust particles. Dust particles of EKB origin, in general, migrate towards the Sun due to Poynting-Robertson drag but their distributions are further sculpted by mean-motion resonances as they first approach the orbit of Neptune and later the other planets, as well as mutual collisions. Subsequently, Jupiter will eject the vast majority of them before they reach the inner solar system. The expected mass influx into Pluto atmosphere is on the order of 200 kg/day, and the arrival speed of the incoming particles is on the order of 3 - 4 km/s. We have followed the ablation history as function of speed and size of dust particles in Pluto's atmosphere, and found that volatile rich particles can fully sublimate due to drag heating and deposit their mass in narrow layers. This deposition might promote the formation of the haze layers observed by the New Horizons spacecraft. This talk will explore the constraints on the composition of the dust particles by comparing the altitude of the deposition layers to the observed haze layers.

  13. An Overview of the JPSS Ground Project Algorithm Integration Process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vicente, G. A.; Williams, R.; Dorman, T. J.; Williamson, R. C.; Shaw, F. J.; Thomas, W. M.; Hung, L.; Griffin, A.; Meade, P.; Steadley, R. S.; Cember, R. P.

    2015-12-01

    The smooth transition, implementation and operationalization of scientific software's from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) development teams to the Join Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Ground Segment requires a variety of experiences and expertise. This task has been accomplished by a dedicated group of scientist and engineers working in close collaboration with the NOAA Satellite and Information Services (NESDIS) Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) science teams for the JPSS/Suomi-NPOES Preparatory Project (S-NPP) Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instruments. The presentation purpose is to describe the JPSS project process for algorithm implementation from the very early delivering stages by the science teams to the full operationalization into the Interface Processing Segment (IDPS), the processing system that provides Environmental Data Records (EDR's) to NOAA. Special focus is given to the NASA Data Products Engineering and Services (DPES) Algorithm Integration Team (AIT) functional and regression test activities. In the functional testing phase, the AIT uses one or a few specific chunks of data (granules) selected by the NOAA STAR Calibration and Validation (cal/val) Teams to demonstrate that a small change in the code performs properly and does not disrupt the rest of the algorithm chain. In the regression testing phase, the modified code is placed into to the Government Resources for Algorithm Verification, Integration, Test and Evaluation (GRAVITE) Algorithm Development Area (ADA), a simulated and smaller version of the operational IDPS. Baseline files are swapped out, not edited and the whole code package runs in one full orbit of Science Data Records (SDR's) using Calibration Look Up Tables (Cal LUT's) for the time of the orbit. The purpose of the regression test is to

  14. Migration of Frosts from High-Albedo Regions of Pluto: what New Horizons Reveals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buratti, Bonnie J.; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, Hal A.; Young, Leslie A.; Olkin, Cathy B.; Ennico, Kimberly; Binzel, Richard P.; Zangari, Amanda; Earle, Alissa M.

    2015-11-01

    With its high eccentricity and obliquity, Pluto should exhibit seasonal volatile transport on its surface. Several lines of evidence support this transport: doubling of Pluto’s atmospheric pressure over the past two decades (Young et al., 2013, Ap. J. 766, L22; Olkin et al., 2015, Icarus 246, 230); changes in its historical rotational light curve, once all variations due to viewing geometry have been modelled (Buratti et al., 2015; Ap. J. 804, L6); and changes in HST albedo maps (Buie et al., 2010, Astron. J. 139, 1128). New Horizons LORRI images reveal that the region of greatest albedo change is not the polar cap(s) of Pluto, but the feature informally named Tombaugh Regio (TR). This feature has a normal reflectance as high as ~0.8 in some places, and it is superposed on older, lower-albedo pre-existing terrain with an albedo of only ~0.10. This contrast is larger than any other body in the Solar System, except for Iapetus. This albedo dichotomy leads to a complicated system of cold-trapping and thermal segregation, beyond the simple picture of seasonal volatile transport. Whatever the origin of TR, it initially acted as a cold trap, as the temperature differential between the high and low albedo regions could be enormous, possibly approaching 20K, based on their albedo differences and assuming their normalized phase curves are similar. This latter assumption will be refined as the full New Horizons data set is returned.Over six decades of ground-based photometry suggest that TR has been decreasing in albedo over the last 25 years. Possible causes include changing insolation angles, or sublimation from the edges where the high-albedo material impinges on a much warmer substrate.Funding by the NASA New Horizons Project acknowledged.

  15. Ground-layer turbulence evaluation project at Subaru Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oya, Shin

    2015-04-01

    A candidate of the next-generation adaptive optics (AO) system at Subaru Telescope is a ground-layer AO (GLAO) using an adaptive secondary mirror. The performance of GLAO depends on the turbulence profile because only ground-layer turbulence is corrected. At Mouna Kea, the profile data have been obtained at the summit ridge site and TMT site. However, the height difference of the Subaru site from these sites is about 100 m, close to the scale height of the ground-layer turbulence. There is a possibility that the topographical difference affects the ground-layer turbulence property, and then the performance of GLAO. In this paper, the activity to evaluate the ground-layer turbulence at the Subaru site is introduced.

  16. New Horizons: Imagining a Landing on Pluto

    NASA Video Gallery

    Imagine a future spacecraft following New Horizons’ trailblazing path to Pluto, but instead of flying past its target, the next visitor touches down in the midst of tall mountains on the icy plains...

  17. Surface compositions across Pluto and Charon.

    PubMed

    Grundy, W M; Binzel, R P; Buratti, B J; Cook, J C; Cruikshank, D P; Dalle Ore, C M; Earle, A M; Ennico, K; Howett, C J A; Lunsford, A W; Olkin, C B; Parker, A H; Philippe, S; Protopapa, S; Quirico, E; Reuter, D C; Schmitt, B; Singer, K N; Verbiscer, A J; Beyer, R A; Buie, M W; Cheng, A F; Jennings, D E; Linscott, I R; Parker, J Wm; Schenk, P M; Spencer, J R; Stansberry, J A; Stern, S A; Throop, H B; Tsang, C C C; Weaver, H A; Weigle, G E; Young, L A

    2016-03-18

    The New Horizons spacecraft mapped colors and infrared spectra across the encounter hemispheres of Pluto and Charon. The volatile methane, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen ices that dominate Pluto's surface have complicated spatial distributions resulting from sublimation, condensation, and glacial flow acting over seasonal and geological time scales. Pluto's water ice "bedrock" was also mapped, with isolated outcrops occurring in a variety of settings. Pluto's surface exhibits complex regional color diversity associated with its distinct provinces. Charon's color pattern is simpler, dominated by neutral low latitudes and a reddish northern polar region. Charon's near-infrared spectra reveal highly localized areas with strong ammonia absorption tied to small craters with relatively fresh-appearing impact ejecta. PMID:26989260

  18. Pluto: Distribution of ices and coloring agents from New Horizons LEISA observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruikshank, Dale P.; Grundy, William M.; Stern, S. Alan; Olkin, Catherine B.; Cook, Jason C.; Dalle Ore, Cristina M.; Binzel, Richard P.; Earle, Alissa M.; Ennico, Kimberly; Jennings, Donald E.; Howett, Carly J. A.; Linscott, Ivan R.; Lunsford, Allen W.; Parker, Alex H.; Parker, Joel W.; Protopapa, Silvia; Reuter, Dennis C.; Singer, Kelsi N.; Spencer, John R.; Tsang, Constantine C. C.; Verbiscer, Anne J.; Weaver, Harold A.; Young, Leslie A.

    2015-11-01

    Pluto was observed at high spatial resolution (maximum ~3 km/px) by the New Horizons LEISA imaging spectrometer. LEISA is a component of the Ralph instrument (Reuter, D.C., Stern, S.A., Scherrer, J., et al. 2008, Space Sci. Rev. 140, 129) and affords a spectral resolving power of 240 in the wavelength range 1.25-2.5 µm, and 560 in the range 2.1-2.25 µm. Spatially resolved spectra with LEISA are used to map the distributions of the known ices on Pluto (N2, CH4, CO) and to search for other surface components. The spatial distribution of volatile ices is compared with the distribution of the coloring agent(s) on Pluto's surface. The correlation of ice abundance and the degree of color (ranging from yellow to orange to dark red) is consistent with the presence of tholins, which are refractory organic solids of complex structure and high molecular weight, with colors consistent with those observed on Pluto. Tholins are readily synthesized in the laboratory by energetic processing of mixtures of the ices (N2, CH4, CO) known on Pluto's surface. We present results returned from the spacecraft to date obtained from the analysis of the high spatial resolution dataset obtained near the time of closest approach to the planet. Supported by NASA’s New Horizons project.

  19. Prior Clues of Internal Activity on Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2015-08-01

    New Horizons scientists Kelsi Singer and Alan Stern predicted that Pluto may have subsurface activity, in this study published even before New Horizon's recent observations of Pluto's strangely uncratered surface areas. Where Does the Nitrogen Come From? Pluto's surface and atmosphere contain a significant amount of nitrogen, but the gas leaks out of Pluto's atmosphere at an tremendous rate -- estimated at about 1.5 × 1012-13 grams per year (roughly 200-2000 tons/hr!). But if the nitrogen has been escaping at this rate since the solar system was formed, the entire atmospheric reservoir of would have been lost long before now. So what is resupplying Pluto's nitrogen? Singer and Stern explore several possible sources: Delivery by comet impact: The authors calculate that over the 4-billion-year span since Pluto's formation, it has been impacted by a total of 600 million comets of varying sizes, all likely containing nitrogen. But their estimates show that the amount of nitrogen this would supply falls several orders of magnitude shy of explaining the escape rate. Excavation by cratering: Could comet impacts simply expose nitrogen buried in reservoirs just beneath Pluto's surface? That method, too, falls short of resupplying atmospheric nitrogen escape by at least an order of magnitude, even using the most generous estimates. Internal activity: Unless the believed atmospheric loss rate of Pluto is overestimated, the authors conclude that Pluto must experience some sort of internal activity such as cryovolcanism that brings nitrogen from below its surface up and into the atmosphere. The Study in Context of Current Events. Singer and Stern wrote and submitted this paper before the New Horizons spacecraft's recent flyby of Pluto. Data from this mission has recently provided surprise after surprise -- from images of smooth, crater-free regions on Pluto's surface to evidence of sheets of carbon monoxide, methane, and nitrogen ices flowing like glaciers. These clues support

  20. (abstract) Student Involvement in the Pluto Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weinstein, Stacy

    1994-01-01

    The Pluto Fast Flyby mission development baseline consists of 2 identical spacecraft (120 - 165 kg) to be launched to Pluto/ Charon in the late 1990s. These spacecraft are intended to fly by Pluto and Charon in order to perform various remote-sensing scientific investigations and have a mission development cost less than $400M (FY92$) through launch plus 30 days. The Pluto team is committed to involving students in all areas of mission development and operations. In November 1992, the Pluto team sent a request for information to industry and universities looking for ways to lower the mass and cost of the mission. A number of universities responded with creative and promising technological developments. In addition to contracts with industry and other federal labs, contracts were signed with schools which allowed students to apply their research, enabling the Pluto team to use valuable resources on a variety of advanced technology endeavors. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of these investigations was that the deliverables that the students produced were not just final reports, but actual prototype hardware complete with write-ups on lessons learned in machining, programming, and design. Another exciting development was a prototype adapter competition in which 7 universities competed to design, build, and test their idea of a lightweight spacecraft-propulsion stack adapter. Georgia Tech won with an innovative dodecahedron composite lattice cone. Other students from other universities were involved as well. All in all, over 40 students from 20 different colleges made significant contributions to the Pluto Fast Flyby mission development through their efforts. This paper will give an overview of Pluto student involvement, the technologies which they examined, and useful results for the mission.

  1. Pluto Express - Out of the Darkness

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, M.

    1995-01-01

    Pluto, discovered in 1930, is the largest of a class of primordial bodies at the edge of our solar system that have comet-like properties and remain relatively unmodified by warming from the sun. It is the only planet in the solar system not explored via robotic spacecraft. This lecture discusses the status of the Pluto Express preproject (science objectives, etc.), and its telecommunication subsystem.

  2. The Cold and Icy Heart of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, D. P.

    2015-12-01

    The locations of large deposits of frozen volatiles on planetary surfaces are largely coincident with areas receiving the minimum annual influx of solar energy. Thus we have the familiar polar caps of Earth and Mars, but cold equatorial regions for planets with obliquities between 54 and 126 degrees. Furthermore, for tilts between 45-66 degrees and 114-135 degrees the minimum incident energy occurs neither at the pole nor the equator. We find that the annual average insolation is always symmetric about Pluto's equator and is fully independent of the relative locations of the planet's pericenter and equinoxes. Remarkably, this symmetry holds for arbitrary orbital eccentricities and obliquities, and so we provide a short proof in the margin of this abstract. The current obliquity of Pluto is 119 degrees, giving it minima in average annual insolation at /- 27 degrees latitude, with ~1.5% more flux to the equator and ~15% more to the poles. But the obliquity of Pluto also varies sinusoidally from 102-126 degrees and so, over the past million years, Pluto's annual equatorial and polar fluxes have changed by 15% and -13%, respectively. Interestingly, the energy flux received by latitudes between 25-35 degrees remains nearly constant over the presumably billions of years since Pluto acquired its current orbit and spin properties. Thus these latitudes are continuously cold and should be favored for the long-term deposition of volatile ices; the bright heart of Pluto, Sputnik Planum, extends not coincidentally across these latitudes. Reflected light and emitted thermal radiation from Charon increases annual insolation to one side of Pluto by of order 0.02%. Although small, the bulk of the energy is delivered at night to Pluto's cold equatorial regions. Furthermore, Charon's thermal IR is delivered very efficiently to icy deposits. Over billions of years, ices have preferentially formed and survived in the anti-Charon hemisphere.

  3. The Cold and Icy Heart of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, D. P.

    2015-12-01

    The locations of large deposits of frozen volatiles on planetary surfaces are largely coincident with areas receiving the minimum annual influx of solar energy. Thus we have the familiar polar caps of Earth and Mars, but cold equatorial regions for planets with obliquities between 54 and 126 degrees. Furthermore, for tilts between 45-66 degrees and 114-135 degrees the minimum incident energy occurs neither at the pole nor the equator. We find that the annual average insolation is always symmetric about Pluto's equator and is fully independent of the relative locations of the planet's pericenter and equinoxes. Remarkably, this symmetry holds for arbitrary orbital eccentricities and obliquities, and so we provide a short proof in the margin of this abstract. The current obliquity of Pluto is 119 degrees, giving it minima in average annual insolation at +/- 27 degrees latitude, with ~1.5% more flux to the equator and ~15% more to the poles. But the obliquity of Pluto also varies sinusoidally from 102-126 degrees and so, over the past million years, Pluto's annual equatorial and polar fluxes have changed by +15% and -13%, respectively. Interestingly, the energy flux received by latitudes between 25-35 degrees remains nearly constant over the presumably billions of years since Pluto acquired its current orbit and spin properties. Thus these latitudes are continuously cold and should be favored for the long-term deposition of volatile ices; the bright heart of Pluto, Sputnik Planum, extends not coincidentally across these latitudes. Reflected light and emitted thermal radiation from Charon increases annual insolation to one side of Pluto by of order 0.02%. Although small, the bulk of the energy is delivered at night to Pluto's cold equatorial regions. Furthermore, Charon's thermal IR is delivered very efficiently to icy deposits. Over billions of years, ices have preferentially formed and survived in the anti-Charon hemisphere.

  4. Craters on Pluto and Charon: Characteristics and Impactor Population

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singer, Kelsi N.; Schenk, Paul M.; Robbins, Stuart J.; Bray, Veronica J.; McKinnon, William B.; Moore, Jeffrey M.; Spencer, John R.; Stern, S. A.; Grundy, W. M.; Howett, Carly J. A.; Dalle Ore, Cristina M.; Beyer, Ross; Parker, Alex H.; Porter, Simon B.; Zangari, Amanda M.; Young, Leslie A.; Olkin, Cathy B.; Ennico, Kimberly

    2015-11-01

    Although both Pluto and Charon have a surprising number of young-looking surfaces, there are still plenty of craters for impact-phenomenon enthusiasts. We will present size, morphology, ejecta, and albedo pattern statistics, in addition to correlations with color/composition where possible. We use images and topography from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI; Cheng et al., 2008, SSR 140, 189-215) and data from the Ralph (Reuter et al., 2008, SSR 140, 129-154) color/composition instruments.Impactor sizes will be estimated from relevant scaling laws for cold water ice (see details in Singer and Stern, 2015, ApJL 808, L50). For Pluto, an image strip at 125 m px-1 includes some cratered terrains, and much of the encounter hemisphere (the anti-Charon hemisphere) will be covered at ~400 m px-1. The ~smallest craters observable at these pixel scales (using a 5 pixel limit) would be ~0.63 km, and ~2 km in diameter, respectively, with impactor diameters estimated at ~50 m, and ~200 m. However, it is likely that degradation processes may obscure small craters, thus this lower observation limit will depend on terrain type. Additionally, lighting and observation geometries vary across the disk, which may make crater detection difficult in some areas. All of the illuminated portions of Pluto (during its 6.4 day rotation period) were imaged at ~20 km px-1 or better during the encounter. The highest resolution images of Pluto (at ~80 m px-1) occur in a narrow strip and are not scheduled for downlink before the DPS.The highest resolution Charon coverage (a strip at ~160 m px-1), a broader swath at 400 m px-1, and the entire encounter hemisphere (the sub-Pluto hemisphere) at ~890 m px-1 may yield craters as small as 0.8, 2, and 4.5 km in diameter, respectively. The inferred impactor sizes for these craters would be ~50 m, 160 m, and 440 m.Although the dataset is limited, we will discuss what constraints can be put on the impactor population. This work was supported by the

  5. The subsurface of Pluto from submillimetre observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greaves, J. S.; Whitelaw, A. C. M.; Bendo, G. J.

    2015-04-01

    Surface areas on Pluto change in brightness and colour, at optical to infrared wavelengths, over time-scales as short as years. The subsurface contains a reservoir of frozen volatiles, but little is known about it because Pluto is out of reach for cm-radar. Here we present a 0.85 mm wavelength light curve of the Pluto system, from archival data taken in 1997 August with the SCUBA (Submillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array) camera on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). This wavelength probes for the first time to just below the skin depth of thermal changes over Pluto's day. The light curve differs significantly from counterparts in the mid- to far-infrared, in a longitude range that is optically dark on Pluto's surface. An estimate from Herschel of the 0.5 mm flux in 2012 is comparable to the mean 0.45 mm flux from SCUBA in 1997, suggesting that layers centimetres below the surface have not undergone any gross temperature change. The longitudes that are relatively submillimetre-faint could have a different emissivity, perhaps with a subsurface layer richer in nitrogen or methane ices than at the surface. The Radio Science Experiment (REX) instrument on New Horizons may be able to constrain physical properties deeper down, as it looks back on Pluto's nightside after the 2015 July flyby.

  6. Discovery of two new satellites of Pluto.

    PubMed

    Weaver, H A; Stern, S A; Mutchler, M J; Steffl, A J; Buie, M W; Merline, W J; Spencer, J R; Young, E F; Young, L A

    2006-02-23

    Pluto's first known satellite, Charon, was discovered in 1978. It has a diameter (approximately 1,200 km) about half that of Pluto, which makes it larger, relative to its primary, than any other moon in the Solar System. Previous searches for other satellites around Pluto have been unsuccessful, but they were not sensitive to objects less, similar150 km in diameter and there are no fundamental reasons why Pluto should not have more satellites. Here we report the discovery of two additional moons around Pluto, provisionally designated S/2005 P 1 (hereafter P1) and S/2005 P 2 (hereafter P2), which makes Pluto the first Kuiper belt object known to have multiple satellites. These new satellites are much smaller than Charon, with estimates of P1's diameter ranging from 60 km to 165 km, depending on the surface reflectivity; P2 is about 20 per cent smaller than P1. Although definitive orbits cannot be derived, both new satellites appear to be moving in circular orbits in the same orbital plane as Charon, with orbital periods of approximately 38 days (P1) and approximately 25 days (P2). PMID:16495991

  7. How is Pluto Classified as a Rocky World?

    NASA Video Gallery

    When it comes to Pluto, classification is tricky, but it’s unquestioningly a rocky body. This is Pluto in a Minute. The bodies in our solar system fall more or less into set categories like gas g...

  8. The Pluto System As Seen By New Horizons Spacecraft

    NASA Video Gallery

    The Pluto system as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft saw it in July 2015. This animation, made with real images taken by New Horizons, begins with Pluto flying in for its close-up on July 14; we then...

  9. Ground water in the North Side Pumping Division, Minidoka Project, Minidoka County, Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Crosthwaite, Emerson G.; Scott, R.C.

    1956-01-01

    nearby is being developed by private capital. Completion of the Federal reclamation project will more than double the irrigated acreage in the North Side Division of the Minidoka Project. The area to be irrigated with ground water is at the south-central edge of the Snake River Plain adjacent to project lands that have been irrigated for many years with Snake River water.

  10. Processes Modifying Cratered Terrains on Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Jeffrey M.; Howard, Alan D.; White, Oliver L.; Umurhan, Orkan M.; Schenk, Paul M.; Beyer, Ross A.; McKinnon, William B.; Singer, Kelsi N.; Spencer, John; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, Leslie A.; Ennico, Kimberly; Olkin, Cathy B.

    2015-11-01

    The July encounter with Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft permitted imaging of its cratered terrains with scales as high as ~100 m/pixel, and in stereo. In the initial download of images, acquired at 2.2 km/pixel, widely distributed impact craters up to 260 km diameter are seen in the near-encounter hemisphere. Many of the craters appear to be significantly degraded or infilled. Some craters appear partially destroyed, perhaps by erosion such as associated with the retreat of scarps. Bright ice-rich deposits highlight some crater rims and/or floors. While the cratered terrains identified in the initial downloaded images are generally seen on high-to-intermediate albedo surfaces, the dark equatorial terrain informally known as Cthulhu Regio is also densely cratered. We will explore the range of possible processes that might have operated (or still be operating) to modify the landscape from that of an ancient pristinely cratered state to the present terrains revealed in New Horizons images. The sequence, intensity, and type of processes that have modified ancient landscapes are, among other things, the record of climate and volatile evolution throughout much of the Pluto’s existence. The deciphering of this record will be discussed. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  11. US Department of Energy Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action ground water Project. Revision 1, Version 1: Final project plan

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-12-21

    The scope of the Project is to develop and implement a ground water compliance strategy for all 24 UMTRA processing sites. The compliance strategy for the processing sites must satisfy requirements of the proposed EPA ground water cleanup standards in 40 CFR Part 192, Subparts B and C (1988). This scope of work will entail the following activities, on a site-specific basis: Development of a compliance strategy based upon modification of the UMTRA Surface Project remedial action plans (RAP) or development of Ground Water Project RAPs with NRC and state or tribal concurrence on the RAP; implementation of the RAP to include establishment of institutional controls, where appropriate; institution of long-term verification monitoring for transfer to a separate DOE program on or before the Project end date; and preparation of completion reports and final licensing on those sites that will be completed prior to the Project end date.

  12. Effects of present and projected ground-water withdrawals on the Twin Cities aquifer system, Minnesota

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schoenberg, Michael

    1990-01-01

    Projected changes in population and industrial development suggest that future ground-water withdrawals may increase from those for the 1970's. Steady-state model results indicate that the potentiometric surface of the Mount Simon-Hinckley aquifer would be lowered as much as 400 feet if pumpage from that aquifer were increased by 125 percent above 1980 ground-water withdrawal rates of about 200 million gallons per day. The potentiometric surface of the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer also would be lowered as much as 400 feet if pumpage from that aquifer were increased by 200 percent above 1980 ground-water withdrawals of 160 million gallons per day. Given the projected distribution of future ground-water development, and the limitations inherent in simulating ground-water flow, the model results indicate that an approximate limit of ground-water availability in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, is from about 500 to 800 million gallons per day.

  13. Geology Before Pluto: Pre-Encounter Considerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Jeffrey M.

    2014-01-01

    Pluto, its large satellite Charon, and its four known satellites represent the first trans-Neptunian Kuiper Belt objects populating the outer-most solar system beyond the gas giant planets to be studied in detail from a spacecraft (New Horizons). A complete picture of the solar nebula, and solar system formation cannot be confidently formulated until representatives of this group of bodies at the edge of solar space have been examined. The Pluto system is composed of unique lunar- and intermediate-sized objects that can tell us much about how objects with volatile icy compositions evolve. Modeling of the interior suggests that geologic activity may have been to some degree, and observations of frost on the surface could imply the need for a geologic reservoir for the replenishment of these phases. However, the putative indicators of Pluto's geologic history are inconclusive and unspecific. Detailed examination of Pluto's geologic record is the only plausible means of bridging the gap between theory and observations. In this talk I will examine the potential importance of these tentative indications of geologic activity and how specific spacecraft observations have been designed and used to constrain the Pluto system's geologic history. The cameras of New Horizons will provide robust data sets that should be immanently amenable to geological analysis of the Pluto System's landscapes. In this talk, we begin with a brief discussion of the planned observations by New Horizons' cameras that will bear most directly on geological interpretability. Then I will broadly review major geological processes that could potentially operate of the surfaces of Pluto and its moons. I will first survey exogenic processes (i.e., those for which energy for surface modification is supplied externally to the planetary surface): impact cratering, sedimentary processes (including volatile migration) and the work of wind. I will conclude with an assessment of prospects for endogenic activity

  14. What We Know Now: Synthesis for Understanding the Origin of the Pluto System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKinnon, William B.; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, H. A.; Spencer, J. R.; Nimmo, F.; Lisse, C. M.; Umurhan, O. M.; Moore, J. M.; Buie, M. W.; Porter, S. B.; Olkin, C. B.; Young, L. A.; Ennico, K.

    2015-11-01

    The July 2015 New Horizons flyby has removed a long-standing obstacle to understanding the cosmogony of the Pluto-Charon system: the uncertain radius of Pluto. Combined with precise astrometric fits to the barycenter of the Pluto-Charon binary from HST observations of the more distant, small satellites (Brozovic et al., Icarus 246, 317-329, 2015), the densities of both Pluto and Charon are now known. At the 10% level, these densities are rather similar, as opposed to the more divergent density estimates of years past in which Charon was thought to be substantially icier. In the context of a “giant impact” origin, a rock-rich Charon implies that the precursor impacting bodies were at most only partially differentiated — possessing relatively thin ice shells (Canup, Astron. J. 141, 35, 2011). This suggests some combination of relatively slow and/or late accretion in the ancestral Kuiper belt. New Horizons has also shown that Nix and Hydra possess high albedos, consistent with ice-dominated compositions. Such compositions are consistent with a giant impact origin in which one or both precursor impacting bodies were partially differentiated, so that the small satellites ultimately formed from material ejected from ice-dominated surface layers (Peale and Canup, Treatise on Geophysics, 2nd Ed., chapter 10.17, 2015). We examine whether Pluto and Charon could actually possess the same bulk rock/ice ratio and whether this would allow for an alternate, non-giant-impact origin for the Pluto system.This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.

  15. New rotationally resolved spectra of Pluto-Charon from 350 - 900 nm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Throop, Henry B.; Gulbis, Amanda; Grundy, Will; Young, Leslie A.; Olkin, Cathy B.

    2014-11-01

    We are using the 11-meter Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) to acquire the first rotationally resolved visible spectra of Pluto-Charon in nearly 20 years. We use the Robert Sobie Spectrograph (RSS) to observe Pluto-Charon from 350 nm to 900 nm. At 500 nm, resolution is 0.05 nm ( 10,0000) and SNR per spectral resolution element is ~ 500.We planned observations for 13 dates during June - August 2014, spaced so as to evenly sample Pluto's 6.5-day rotational period. As of the abstract submission, we have 8 of these in hand, two of which sample the same hemisphere as the best planned color New Horizons image. We determined the surface reflectivity by comparing with the solar-type star HD 146233. Our results will provide constraint on the composition and spatial distribution of material on Pluto's surface, enabling comparison to previous epochs and near-infrared results, and giving a present-day 'ground truth' ahead of New Horizons' July 2015 flyby. In addition, our data will allow us to search for new spectral features in the range 350 nm to 600 nm, at a sensitivity substantially higher than all previously published searches.

  16. Photometry of Pluto-Charon mutual events and Hirayama family asteroids

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Binzel, Richard P.

    1988-01-01

    Once every 124 years, nature provides earth-bound astronomers with the opportunity to observe occultation and transit phenomena between Pluto and its satellite, Charon. Ground-based observations of these events will allow precise physical parameters for the Pluto-Charon system to be derived which are unlikely to be improved upon until in situ spacecraft observations are obtained. The proposed program will continue to support photometry observations from McDonald Observatory, a critical location in an international Pluto Campaign network. Knowledge of the diameters, masses, densities, and compositions derived from these observations will augment our understanding of Pluto's origin and its context within the problem of solar system formation. A second task will continue to research the evolutionary processes which have occurred in the asteroid belt by measuring the physical properties of specific Hirayama family members. Photoelectric lightcurve observations of Koronis and Themis family members will be used to investigate the individual catastrophic collision events which formed each family. By comparing these properties with results of laboratory and numerical experiments, the outcomes of catastrophic disruptions and collisional evolution may be more precisely determined.

  17. New rotationally resolved spectra of Pluto-Charon from 350 - 900 nm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Throop, Henry B.; Grundy, Will; Olkin, Cathy B.; Young, Leslie A.; Sickafoose, Amanda A.

    2015-11-01

    We are using the 11-meter Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) to acquire high-resolution rotationally resolved visible spectra of Pluto-Charon. We use the Robert Stobie Spectrograph (RSS) to observe Pluto-Charon from 350 nm to 900 nm. At 500 nm, resolution is 0.05 nm (R ~ 10,0000) and SNR per spectral resolution element is ~ 500.We planned observations for 13 dates during June-September 2014, and 13 more dates during June-September 2015. The observations for each season were spaced so as to equally sample Pluto's 6.5-day rotational period. As of the abstract submission, we have data from 11 nights (2014) and 9 nights (2015) in hand. Most of the observations were taken with observations of solar-type star HD 146233 to determine the surface reflectivity.Our results will provide constraint on the composition and spatial distribution of material on Pluto's surface, enabling comparison to previous epochs and near-infrared results, and giving a ground-truth for New Horizons' July 2015 flyby. In addition, our data will allow us to search for new spectral features in the range 350 nm to 600 nm, at a sensitivity substantially higher than previously published searches.

  18. Is Pluto a planet? Student powered video rap ';battle' over tiny Pluto's embattled planetary standing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beisser, K.; Cruikshank, D. P.; McFadden, T.

    2013-12-01

    Is Pluto a planet? Some creative low income Bay-area middle-schoolers put a musical spin on this hot science debate with a video rap ';battle' over tiny Pluto's embattled planetary standing. The students' timing was perfect, with NASA's New Horizons mission set to conduct the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons in July 2015. Pluto - the last of the nine original planets to be explored by spacecraft - has been the subject of scientific study and speculation since Clyde Tombaugh discovered it in 1930, orbiting the Sun far beyond Neptune. Produced by the students and a very creative educator, the video features students 'battling' back and forth over the idea of Pluto being a planet. The group collaborated with actual space scientists to gather information and shot their video before a 'green screen' that was eventually filled with animations and visuals supplied by the New Horizons mission team. The video debuted at the Pluto Science Conference in Maryland in July 2013 - to a rousing response from researchers in attendance. The video marks a nontraditional approach to the ongoing 'great planet debate' while educating viewers on a recently discovered region of the solar system. By the 1990s, researchers had learned that Pluto possessed multiple exotic ices on its surface, a complex atmosphere and seasonal cycles, and a large moon (Charon) that likely resulted from a giant impact on Pluto itself. It also became clear that Pluto was no misfit among the planets - as had long been thought - but the largest and brightest body in a newly discovered 'third zone' of our planetary system called the Kuiper Belt. More recent observations have revealed that Pluto has a rich system of satellites - five known moons - and a surface that changes over time. Scientists even speculate that Pluto may possess an internal ocean. For these and other reasons, the 2003 Planetary Decadal Survey ranked a Pluto/Kuiper Belt mission as the highest priority mission for NASA's newly created

  19. UMTRA project technical assistance contractor quality assurance implementation plan for surface and ground water

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1994-09-01

    The Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project Technical Assistance Contractor (TAC) Quality Assurance Implementation Plan (QAIP) outlines the primary requirements for integrating quality functions for TAC technical activities applied to the surface and ground water phases of the UMTRA Project. The QAIP is subordinate to the latest issue of the UMTRA Project TAC Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP). The QAIP addresses technical aspects of the TAC UMTRA Project surface and ground water programs. The QAIP is authorized and approved by the TAC Project Manager and QA manager. The QA program is designed to use monitoring, audit, and surveillance functions as management tools to ensure that all Project organization activities are carried out in a manner that will protect public health and safety, promote the success of the UMTRA Project and meet or exceed contract requirements.

  20. Advanced radioisotope power source options for Pluto Express

    SciTech Connect

    Underwood, M.L.

    1995-12-31

    In the drive to reduce mass and cost, Pluto Express is investigating using an advanced power conversion technology in a small Radioisotope Power Source (RPS) to deliver the required mission power of 74 W(electric) at end of mission. Until this year the baseline power source under consideration has been a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG). This RTG would be a scaled down GPHS RTG with an inventory of 6 General Purpose Heat Sources (GPHS) and a mass of 17.8 kg. High efficiency, advanced technology conversion options are being examined to lower the power source mass and to reduce the amount of radioisotope needed. Three technologies are being considered as the advanced converter technology: the Alkali Metal Thermal-to-Electric Converter (AMTEC), Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) converters, and Stirling Engines. Conceptual designs for each of these options have been prepared. Each converter would require only 2 GPHSs to provide the mission power and would have a mass of 6.1, 7.2, and 12.4 kg for AMTEC, TPV, and Stirling Engines respectively. This paper reviews the status of each technology and the projected performance of an advanced RPS based on each technology. Based on the projected performance and spacecraft integration issues, Pluto Express would prefer to use the AMTEC based RPS. However, in addition to technical performance, selection of a power technology will be based on many other factors.

  1. Photochemistry and Eddy Mixing in Pluto's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yung, Y. L.; Wong, M. L.; Summers, M. E.; Gladstone, R.

    2015-12-01

    We present a photochemical model of Pluto's atmosphere that includes complete chemistry of hydrocarbons and nitriles, and apply this model to the interpretation of Alice ultraviolet observations during the New Horizons flyby in July 2015. This model self-consistently calculates the production, transport, and condensation of hydrocarbons from the surface to the exosphere. New features of the model include the condensation of molecules and their sublimation back into the gas. The Alice observations of C2H2 and C2H4 provide strong constraints on the rate of eddy mixing in the altitude region 100-600 km altitude region. Inferred mixing rates are low, consistent with slow downward transport of long-lived photochemical products to Pluto's lower atmosphere where loss by condensation occurs. We present an interpretation of the observed hydrocarbons as a test of our understanding of Pluto's atmosphere photochemistry.

  2. The Atmospheres of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gladstone, R.; Summers, M. E.; Stern, A.; Ennico Smith, K.; Olkin, C.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Young, L. A.; Strobel, D. F.; Hinson, D. P.; Kammer, J.; Parker, A. H.; Steffl, A.; Linscott, I.; Parker, J. W.; Cheng, A. F.; Versteeg, M. H.; Greathouse, T.; Retherford, K. D.; Throop, H.; Woods, W. W.; Singer, K. N.; Tsang, C.; Schindhelm, E.; Wong, M. L.; Yung, Y. L.; Zhu, X.; Curdt, W.; Lavvas, P.; Young, E. F.; Tyler, G. L.

    2015-12-01

    Major goals of the New Horizons (NH) mission are to explore and characterize the structure and composition of Pluto's atmosphere, and to determine whether Charon has a measurable atmosphere of its own. Several instruments onboard NH contribute to these goals, primarily: 1) the REX instrument, through uplink X-band radio occultations, 2) the Alice instrument, through extreme- and far-ultraviolet solar occultations, and 3) the LORRI panchromatic imager, through high-phase-angle imaging. The associated datasets were obtained following closest approach of NH to Pluto. Pressure and temperature profiles of the lower atmosphere are derived from the REX data, the composition and structure of the extended atmosphere are derived from the Alice data (supported by approach observations of reflected ultraviolet sunlight), and the distribution and properties of Pluto's hazes are derived from the LORRI data. In this talk an overview of the early atmosphere science results will be presented.

  3. Resolved CCD Photometry of Pluto and Charon

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, J.H.; Waddell, P.; Christian, C.A.

    1988-04-01

    Highly resolved CCD images of Pluto and Charon near maximum separation are measured with point spread function fitting techniques to determine independent magnitudes and an accurate separation for Pluto and Charon. A measured separation of 0.923 + or - 0.005 arcsec at a position angle of 173.3 + or - 0.3 deg on June 18, 1987 UT produced a value of 19558.0 + or - 153.0 km for the radius of Charon's orbit. An apparent B magnitude of 14.877 + or - 0.009 and (B-I) color of 1.770 + or - 0.015 are determined for Pluto, while Charon is fainter with B = 18.826 + or - 0.011 and slightly bluer with (B-I) = 1.632 + or - 0.018. 18 references.

  4. Detection of HCN in Pluto's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lellouch, Emmanuel; Gurwell, Mark; Butler, Bryan; Moullet, Arielle; Moreno, Raphael; Bockelée-Morvan, Dominique; Biver, Nicolas; Fouchet, Thierry; Lis, Darek; Stern, Alan; Young, Leslie; Young, Eliot; Weaver, Hal; Boissier, Jeremie; Stansberry, John

    2015-11-01

    We report on the first detection of hydrogen cyanide in Pluto's atmosphere, obtained with the ALMA interferometer. ALMA observations of the HCN(4-3) line at 354.505 GHz were conducted on June 12.2 and June 13.15, 2015 at ~0.3" spatial resolution, separating Pluto from Charon, with a 234 kHz spectral sampling. The HCN line was detected on both dates, with a ~100 mJy contrast and a ~0.75 MHz FWHM linewidth. The narrow linewidth and the absence of Lorentzian wings indicate that most of the HCN resides in Pluto's upper atmosphere. As on Titan, HCN is an expected photochemical product in a N2-CH4 atmosphere. Data interpretation in terms of the HCN abundance/vertical distribution and comparison with photochemical models will be presented.

  5. Pick-up ions at Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kecskemety, K.; Cravens, T. E.

    1993-04-01

    Methane molecules escaping from Pluto's atmosphere are ionized, and the resulting ions are picked up by the solar wind. The mass loading associated with this ion pick-up can produce a cometlike interaction of the solar wind with Pluto. Heavy ion gyroradii are as large as a half million km in the weak interplanetary magnetic field that exists at 30 AU, which is about an order of magnitude larger than the size of the 'interaction region'. We have calculated velocity space distributions of pick-up ions using numerically determined ion trajectories. The predicted pick-up ion fluxes are high enough to be detectable by standard charged particle detectors as far upstream of Pluto as 10 exp 6 km.

  6. Pick-up ions at Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kecskemety, K.; Cravens, T. E.

    1993-01-01

    Methane molecules escaping from Pluto's atmosphere are ionized, and the resulting ions are picked up by the solar wind. The mass loading associated with this ion pick-up can produce a cometlike interaction of the solar wind with Pluto. Heavy ion gyroradii are as large as a half million km in the weak interplanetary magnetic field that exists at 30 AU, which is about an order of magnitude larger than the size of the 'interaction region'. We have calculated velocity space distributions of pick-up ions using numerically determined ion trajectories. The predicted pick-up ion fluxes are high enough to be detectable by standard charged particle detectors as far upstream of Pluto as 10 exp 6 km.

  7. 2 kWe Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Project. Volume 3; Fabrication and Test Report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alexander, Dennis

    1997-01-01

    The Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration (SDGTD) project has successfully designed and fabricated a complete solar-powered closed Brayton electrical power generation system and tested it in a relevant thermal vacuum facility at NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC). In addition to completing technical objectives, the project was completed 3-l/2 months early, and under budget.

  8. Detection of Gaseous Methane on Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Leslie; Tokunaga, Alan; Elliot, J.; deBergh, Catherine; Owen, Tobias; Witteborn, Fred C. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    We obtained Pluto's spectrum using the CSHELL echelle spectrograph at NASA's IRTF on Mauna Kea, on 25-26 May 1992, with a spectral resolution of 13,300. The spectral range (5998 - 6018 per centimeter, or 1661.8 - 1666.9 nm) includes the R(0) and the Q(1) - Q(9) lines of the 2v3 band of methane. The resulting spectrum shows the first detection of gaseous methane on Pluto, with a column height of 1.20 (sup +3.15) (sub -0.87) cm-A (3.22 (sup +8.46) (sub -2.34) x 10(exp 19) molecule per square centimeter)).

  9. Does Pluto Have a Haze Layer?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elliot, James L.

    1997-01-01

    The goal of this research was to determine whether Pluto has a haze layer through observations (with the Kuiper Airborne Observatory) of a stellar occultation by Pluto that was originally predicted to occur on 1993 October 3. As described in the attached material, our extensive astrometric measurements determined that this occultation would not be visible from Earth, and we canceled plans to observe it with the KAO. Efforts were then directed toward improving our astrometric techniques so that we could find future occultations with which we could satisfy the original goals of the research proposed for this grant.

  10. The Atmospheric Structure of Triton and Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elliot, James L.

    1998-01-01

    The goal of this research was to better determine the atmospheric structures of Triton and Pluto through further analysis of three occultation data sets obtained with the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO.) As the research progressed, we concentrated our efforts on the Triton data, as this appeared to be the most fruitful. Three papers have been prepared as a result of this research. The first paper presents new results about Triton's atmospheric structure from the analysis of all ground-based stellar occultation data recorded to date, including one single-chord occultation recorded on 1993 July 10 and nine occultation lightcurves from the double-star event on 1995 August 14. These stellar occultation observations made both in the visible and in the infrared have good spatial coverage of Triton, including the first Triton central-flash observations, and are the first data to probe the altitude level 20-100 km on Triton. The small-planet lightcurve model of J. L. Elliot and L. A. Young was generalized to include stellar flux refracted by the far limb, and then fitted to the data. Values of the pressure, derived from separate immersion and emersion chords, show no significant trends with latitude, indicating that Triton's atmosphere is spherically symmetric at approximately 50 km altitude to within the error of the measurements; however, asymmetry observed in the central flash indicates the atmosphere is not homogenous at the lowest levels probed (approximately 20 km altitude). From the average of the 1995 occultation data, the equivalent isothermal temperature of the atmosphere is 47 plus or minus 1 K and the atmospheric pressure at 1400 km radius (approximately 50 km altitude) is 1.4 plus or minus 0.1 microbar. Both of these are not consistent with a model based on Voyager UVS and RSS observations in 1989. The atmospheric temperature from the occultation is 5 K colder than that predicted by the model and the observed pressure is a factor of 1.8 greater than the

  11. Evolution of the JPSS Ground Project Calibration and Validation System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Purcell, Patrick; Chander, Gyanesh; Jain, Peyush

    2016-01-01

    The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) next-generation operational Earth observation Program that acquires and distributes global environmental data from multiple polar-orbiting satellites. The JPSS Program plays a critical role to NOAA's mission to understand and predict changes in weather, climate, oceans, coasts, and space environments, which supports the Nation's economy and protection of lives and property. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is acquiring and implementing the JPSS, comprised of flight and ground systems, on behalf of NOAA. The JPSS satellites are planned to fly in the afternoon orbit and will provide operational continuity of satellite-based observations and products for NOAA Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite. To support the JPSS Calibration and Validation (CalVal) node Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) services facilitate: Algorithm Integration and Checkout, Algorithm and Product Operational Tuning, Instrument Calibration, Product Validation, Algorithm Investigation, and Data Quality Support and Monitoring. GRAVITE is a mature, deployed system that currently supports the SNPP Mission and has been in operations since SNPP launch. This paper discusses the major re-architecture for Block 2.0 that incorporates SNPP lessons learned, architecture of the system, and demonstrates how GRAVITE has evolved as a system with increased performance. It is now a robust, stable, reliable, maintainable, scalable, and secure system that supports development, test, and production strings, replaces proprietary and custom software, uses open source software, and is compliant with NASA and NOAA standards.

  12. Evolution of the JPSS Ground Project Calibration and Validation System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chander, Gyanesh; Jain, Peyush

    2014-01-01

    The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) next-generation operational Earth observation Program that acquires and distributes global environmental data from multiple polar-orbiting satellites. The JPSS Program plays a critical role to NOAAs mission to understand and predict changes in weather, climate, oceans, coasts, and space environments, which supports the Nation’s economy and protection of lives and property. The National Aerospace and Atmospheric Administration (NASA) is acquiring and implementing the JPSS, comprised of flight and ground systems on behalf of NOAA. The JPSS satellites are planned to fly in the afternoon orbit and will provide operational continuity of satellite-based observations and products for NOAA Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite. To support the JPSS Calibration and Validation (CalVal) node Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) services facilitate: Algorithm Integration and Checkout, Algorithm and Product Operational Tuning, Instrument Calibration, Product Validation, Algorithm Investigation, and Data Quality Support and Monitoring. GRAVITE is a mature, deployed system that currently supports the SNPP Mission and has been in operations since SNPP launch. This paper discusses the major re-architecture for Block 2.0 that incorporates SNPP lessons learned, architecture of the system, and demonstrates how GRAVITE has evolved as a system with increased performance. It is now a robust, stable, reliable, maintainable, scalable, and secure system that supports development, test, and production strings, replaces proprietary and custom software, uses open source software, and is compliant with NASA and NOAA standards.

  13. Orbital and Rotational Dynamics of Pluto's Small Moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showalter, Mark R.; Weaver, Harold A.; Spencer, John R.; Porter, Simon; Hamilton, Douglas P.; Binzel, Richard P.; Buie, Marc W.; Grundy, William M.; Nimmo, Francis; Jacobson, Robert A.; Brozovic, Marina; Throop, Henry B.; Stern, S. A.; Olkin, Catherine B.; Young, Leslie; Ennico, Kimberly; The New Horizons Science Team

    2016-05-01

    Four small moons, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, orbit the central binary planet comprising Pluto and Charon. Showalter and Hamilton (Nature 522, 45-49, 2015) analyzed Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data from 2010-2012 to explore some of the dynamical consequences of orbiting a binary planet. They noted evidence for a chaotic rotation of Nix and Hydra, and identified a possible three-body resonance between Styx, Nix and Hydra. We revisit the dynamics of the outer moons based on the data from the New Horizons flyby of July 2015, combined with three more years of HST data. As New Horizons was approaching Pluto, the LORRI camera regularly imaged the moons over a period of approximately 100 days. It also resolved the moons in closeup images, revealing details about the moons' sizes, shapes and surface properties. The LORRI data set has made it possible to derive light curves, rotation rates and pole orientations unambiguously. The moons rotate much faster than they orbit and have high obliquities, suggesting that tidal de-spinning has not played the dominant role in their rotational evolution; impacts may also have played an important role. We will discuss the latest conclusions from a joint analysis of the LORRI and HST data sets, combined with new dynamical simulations. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project and by Space Telescope Science Institute.

  14. Orbital and Rotational Dynamics of Pluto's Small Moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showalter, Mark; Weaver, Harold; Spencer, John; Porter, Simon; Hamilton, Douglas; Binzel, Richard; Buie, Marc; Grundy, William; Nimmo, Francis; Jacobson, Robert; Brozovic, Marina; Stern, S. Alan; Olkin, Cathy; Young, Leslie; Ennico, Kimberly

    2016-04-01

    Four small moons, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, orbit the central binary planet comprising Pluto and Charon. Showalter and Hamilton (Nature 522, 45-49, 2015) analyzed Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data from 2010-2012 to explore some of the dynamical consequences of orbiting a binary planet. They noted evidence for a chaotic rotation of Nix and Hydra, and identified a possible three-body resonance between Styx, Nix and Hydra. We revisit the dynamics of the outer moons based on the data from the New Horizons flyby of July 2015, combined with three more years of HST data. As New Horizons was approaching Pluto, the LORRI camera regularly imaged the moons over a period of ~100 days. It also resolved the moons in closeup images, revealing details about the moons' sizes, shapes and surface properties. The LORRI data set has made it possible to derive light curves, rotation rates and pole orientations unambiguously. The moons rotate much faster than they orbit and have high obliquities, suggesting that tidal de-spinning has not played a dominant role in their rotational evolution. We will discuss the latest conclusions from a joint analysis of the LORRI and HST data sets, combined with new dynamical simulations. This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project and by Space Telescope Science Institute.

  15. Digital-model study of ground-water hydrology, Columbia Basin Irrigation Project Area, Washington

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tanaka, H.H.; Hansen, A.J., Jr.; Skrivan, J.A.

    1974-01-01

    Since 1952 water diverted from the Columbia River at Grand Coulee Dam has been used to irrigate parts of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project area in eastern Washington, and as a result ground-water levels generally have risen in the area. The rapid increases in ground-water inflow, outflow, and storage from irrigation have created a need for a better understanding of the ground-water system before and after the start of irrigation to establish guidelines necessary for management of the area's ground-water resource. Data and information from previous geologic and hydrologic studies were used as a basis for quantitative analyses of ground-water inflow and outflow by means of digital computer models representing three major areas--Quincy Basin, Pasco Basin, and Royal Slope.

  16. Pluto results on jets and QCD

    SciTech Connect

    Pluto collaboration

    1981-02-01

    Results obtained with the PLUTO detector at PETRA are presented. Multihadron final states have been analysed with respect to clustering, energy-energy correlations and transverse momenta in jets. QCD predictions for hard gluon emission and soft gluon-quark cascades are discussed. Results on ..cap alpha../sub s/ and the gluon spin are given.

  17. The planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (1971)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palluconi, F. D.

    1972-01-01

    Design criteria relating to spacecraft intended to investigate the planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are presented. Assessments were made of the potential effects of environmental properties on vehicle performance. Pertinent data on the mass, radius, shape, mean density, rotational pole location, and mean orbital elements for the three planets are given in graphs and tables.

  18. The Formation of Pluto's Small Satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levison, Harold F.; Walsh, K. J.

    2013-05-01

    Abstract (2,250 Maximum Characters): The Pluto systems is one of extremes. In addition to Pluto, the system contains at least 5 satellites. Charon is the most massive, being more than 1/9 the mass of Pluto. This makes it the most massive satellite, relative to the primary, of any other planet or dwarf-planet in the Solar System. The other satellites are much smaller - having radii that are probably significantly less than 50 km. They are on nearly-circular, co-planer orbits. Perhaps one of their most intriguing characteristics is that they are all close to n:1 mean motion resonances (MMRs) with Charon. In particular, Nix, P4, and Hydra are close to the 4:1, 5:1, and 6:1 MMR, respectively. (There is as yet no good orbit for P5). Observations are good enough for Nix and Hydra to conclude that while the are near their respective resonances, they do not appear to actually be librating in them. This a been a challenge for theories of their formation. I will review the formation and evolution of Pluto's family of satellites. In addition, I will present some new work exploring a heretofore unexplored dynamical mechanism that might help explain the puzzling orbits of the small satellites.

  19. Energetic Particles in the far and near Environment of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kollmann, P.; Hill, M. E.; McNutt, R. L., Jr.; Brown, L. E.; Kusterer, M. B.; Vandegriff, J. D.; Smith, H. T.; Mitchell, D. G.; Haggerty, D. K.; Bagenal, F.; Krimigis, S. M.; Lisse, C. M.; Delamere, P. A.; Elliott, H. A.; Horanyi, M.; McComas, D. J.; Piquette, M. R.; Poppe, A. R.; Sidrow, E. J.; Strobel, D. F.; Szalay, J.; Valek, P. W.; Weidner, S.; Zirnstein, E.; Ennico Smith, K.; Olkin, C.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Young, L. A.; Stern, A.

    2015-12-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft was launched in 2006, passed Jupiter and its magnetotail, took continuous measurements in the solar wind throughout the recent years, and flew by Pluto in July 2015. The onboard PEPSSI instrument measures ion and electron intensities, masses, and energies in the keV to MeV range. The closest approach distance to Pluto was 11 Pluto radii, inside the orbit of Charon. Data taken near Pluto is downlinked throughout August. We will present analysis of this data and set it into context with previous measurements. We expect a number of interesting particle structures around Pluto. Parts of Pluto's molecular nitrogen atmosphere is escaping and will co-orbit with Pluto, potentially forming a partial gas torus. This torus can be additionally sourced by other Kuiper belt objects. The neutrals are eventually ionized and pick-up by the solar wind brings them into the PEPSSI energy range. The measured ion densities can be used to constrain the Pluto torus. Pluto is not expected to have an intrinsic magnetic field, but the energetic particle data can be used to infer its properties, if any. Pluto interacts instead with the solar wind via the pick-up of its ions and the magnetic fields created by currents in its ionosphere. The relative role of these mechanisms can be revealed by the flyby data and directly compared to data that was taken at Jupiter with identical instrumentation.

  20. Exploring potential Pluto-generated neutral tori

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Howard T.; Hill, Matthew; KollMann, Peter; McHutt, Ralph

    2015-11-01

    The NASA New Horizons mission to Pluto is providing unprecedented insight into this mysterious outer solar system body. Escaping molecular nitrogen is of particular interest and possibly analogous to similar features observed at moons of Saturn and Jupiter. Such escaping N2 has the potential of creating molecular nitrogen and N (as a result of molecular dissociation) tori or partial toroidal extended particle distributions. The presence of these features would present the first confirmation of an extended toroidal neutral feature on a planetary scale in our solar system. While escape velocities are anticipated to be lower than those at Enceladus, Io or even Europa, particle lifetimes are much longer in Pluto’s orbit because as a result of much weaker solar interaction processes along Pluto’s orbit (on the order of tens of years). Thus, with a ~248 year orbit, Pluto may in fact be generating an extended toroidal feature along it orbit.For this work, we modify and apply our 3-D Monte Carlo neutral torus model (previously used at Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury) to study/analyze the theoretical possibility and scope of potential Pluto-generated neutral tori. Our model injects weighted particles and tracks their trajectories under the influence of all gravitational fields with interactions with other particles, solar photons and Pluto collisions. We present anticipated N2 and N tori based on current estimates of source characterization and environmental conditions. We also present an analysis of sensitivity to assumed initial conditions. Such results can provide insight into the Pluto system as well as valuable interpretation of New Horizon’s observational data.

  1. UMTRA project technical assistance contractor quality assurance implementation plan for surface and ground water, Revision 2

    SciTech Connect

    1995-11-01

    This document contains the Technical Assistance Contractor (TAC) Quality Assurance Implementation Plan (QAIP) for the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project. The QAIP outlines the primary requirements for integrating quality functions for TAC technical activities applied to the surface and ground water phases of the UMTRA Project. The QA program is designed to use monitoring, audit, and surveillance activities as management tools to ensure that UMTRA Project activities are carried out in amanner to protect public health and safety, promote the success of the UMTRA Project, and meet or exceed contract requirements.

  2. The albedos of Pluto and Charon - Wavelength dependence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marcialis, Robert L.; Lebofsky, Larry A.; Disanti, Michael A.; Fink, Uwe; Tedesco, Edward F.; Africano, John

    1992-01-01

    The March 3, 1987 occultation of Charon by Pluto was monitored simultaneously with three telescopes. Each site covered a distinct wavelength interval with the total range spanning 0.44-2.4 microns. Observing the same event ensures an identical sun-Pluto-earth geometry for all three sites, and minimizes the assumptions which must be made to combine results. This spectrophotometry is used to derive the individual geometric albedos of Pluto and Charon over a factor of at least 5 in wavelength. Combining the results with those of Binzel (1988) improved (B - V) color estimates (on the 'Johnson Pluto' system) are obtained for the components of the system at rotational phase 0.75: (Pluto + Charon) = 0.843 +/- 0.006; Pluto alone = 0.866 +/- 0.007; and Charon alone = 0.702 +/- 0.010.

  3. The Exploration of the Pluto System by New Horizons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stern, S. Alan; NASA New Horizons Team

    2016-01-01

    The Pluto system was recently explored by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, making closest approach on 14 July 2015. Pluto's surface displays diverse landforms, terrain ages, albedos, colors, and composition gradients. Evidence is found for a water-ice crust, geologically young surface units, surface ice convection, wind streaks, volatile transport, and glacial flow. Pluto's atmosphere is highly extended, with trace hydrocarbons, a global haze layer, and a surface pressure near 10 microbars. Pluto's diverse surface geology and long term activity raise fundamental questions about how small planets remain active many billions of years (Gyr) after formation. Pluto's large moon Charon displays tectonics and evidence for a heterogeneous crustal composition; its North Pole displays puzzling dark terrain. Small satellites Hydra and Nix have higher albedos than expected. In this talk I will summarize the objectives of the New Horizons mission, its scientific payload, and survey key results obtained to date about Pluto and its system of moons.

  4. Impact and cratering rates onto Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenstreet, Sarah; Gladman, Brett; McKinnon, William B.

    2015-09-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft fly-through of the Pluto system in July 2015 will provide humanity's first data for the crater populations on Pluto and its binary companion, Charon. In principle, these surfaces could be dated in an absolute sense, using the observed surface crater density (# craters/km2 larger than some threshold crater diameter D). Success, however, requires an understanding of both the cratering physics and absolute impactor flux. The Canada-France Ecliptic Plane Survey (CFEPS) L7 synthetic model of classical and resonant Kuiper belt populations (Petit, J.M. et al. [2011]. Astron. J. 142, 131-155; Gladman, B. et al. [2012]. Astron. J. 144, 23-47) and the scattering object model of Kaib et al. (Kaib, N., Roškar, R., Quinn, T. [2011]. Icarus 215, 491-507) calibrated by Shankman et al. (Shankman, C. et al. [2013]. Astrophys. J. 764, L2-L5) provide such impact fluxes and thus current primary cratering rates for each dynamical sub-population. We find that four sub-populations (the q < 42AU hot and stirred main classicals, the classical outers, and the plutinos) dominate Pluto's impact flux, each providing ≈ 15-25 % of the total rate. Due to the uncertainty in how the well-characterized size distribution for Kuiper belt objects (with impactor diameter d > 100km) connects to smaller projectiles, we compute cratering rates using five model impactor size distributions: a single power-law, a power-law with a knee, a power-law with a divot, as well as the "wavy" size distributions described in Minton et al. (Minton, D.A. et al. [2012]. Asteroids Comets Meteors Conf. 1667, 6348) and Schlichting et al. (Schlichting, H.E., Fuentes, C.I., Trilling, D.E. [2013]. Astron. J. 146, 36-42). We find that there is only a small chance that Pluto has been hit in the past 4 Gyr by even one impactor with a diameter larger than the known break in the projectile size distribution (d ≈ 100km) which would create a basin on Pluto (D ⩾ 400km in diameter). We show that due to

  5. The Surfaces of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cruikshank, Dale P.; Roush, Ted L.; Moore, Jeffrey M.; Sykes, Mark V.; Owen, Tobias C.; Bartholomew, Mary Jane; Brown, Robert H.; Tryka, Kimberly A.

    1996-01-01

    Much of the surface of Pluto consists of high-albedo regions covered to an unknown depth by Beta-N2, contaminated with CH4, CO, and other molecules. A portion of the exposed surface appears to consist of solid H2O. The remainder is covered by lower albedo material of unknown composition. The N2 ice may occur as polar caps of large extent, leaving ices and other solids of lower volatility in the equatorial regions. The low-albedo material found primarily in the equatorial regions may consist in part of solid hydrocarbons and nitriles produced from N2 and CH4 in the atmosphere or in the surface ices. Alternatively, it may arise from deposition from impacting bodies and/or the chemistry of the impact process itself. Charon's surface is probably more compositionally uniform than that of Pluto, and is covered by H2O ice with possible contaminants or exposures of other materials that are as yet unidentified. The molecular ices discovered on Pluto and Charon have been identified from near-infrared spectra obtained with Earth-based telescopes. The quantitative interpretation of those data has been achieved through the computation of synthetic spectra using the Hapke scattering theory and the optical constants of various ices observed in the laboratory. Despite limitations imposed by the availability of laboratory data on ices in various mixtures, certain specific results have been obtained. It appears that CH4 and CO are trace constituents, and that some fraction of the CH4 (and probably the CO) on Pluto is dissolved in the matrix of solid N2. Pure CH4 probably also occurs on Pluto's surface, allowing direct access to the atmosphere. Study of the nitrogen absorption band at 2.148 micrometers shows that the temperature of the N2 in the present epoch is 40 +/-2 K. The global temperature regime of Pluto can be modeled from observations of the thermal flux at far-infrared and millimeter wavelengths. The low-albedo equatorial regions must be significantly warmer than the polar

  6. Satellite Cloud Data Validation through MAGIC Ground Observation and the S'COOL Project: Scientific Benefits grounded in Citizen Science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crecelius, S.; Chambers, L. H.; Lewis, P. M.; Rogerson, T.

    2013-12-01

    The Students' Cloud Observation On-Line (S'COOL) Project was launched in 1997 as the Formal Education and Public Outreach arm of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) Mission. ROVER, the Citizen Scientist area of S'COOL, started in 2007 and allows participants to make 'roving' observations from any location as opposed to a fixed, registered classroom. The S'COOL Project aids the CERES Mission in trying to answer the research question: 'What is the Effect of Clouds on the Earth's Climate'. Participants from all 50 states, most U.S. Territories, and 63 countries have reported more than 100,500 observations to the S'COOL Project over the past 16 years. The Project is supported by an intuitive website that provides curriculum support and guidance through the observation steps; 1) Request satellite overpass schedule, 2) Observe clouds, and 3) Report cloud observations. The S'COOL Website also hosts a robust database housing all participants' observations as well as the matching satellite data. While the S'COOL observation parameters are based on the data collected by 5 satellite missions, ground observations provide a unique perspective to data validation. Specifically, low to mid level clouds can be obscured by overcast high-level clouds, or difficult to observe from a satellite's perspective due to surface cover or albedo. In these cases, ground observations play an important role in filling the data gaps and providing a better, global picture of our atmosphere and clouds. S'COOL participants, operating within the boundary layer, have an advantage when observing low-level clouds that affect the area we live in, regional weather patterns, and climate change. S'COOL's long-term data set provides a valuable resource to the scientific community in improving the "poorly characterized and poorly represented [clouds] in climate and weather prediction models'. The MAGIC Team contacted S'COOL in early 2012 about making cloud observations as part of the MAGIC

  7. Pluto - comments on crustal composition, evidence for global differentiation

    SciTech Connect

    Stern, S.A. )

    1989-09-01

    Evidence is presented in support of the hypothesis that the crust of Pluto consists of nearly pure volatiles and that Pluto has differentiated. The evidence includes the rapid atmospheric escape rate and the presence of methane frost on Pluto. Consideration is given to the implications of the hypothesis, including atmospheric and surface composition, topography, and the implications for Charon and other bodies. The possibility of conducting observations to test the theory is discussed. 33 refs.

  8. Tholins as Coloring Agents on Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruikshank, D. P.; Materese, C. K.; Imanaka, H.; Dalle Ore, C.; Sandford, S. A.; Nuevo, M.

    2015-12-01

    The shape of the reflectance spectrum of Pluto recorded with telescopes, 0.3-1.0 μm, shows the planet's yellow-red color (1). Additionally, multi-filter images of Pluto with the MVIC camera on the New Horizons spacecraft report concentrations of the coloring agent(s) in some regions of the surface, and apparent near absence in other regions. Tholins are refractory organic solids of complex structure and high molecular weight, with a wide range of color ranging from yellow and orange to dark red, and through tan to black. They are readily synthesized in the laboratory by energetic processing of mixtures of the ices (N2, CH4, CO) known on Pluto's surface (2), or the same molecules in the gas phase (3). Energy in the form of UV light, electrons, protons, or coronal discharge are all effective to one degree or another in producing various types of tholins; details of the composition and yield vary with experimental conditions. Chemical analysis of ice tholins shows carboxylic acids, urea, and HCN and other nitriles. Aromatic/olefinic, amide, and other functional groups are identified in XANES analysis (4). The ice tholins produce by e- irradiation have a higher concentration of N than UV ice tholins, with N/C ~0.9 (versus ~0.5 for UV tholins) and O/C~0.2. EUV photolysis of Pluto atmosphere analog yields pale yellow solids relatively transparent in the visual, and with aliphatic CH bonds prominent in IR spectra. This material may be responsible for Pluto's hazes (5). Various tholins are the principal coloring agents on Pluto's surface, probably Charon's colored region, and on numerous other outer Solar System bodies (6). Refs: 1. Cruikshank, D. P. et al. 2014 DPS abstract #419.04; 2. Cruikshank et al. 2015 Icarus 246, 82; 3. Krasnopolsky & Cruikshank 1999 JGR 104 E9, 21,979; 4. Materese, C. K. et al. 2014 Ap.J. 788:111, June 20; 5. Imanaka, H. et al. 2014 DPS abstract #419.10; 6. Cruikshank, D. P. et al. 2005 Adv. Space Res. 36, 178.

  9. New constraints on the surface of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merlin, F.

    2015-10-01

    Aims: Spectroscopic investigation of the surface of Pluto allows us to constrain the chemical properties of the volatile species of the solar system reservoir. This permits us to obtain the relative abundances of various molecules, their physical properties, as well as their spatial and temporal variation. This also could tell us about the origin of various minor chemical compounds formed during the solar system formation or generated later on by space weathering. This will give us critical information about the evolution processes that may occur in the entire trans-Neptunian objects population, and in particular the biggest objects, which could retain tenuous atmospheres. Methods: New observations of the surface of Pluto have been carried out along with reanalyses of older observations carried out with the ESO-VLT telescopes and the SINFONI instrument at a mean spectral resolution of 1500. We present three new near-infrared spectra of Pluto observed at different epochs, and covering the H and K spectral bands showing absorption features of methane, nitrogen, and carbon monoxide ices. We ran different spectral models, based on Hapke theory, to constrain the physical and chemical properties of different sides of Pluto. Results: We have confirmed the spatial and secular variation of the spectral properties of the surface of Pluto. The abundances, sizes, and temperatures of different ices, such as CH4, CO, and N2 have been constrained for different parts of the surface of Pluto. The results suggest a temperature probably just above the alpha-beta transition phase of N2 (close to 36.5 K), and a probable stratification of the dilution state of CO and CH4. The presence of minor chemical compounds, such as C2H6, has been confirmed too, and for data obtained at several sub-Earth east longitudes. Solid C2H4 is suggested by the spectral modeling with abundance variation following that of solid C2H6 and solid CH4. Based on observations made with ESO telescopes at the Paranal

  10. Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance Cryogenics Test Lab Control System Upgrade Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harp, Janice Leshay

    2014-01-01

    This project will outfit the Simulated Propellant Loading System (SPLS) at KSC's Cryogenics Test Laboratory with a new programmable logic control system. The control system upgrade enables the Advanced Ground Systems Maintenace Element Integration Team and other users of the SPLS to conduct testing in a controls environment similar to that used at the launch pad.

  11. Dynamical capture in the Pluto-Charon system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pires dos Santos, P. M.; Morbidelli, A.; Nesvorný, D.

    2012-12-01

    This paper explores the possibility that the progenitors of the small satellites of Pluto got captured in the Pluto-Charon system from the massive heliocentric planetesimal disk in which Pluto was originally embedded into. We find that, if the dynamical excitation of the disk is small, temporary capture in the Pluto-Charon system can occur with non- negligible probability, due to the dynamical perturbations exerted by the binary nature of the Pluto-Charon pair. However, the captured objects remain on very elliptic orbits and the typical capture time is only ~ 100 years. In order to explain the origin of the small satellites of Pluto, we conjecture that some of these objects got disrupted during their Pluto-bound phase by a collision with a planetesimal of the disk. This could have generated a debris disk, which damped under internal collisional evolution, until turning itself into an accretional disk that could form small satellites on circular orbits, co-planar with Charon. Unfortunately, we find that objects large enough to carry a sufficient amount of mass to generate the small satellites of Pluto have collisional lifetimes orders of magnitude longer than the capture time. Thus, this scenario cannot explain the origin of the small satellites of Pluto, which remains elusive.

  12. Occultations by Pluto and Charon - 1990-1999

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mink, Douglas J.; Klemola, Arnold R.; Buie, Marc W.

    1991-01-01

    The results of a photographic plate search for stars as faint as V = 16 which may be occulted by Pluto or Charon between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 1999 are presented. Circumstances for the closest approach of Pluto to 32 stars and Charon to 28 stars are presented. Photometric information is given for some of the brightest stars found in a search of the Space Telescope Guide Star Catalog for Pluto occultations. Finding charts from Space Telescope Guide Star plates are provided for some of the best events. The brightest star (V = 12.7) may be occulted by both Pluto and Charon on September 26, 1999.

  13. Ground-water contribution to dose from past Hanford Operations. Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project

    SciTech Connect

    Freshley, M.D.; Thorne, P.D.

    1992-08-01

    The Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction (HEDR) Project is being conducted to estimate radiation doses that populations and individuals could have received from Hanford Site operations from 1944 to the present. Four possible pathways by which radionuclides migrating in ground water on the Hanford Site could have reached the public have been identified: (1) through contaminated ground water migrating to the Columbia River; (2) through wells on or adjacent to the Hanford Site; (3) through wells next to the Columbia River downstream of Hanford that draw some or all of their water from the river (riparian wells); and (4) through atmospheric deposition resulting in contamination of a small watershed that, in turn, results in contamination of a shallow well or spring by transport in the ground water. These four pathways make up the ``ground-water pathway,`` which is the subject of this study. Assessment of the ground-water pathway was performed by (1) reviewing the existing extensive literature on ground water and ground-water monitoring at Hanford and (2) performing calculations to estimate radionuclide concentrations where no monitoring data were collected. Radiation doses that would result from exposure to these radionuclides were calculated.

  14. The ground track oblique Cassini projection used for producing VIIRS mapped imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mills, Stephen

    2014-10-01

    The Suomi-NPP Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) radiance is mapped to make image products using the ground-track Mercator (GTM) algorithm developed at Raytheon. This algorithm defines a process for transforming gridded map (x/y) coordinates of the image into Earth coordinates (longitude/latitude). The y-axis reference is the satellite ground track, which is mapped with an even scale. Great circles placed orthogonally with respect to the ground track define the x-axis. In its current state the algorithm is only defined for the Map-to-Earth (MtE) transformation, but the Earth-to-Map (EtM) transformation has no mathematical algorithm, and instead must use a slow search algorithm for every point. Because of this, the GTM is not a true map projection. This paper remedies this by describing an EtM transformation algorithm using a Ground Track Oblique Cassini (GTOC) projection. This is in somewhat similar to the Space Oblique Mercator (SOM) Projection developed for Landsat. However, Landsat has a very narrow swath, and the GTOC projection better preserves scale across a wider swath, making it more suited for sensors such as VIIRS. Also, unlike the SOM, it keeps the ground-track centered, which is a more efficient use of screen area when it is viewed. This paper describes details of the algorithm, including adjustments necessary for an elliptical orbit and an ellipsoidal Earth. It evaluates Map parameters including conformality and scale preservation, comparing this with other projections, including the SOM. It also evaluates improvements in efficiency relative to a search algorithm.

  15. The surface compositions of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruikshank, D. P.; Grundy, W. M.; DeMeo, F. E.; Buie, M. W.; Binzel, R. P.; Jennings, D. E.; Olkin, C. B.; Parker, J. W.; Reuter, D. C.; Spencer, J. R.; Stern, S. A.; Young, L. A.; Weaver, H. A.

    2015-01-01

    The surface of Pluto as it is understood on the eve of the encounter of the New Horizons spacecraft (mid-2015) consists of a spatially heterogeneous mix of solid N2, CH4, CO, C2H6, and an additional component that imparts color, and may not be an ice. The known molecular ices are detected by near-infrared spectroscopy. The N2 ice occurs in the hexagonal crystalline β-phase, stable at T > 35.6 K. Spectroscopic evidence for wavelength shifts in the CH4 bands attests to the complex mixing of CH4 and N2 in the solid state, in accordance with the phase diagram for N2 + CH4. Spectra obtained at several aspects of Pluto's surface as the planet rotates over its 6.4-day period show variability in the distribution of CH4 and N2 ices, with stronger CH4 absorption bands associated with regions of higher albedo, in correlation with the visible rotational light curve. CO and N2 ice absorptions are also strongly modulated by the rotation period; the bands are strongest on the anti-Charon hemisphere of Pluto. Longer term changes in the strengths of Pluto's absorption bands occur as the viewing geometry changes on seasonal time-scales, although a complete cycle has not been observed. The non-ice component of Pluto's surface may be a relatively refractory material produced by the UV and cosmic-ray irradiation of the surface ices and gases in the atmosphere, although UV does not generally penetrate the atmospheric CH4 to interact with the surface. Laboratory simulations indicate that a rich chemistry ensues by the irradiation of mixtures of the ices known to occur on Pluto, but specific compounds have not yet been identified in spectra of the planet. Charon's surface is characterized by spectral bands of crystalline H2O ice, and a band attributed to one or more hydrates of NH3. Amorphous H2O ice may also be present; the balance between the amorphization and crystallization processes on Charon remains to be clarified. The albedo of Charon and its generally spatially uniform neutral

  16. Pluto Fast Flyby Mission and Science Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, A.

    1993-01-01

    Planning for the Pluto Fast Flyby (PFF) mission centers on the launch of two small (110-160 kg) spacecraft late in the 1990s on fast, 6-8-year trajectories that do not require Jupiter flybys. The cost target of the two-spaceraft PFF mission is $400 million. Scientific payload definition by NASA's Outer Planets Science Working Group (OPSWG) and JPL design studies for the Pluto flyby spacecraft are now being completed, and the program is in Phase A development. Selection of a set of lightweight, low-power instrument demonstrations is planned for May 1993. According to plan, the completion of Phase A and then detailed Phase B spacecraft and payload design work will occur in FY94. The release of an instrument payload AO, followed by the selection of the flight payload, is also scheduled for FY94.

  17. A peculiar stable region around Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giuliatti Winter, S. M.; Winter, O. C.; Vieira Neto, E.; Sfair, R.

    2014-04-01

    Giuliatti Winter et al. found several stable regions for a sample of test particles located between the orbits of Pluto and Charon. One peculiar stable region in the space of the initial orbital elements is located at a = (0.5d, 0.7d) and e = (0.2, 0.9), where a and e are the initial semimajor axis and eccentricity of the particles, respectively, and d is the Pluto-Charon distance. This peculiar region (hereafter called the sailboat region) is associated with a family of periodic orbits derived from the planar, circular, restricted three-body problem (Pluto-Charon-particle). In this work, we study the origin of this stable region by analysing the evolution of such family of periodic orbits. We show that they are not in resonances with Charon. The period of the periodic orbit varies along the family, decreasing with the increase of the Jacobi constant. We also explore the extent of the sailboat region by adopting different initial values of the orbital inclination (I) and argument of the pericentre (ω) of the particles. The sailboat region is present for I = [0°, 90°] and for two intervals of ω, ω = [-10°, 10°] and (160°, 200°). A crude estimative of the size of the hypothetical bodies located at the sailboat region can be derived by computing the tidal damping in their eccentricities. If we neglect the orbital evolution of Pluto and Charon, the time-scale for circularization of their orbits is longer than the age of the Solar system for bodies smaller than 500 m in radius.

  18. Pluto's interaction with the solar wind

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McComas, D. J.; Elliott, H. A.; Weidner, S.; Valek, P.; Zirnstein, E. J.; Bagenal, F.; Delamere, P. A.; Ebert, R. W.; Funsten, H. O.; Horanyi, M.; McNutt, R. L.; Moser, C.; Schwadron, N. A.; Strobel, D. F.; Young, L. A.; Ennico, K.; Olkin, C. B.; Stern, S. A.; Weaver, H. A.

    2016-05-01

    This study provides the first observations of Plutogenic ions and their unique interaction with the solar wind. We find ~20% solar wind slowing that maps to a point only ~4.5 RP upstream of Pluto and a bow shock most likely produced by comet-like mass loading. The Pluto obstacle is a region of dense heavy ions bounded by a "Plutopause" where the solar wind is largely excluded and which extends back >100 RP into a heavy ion tail. The upstream standoff distance is at only ~2.5 RP. The heavy ion tail contains considerable structure, may still be partially threaded by the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), and is surrounded by a light ion sheath. The heavy ions (presumably CH4+) have average speed, density, and temperature of ~90 km s-1, ~0.009 cm-3, and ~7 × 105 K, with significant variability, slightly increasing speed/temperature with distance, and are N-S asymmetric. Density and temperature are roughly anticorrelated yielding a pressure ~2 × 10-2 pPa, roughly in balance with the interstellar pickup ions at ~33 AU. We set an upper bound of <30 nT surface field at Pluto and argue that the obstacle is largely produced by atmospheric thermal pressure like Venus and Mars; we also show that the loss rate down the tail (~5 × 1023 s-1) is only ~1% of the expected total CH4 loss rate from Pluto. Finally, we observe a burst of heavy ions upstream from the bow shock as they are becoming picked up and tentatively identify an IMF outward sector at the time of the NH flyby.

  19. New Horizons Pluto Flyby Guest Operations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simon, M.; Turney, D.; Fisher, S.; Carr, S. S.

    2015-12-01

    On July 14, 2015, after 9.5 years of cruise, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past the Pluto system to gather first images humankind had ever seen on Pluto and its five moons. While much has been discovered about the Pluto system since New Horizons launch in 2006, the system has never been imaged at high resolution and anticipation of the "First Light" of the Pluto system had been anticipated by planetary enthusiasts for decades. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which built and operates New Horizons, was the focal point for gathering three distinct groups: science and engineering team members; media and public affairs representatives; and invited public, including VIP's. Guest operations activities were focused on providing information primarily to the invited public and VIP's. High level objectives for the Guest Operations team was set to entertain and inform the general public, offer media reaction shots, and to deconflict activities for the guests from media activities wherever possible. Over 2000 people arrived at APL in the days surrounding closest approach for guest, science or media operations tracks. Reaction and coverage of the Guest Operations events was universally positive and global in impact: iconic pictures of the auditorium waving flags during the moment of closest approach were published in media outlets on every continent. Media relations activities ensured coverage in all key media publications targeted for release, such as the New York Times, Science, Le Monde, and Nature. Social and traditional media coverage of the events spanned the globe. Guest operations activities are designed to ensure that a guest has a memorable experience and leaves with a lifelong memory of the mission and their partnership in the activity. Results, lessons learned, and other data from the New Horizons guest operations activity will be presented and analyzed.

  20. The New Horizons Mission to Pluto and Flyby of Jupiter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, Alan; Weaver, Hal; Young, Leslie; Bagenal, Fran; Binzel, Richard; Buratti, Bonnie; Cheng, andy; Cruikshank, Dale; Gladstone, Randy; Grundy, Will; Hinson, David; Horanyi, Mihaly; Jennings, Don; Linscott, Ivan; McComas, Dave; McKinnon, William; McNutt, Ralph; Moore, Jeffrey; Murchie, Scott; Olkin, Cathy; Porco, Carolyn; Reitsema, Harold; Reuter, Dennis; Slater, Dave; Spencer, John

    2008-01-01

    New Horizons (NH) is NASA's mission to provide the first in situ reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons Charon, Nix, and Hydra. The NH spacecraft will reach Pluto in July 2015 and will then, if approved for an extended mission phase, continue on to a flyby encounter with one or more Kuiper belt objects (KBOs). NH was launched on 19 January 2006 and received a gravity assist during a flyby encounter with Jupiter (with closest approach at -32 RJ on 28 February 2007) that reduced its flight time to Pluto by 3 years. During the Jupiter flyby, NH collected a trove of multi-wavelength imaging and fields-and-particles measurements. Among the many science results at Jupiter were a detection of planet-wide mesoscale waves, eruptions of atmospheric ammonia clouds, unprecedented views of Io's volcanic plumes and Jupiter's tenuous ring system, a first close-up of the Little Red Spot (LRS), first sightings of polar lightning, and a trip down the tail of the magnetosphere. In 2015, NH will conduct a seven-month investigation of the Pluto system culminating in a closest approach some 12,500 km from Pluto's surface. Planning is presently underway for the Pluto encounter with special emphasis on longidentified science goals of studying the terrain, geology, and composition of the surfaces of Pluto and Charon, examining the composition and structure of Pluto's atmosphere, searching for an atmosphere on Charon, and characterizing Pluto's ionosphere and solar wind interaction. Detailed inspections will also be performed of the newly discovered satellites Nix and Hydra. Additionally, NH will characterize energetic particles in Pluto's environment, refine the bulk properties of Pluto and Charon, and search for additional satellites and rings.

  1. Pluto and Charon: A Case of Precession-Orbit Resonance?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rubincam, David Parry; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Pluto may be the only known case of precession-orbit resonance in the solar system. The Pluto-Charon system orbits the Sun with a period of 1 Plutonian year, which is 250.8 Earth years. The observed parameters of the system are such that Charon may cause Pluto to precess with a period near 250.8 Earth years. This gives rise to two possible resonances, heretofore unrecognized. The first is due to Pluto's orbit being highly eccentric, giving solar torques on Charon with a period of 1 Plutonian year. Charon in turn drives Pluto near its precession period. Volatiles, which are expected to shuttle across Pluto's surface between equator and pole as Pluto's obliquity oscillates, might change the planet's dynamical flattening enough so that Pluto crosses the nearby resonance, forcing the planet's equatorial plane to depart from Charon's orbital plane. The mutual tilt can reach as much as 2 deg after integrating over 5.6 x 10(exp 6) years, depending upon how close Pluto is to the resonance and the supply of volatiles. The second resonance is due to the Sun's traveling above and below Charon's orbital plane; it has a period half that of the eccentricity resonance. Reaching this half-Plutonian year resonance requires a much larger but still theoretically possible amount of volatiles. In this case the departure of Charon from an equatorial orbit is about 1 deg after integrating for 5.6 x 10(exp 6) years. The calculations ignore libration and tidal friction. It is not presently known how large the mutual tilt can grow over the age of the solar system, but if it remains only a few degrees, then observing such small angles from a Pluto flyby mission would be difficult. It is not clear why the parameters of the Pluto-Charon system are so close to the eccentricity resonance.

  2. Pluto's atmosphere-plasma interaction: Hybrid simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delamere, P. A.; Bagenal, F.; Strobel, D. F.; Barnes, N. P.; McComas, D. J.; Elliott, H. A.; Hill, M. E.; McNutt, R. L., Jr.

    2015-12-01

    Pluto's low gravity implies that the atmosphere is only weakly bound. The escaping neutrals are photoionized and the heavy ions (N2+) move away from Pluto in the direction perpendicular to the solar wind flow (i.e., nearly unmagnetized relative to the length scales of the plasma interaction region). The turning distance of the solar wind protons at the magnetic pileup boundary is large compared to the interaction region. As a result, large ion gyroradius effects determine Pluto's highly asymmetric interaction with the solar wind. We use a three-dimensional hybrid code (fluid electrons, kinetic ions) to investigate the geometry of the interaction region using recent atmospheric models for hybrid simulation input. We will present initial results, showing the sensitivity of bow shock location to variations in the model atmosphere as well as variations in the solar wind conditions. Synthetic energy spectrograms taken from the simluations could be directly compared with the New Horizons plasma data to further constrain model input parameters. Initial results indicate that a full bow shock could form with possible structuring in the wake region due to bi-ion waves and Kelvin-Helmholtz waves.

  3. PLUTO'S SEASONS: NEW PREDICTIONS FOR NEW HORIZONS

    SciTech Connect

    Young, L. A.

    2013-04-01

    Since the last Pluto volatile transport models were published in 1996, we have (1) new stellar occultation data from 2002 and 2006-2012 that show roughly twice the pressure as the first definitive occultation from 1988, (2) new information about the surface properties of Pluto, (3) a spacecraft due to arrive at Pluto in 2015, and (4) a new volatile transport model that is rapid enough to allow a large parameter-space search. Such a parameter-space search coarsely constrained by occultation results reveals three broad solutions: a high-thermal inertia, large volatile inventory solution with permanent northern volatiles (PNVs; using the rotational north pole convention); a lower thermal-inertia, smaller volatile inventory solution with exchanges of volatiles between hemispheres and a pressure plateau beyond 2015 (exchange with pressure plateau, EPP); and solutions with still smaller volatile inventories, with exchanges of volatiles between hemispheres and an early collapse of the atmosphere prior to 2015 (exchange with early collapse, EEC). PNV and EPP are favored by stellar occultation data, but EEC cannot yet be definitively ruled out without more atmospheric modeling or additional occultation observations and analysis.

  4. Comparative Planetary Atmospheres of Pluto and Triton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strobel, D. F.; Zhu, X.

    2015-10-01

    Both atmospheres of Pluto and Neptune's largest satellite Triton have cold surfaces with similar surface gravities and atmospheric surface pressures. We have updated the Zhu et al.Icarus 228 , 301, 2014) model for Pluto's atmosphere by adopting Voigt line profiles in the radiation code with the latest spectral database and extended the model to Triton's atmosphere by including additional parameterized heating due to the magnetospheric electron energy deposition. Numerical experiments show that the escape rate of an atmosphere for an icy planetary body similar to Pluto or Triton is quite sensitive to the methane abundance and planetary surface gravity. Together this leads to a cumulative effect on the density variation with the altitude that significantly changes the atmospheric scale height at the exobase together with the exobase altitude. The atmospheric thermal structure near the exobase is sensitive to the atmospheric escape rate only when it is significantly greater than 10 26 molecules s-1 above which an enhanced escape rate corresponds to a stronger radial velocity that adiabatically cools the atmosphere to a lower temperature.

  5. Speckle Camera Imaging of the Planet Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, Steve B.; Horch, Elliott P.; Everett, Mark E.; Ciardi, David R.

    2012-10-01

    We have obtained optical wavelength (692 nm and 880 nm) speckle imaging of the planet Pluto and its largest moon Charon. Using our DSSI speckle camera attached to the Gemini North 8 m telescope, we collected high resolution imaging with an angular resolution of ~20 mas, a value at the Gemini-N telescope diffraction limit. We have produced for this binary system the first speckle reconstructed images, from which we can measure not only the orbital separation and position angle for Charon, but also the diameters of the two bodies. Our measurements of these parameters agree, within the uncertainties, with the current best values for Pluto and Charon. The Gemini-N speckle observations of Pluto are presented to illustrate the capabilities of our instrument and the robust production of high accuracy, high spatial resolution reconstructed images. We hope our results will suggest additional applications of high resolution speckle imaging for other objects within our solar system and beyond. Based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (Brazil) and Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (Argentina).

  6. Forming the small satellites of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levison, Harold F.; Walsh, K.

    2013-10-01

    The Pluto systems is one of extremes. In addition to Pluto, the system contains at least 5 satellites. Charon is the most massive, being more than 1/9 the mass of Pluto. This makes it the most massive satellite, relative to the primary, of any other planet or dwarf-planet in the Solar System. The other satellites are much smaller - having radii that are probably significantly less than 50 km. They are on nearly circular, co-planer orbits. Perhaps one of their most intriguing characteristics is that they are all close to n:1 mean motion resonances (MMRs) with Charon. In particular, Nix, P4, and Hydra are close to the 4:1, 5:1, and 6:1 MMR, respectively. (There is as yet no good orbit for P5). Observations are good enough for Nix and Hydra to conclude that while the are near their respective resonances, they do not appear to actually be librating in them. This has been a challenge for theories of their formation. We will present some new work exploring a heretofore unexplored dynamical mechanism that might help explain the puzzling orbits of the small satellites.

  7. Pluto's Atmosphere from the 29 June 2015 Occultation: SOFIA Airborne Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Person, Michael J.; MIT-Williams Occulation Group (MIT/Williams College/Lowell Observatory/SAAO), HIPO Instrument Group (Lowell Observatory/MIT), FLITECAM Instrument Group (UCLA), FPI+ Instrument Group (DSI/U. Stuttgart), SOFIA Operations Group (NASA/USRA/DSI)

    2016-01-01

    After an extensive prediction effort, the 29 June 2015 occultation by Pluto was observed from both airborne (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy - SOFIA) and numerous ground-based telescopes (Bosh et al. 2015, in prep.). Real-time prediction updates allowed placement of the SOFIA telescope with its four detectors deep within the central-flash region of the atmospheric occultation. Fortuitously, the Mount John University Observatory (Lake Tekapo, New Zealand) was also within the central-flash region. This happenstance allowed for direct mutual calibration of the SOFIA data with the ground-based data in multiple central-flash detections in several colors from each facility resulting in a full maping of the central-flash evolute.Combining all of the data allows for a precise measurement of the SOFIA flight path through the shadow, and direct measurement of Pluto's atmospheric shadow size.We will examine and discuss the central-flash signatures from the deepest pass yet recorded through a Pluto central flash. The relative orientations and asymmetries in the various central flash data allow us to use them to tightly constrain the lower atmospheric ellipticity and orientation of likely winds with respect to Pluto's figure. The ratio of the two separate central flashes (airborne and ground-based) is also a strong constraint on the geometric solution for the full occultation data set, and the absolute height of the central flashes with respect to those expected for a clear isothermal atmosphere places constraints on haze densities and thermal gradients in Pluto's lower atmosphere. We can also compare the central-flash signatures in several colors to establish bounds on haze-particle sizes in the lower atmosphere.SOFIA is jointly operated by the Universities Space Research Association, Inc. (USRA), under NASA contract NAS2-97001, and the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) under DLR contract 50 OK 0901 to the University of Stuttgart. Support for this work was

  8. Guidelines of the Design of Electropyrotechnic Firing Circuit for Unmanned Flight and Ground Test Projects

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gonzalez, Guillermo A.; Lucy, Melvin H.; Massie, Jeffrey J.

    2013-01-01

    The NASA Langley Research Center, Engineering Directorate, Electronic System Branch, is responsible for providing pyrotechnic support capabilities to Langley Research Center unmanned flight and ground test projects. These capabilities include device selection, procurement, testing, problem solving, firing system design, fabrication and testing; ground support equipment design, fabrication and testing; checkout procedures and procedure?s training to pyro technicians. This technical memorandum will serve as a guideline for the design, fabrication and testing of electropyrotechnic firing systems. The guidelines will discuss the entire process beginning with requirements definition and ending with development and execution.

  9. Spectrophotometry of Pluto-Charon mutual events - Individual spectra of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sawyer, S. R.; Barker, E. S.; Cochran, A. L.; Cochran, W. D.

    1987-01-01

    Time-resolved spectra of the March 3 and April 4, 1987 mutual events of Pluto and Charon, obtained with spectral coverage from 5500 to 10,000 A with 25-A spectral resolution, are discussed. Charon has a featureless reflectance spectrum, with no evidence of methane absorption. Charon's reflectance appears neutral in color and corresponds to a geometric albedo of about 0.37 at 6000 A. The Pluto reflectance spectrum displays methane absorption bands at 7300, 7900, 8400, 8600, and 8900 A and is red in color, with a geometric albedo of about 0.56 at 6000 A.

  10. New Horizons Investigations of Charon and Pluto's Small Moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weaver, Harold A.; Stern, S. A.; Young, L. A.; Olkin, C. B.; Ennico, K.; Moore, J. M.; McKinnon, W. B.; Spencer, J. R.; Grundy, W. M.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Gladstone, G. P.; Summers, M. E.; Bagenal, F.

    2015-11-01

    During the flyby of the Pluto system in July 2014, the instruments on the New Horizons spacecraft (Weaver et al. 2008, Space Sci. Rev. 140, 75) acquired spatially resolved measurements of Charon and Pluto's small moons (Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra). The sunlit hemisphere of Charon was mapped in panchromatic light with resolutions as high as 0.15 km/pix using LORRI, and in four different color bands (400-550 nm, 540-700 nm, 780-975 nm, 860-910 nm; the latter is centered on a weak CH4 band) with resolutions as high as 1.4 km/pix using MVIC. Composition maps of Charon were obtained with the LEISA infrared spectral imager in the wavelength range 1.25-2.50 microns, with a spectral resolving power of ~250 and with spatial resolutions up to 4.9 km/pix. Solar occultation observations with the Alice ultraviolet spectrograph, and radio occultation measurements with REX, were used to search for an atmosphere around Charon. Nix was observed by LORRI in panchromatic light at 0.30 km/pix, by MVIC in color at 2.0 km/pix, and by LEISA at 3.6 km/pix (the latter to be downlinked later). Hydra was observed by LORRI in panchromatic light at 1.1 km/pix, in color at 4.6 km/pix, and by LEISA at 14.9 km/pix (the latter to be downlinked later). Limited resolved measurements of Kerberos (2.0 km/pix panchromatic; 8.0 km/pix color) and Styx (3.2 km/pix panchromatic; 8.0 km/pix color) were also obtained but have not yet been downlinked. An extensive series of unresolved, photometric measurements of Pluto's small moons were obtained with LORRI during several months preceeding closest approach in mid-July, which place tight constraints on their shapes and rotational states.The New Horizons data have revealed that Charon has surprisingly diverse terrain, with evidence of tectonics and a heterogeneous crustal composition. Nix and Hydra are highly elongated bodies with high average albedos (suggesting water-ice dominated surfaces) and significant albedo and color variations over their surfaces

  11. Comparisons Between New Horizons Results and Long-Term Monitoring of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buie, M. W.; Stern, A.; Young, L. A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Olkin, C.; Ennico Smith, K.; Moore, J. M.; Grundy, W. M.

    2015-12-01

    The New Horizons encounter data have revealed a diverse and complicated surface and atmosphere for Pluto showing strong correlations between geologic features and the albedo and compositional units known from ground- and HST-based observations over the decades prior. This presentation will delve into detailed comparisons between the long time base and low spatial resolution data and the new high resolution snapshot of Pluto from the flyby. Special emphasis will be placed on the albedo and near-infrared spectral evolution over time. We will compare the albedo maps from the late 1980's built on mutual event data and two epochs of HST observations against the New Horizons images, after correcting for viewing geometry. Also included will be a discussion of the evolutionary trends in the hemispherically averaged spectral properties from Lowell Observatory and IRTF data against the resolved compositional and spectral maps from New Horizons. The combination of these data sets now permits an unprecedented ability to constrain time-variability on the surface from apparent changes due to viewing geometry and surface inhomogeneities. These comparisons require a reconcilliation of surface scattering properties that are enabled by the firm determination of the size of Pluto.

  12. Comparisons Between New Horizons Results and Long-Term Monitoring of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buie, M. W.; Stern, A.; Young, L. A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Olkin, C.; Ennico Smith, K.; Moore, J. M.; Grundy, W. M.

    2014-12-01

    The New Horizons encounter data have revealed a diverse and complicated surface and atmosphere for Pluto showing strong correlations between geologic features and the albedo and compositional units known from ground- and HST-based observations over the decades prior. This presentation will delve into detailed comparisons between the long time base and low spatial resolution data and the new high resolution snapshot of Pluto from the flyby. Special emphasis will be placed on the albedo and near-infrared spectral evolution over time. We will compare the albedo maps from the late 1980's built on mutual event data and two epochs of HST observations against the New Horizons images, after correcting for viewing geometry. Also included will be a discussion of the evolutionary trends in the hemispherically averaged spectral properties from Lowell Observatory and IRTF data against the resolved compositional and spectral maps from New Horizons. The combination of these data sets now permits an unprecedented ability to constrain time-variability on the surface from apparent changes due to viewing geometry and surface inhomogeneities. These comparisons require a reconcilliation of surface scattering properties that are enabled by the firm determination of the size of Pluto.

  13. Pluto's atmosphere in 2015 from high-resolution spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roe, Henry G.; Cook, Jason C.; Mace, Gregory N.; Holler, Bryan J.; Young, Leslie A.; McLane, Jacob N.; Jaffe, Daniel T.

    2015-11-01

    Pluto's thin N2/CH4 atmosphere is in vapor-pressure equilibrium with ices on its surface. The atmosphere evolves seasonally with the varying insolation pattern on Pluto's heterogenous surface, perhaps even largely freezing out to the surface during the coldest portion of Pluto's year. We use high-resolution (R≈25,000-50,000) near-infrared spectroscopy to resolve atmospheric methane absorption lines from Pluto's continuum spectra, as well as separate Pluto's atmospheric lines from the telluric spectrum. In addition to measuring the abundance and temperature of Pluto's atmospheric CH4, with broad wavelength coverage we are able to search for the inevitable products of N2/CH4 photochemistry. In 2015 we are undertaking an intensive campaign using NIRSPEC at Keck Observatory and IGRINS (Immersion Grating INfrared Spectrometer) at McDonald Observatory to coincide with the New Horizons Pluto encounter. We will report initial results from this 2015 campaign and compare the state of Pluto's atmosphere at the time of the New Horizons encounter with earlier years.

  14. IRAS constraints on the sizes of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tedesco, Edward F.; Veeder, Glenn J., Jr.; Dunbar, R. Scott; Lebofsky, Larry A.

    1987-01-01

    Thermal emission models indicate that Charon contributes a significant amount of the infrared radiation detected by IRAS during the observation of mutual eclipse events. The IRAS observations also show that the most probable diameters for Pluto and Charon are 2200 and 1300 (+ or - 150) km. These results are consistent with there being some atmosphere on Pluto.

  15. Miniatue Propulsion Components for the Pluto Fast Flyby Spacecraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morash, D. H.; Strand, L.

    1994-01-01

    Pluto is the only planet in our solar system not yet visited by our spacecraft. Recent observations through the Hubble Space Telescope have given us a glimpse of Pluto and it's moon Charon, but their small size and immense distance from earth have preserved their mystery.

  16. Color Variations on Pluto, Charon & Among Pluto’s Small Satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olkin, Catherine B.; Reuter, D. C.; Stern, S. A.; Howett, C. J. A.; Parker, A. H.; Ennico, K.; Singer, K. N.; Grundy, W. M.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.; Binzel, R. P.; Buie, M. W.; Cook, J. C.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Dalle Ore, C. M.; Earle, A. M.; Jennings, D. E.; Linscott, I. R.; Lunsford, A. W.; Parker, J. Wm.; Protopapa, S.; Spencer, J. R.; Tsang, C. C. C.; Verbiscer, A. J.

    2015-11-01

    This summer’s flyby of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft past Pluto provided the first high spatial resolution imaging of the system. Using the Ralph instrument (Reuter et al. 2008, Space Sci. Rev. 140, 129), color images were obtained in 3 broadband filters and one narrow band filter: blue (400 - 550 nm), red (540-700 nm), NIR (780 - 975 nm) and methane (860 - 910 nm). These data revealed details about Pluto’s variegated surface including distinct color boundaries in two halves of the region informally named, Tombaugh Regio, and intriguing color variations in Pluto’s north pole. This talk will discuss the color variations on Pluto, Charon, Nix and Hydra. Color observations of Kerberos and Styx were taken, but will not be downlinked in time for inclusion in this talk. This work was supported by NASA’s New Horizons project.

  17. The fate of debris in the Pluto-Charon system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smullen, Rachel; Kratter, Kaitlin M.

    2016-05-01

    Pluto has recently been thrust into the spotlight with the fly-by of New Horizons. This dwarf planet and its moons provide an opportunity to study circumbinary dynamics close to home. We perform N-body simulations of a test-particle disk around the Pluto-Charon binary to study the fate of debris that should result from the formation of the Pluto-Charon binary. We not only investigate the stability and time evolution of debris within the Pluto system, but also track ejected debris to see where it may collect in the solar system. By studying the dynamics of the Pluto-Charon system, we may be able to place constraints on the cratering rates from its natal disk and identify tracers of the formation of this system.

  18. The interiors of Pluto and Charon: Structure, composition, and implications

    SciTech Connect

    Simonelli, D.P. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY ); Reynolds, R.T. )

    1989-11-01

    The authors review recent models of the internal structure of Pluto and Charon made possible by analysis of the Pluto/Charon mutual events. At a mean density of just over 2 g cm{sup {minus}3} and a predicted rock mass fraction of roughly 0.7, the Pluto/Charon system is significantly rockier than the icy satellites of the giant planets, a contrast which may reflect its formation in a CO-rich outer solar nebula rather than a circumplanetary nebula. Pluto and Charon may in fact be so rocky that they lost volatiles early in their history (possibly during a Charon-forming impact event), although this is still an open issue. Finally, they review the outlook for future study of the Pluto and Charon interiors.

  19. Circumstances for Pluto-Charon mutual events in 1987

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tholen, David J.; Buie, Marc W.; Swift, Catherine E.

    1987-01-01

    Circumstances are tabulated for 88 Pluto-Charon mutual events occurring during the 1987 opposition. Charon is predicted to be completely obscured either by Pluto or Pluto's shadow during each passage behind Pluto during this opposition, providing several opportunities to study Pluto uncontaminated by the light of Charon. The duration of these total events is predicted to be from 32 to 79 min. The mutual-event season is now expected to conclude during the 1990 opposition. Two new stars have been selected as comparison stars for events occurring prior to opposition in 1987. Standardization of the primary comparison stars used in 1985 and 1986 has yielded the following magnitudes: B = 12.6044 + or - 0.0015 and V = 11.7956 + or - 0.0017 (1985 Primary); B = 13.1238 + or 0.0008 and V = 12.3885 + or - 0.0014 (1986 Primary).

  20. Photometric Properties of Pluto and Charon: Comparison to Other Bodies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buratti, B. J.; Stern, A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Young, L. A.; Ennico Smith, K.; Momary, T.; Zangari, A. M.; Binzel, R. P.

    2015-12-01

    The New Horizons spacecraft provided the first detailed views of the photometric properties of Pluto and Charon, and how these properties relate to geophysical processes. Among the first results are the distribution of albedo on the surfaces of both bodies, and the surface phase function for both high- and low-albedo regions of Pluto, which yields information on macroscopic roughness and particle properties. The highest albedos on Pluto are similar to those of the bright icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter. The range of albedos on Pluto is surprisingly large, surpassed only by Saturn's moon Iapetus. Charon has a more limited range, with a bifurcated distribution. The disk-integrated phase function of Pluto is similar to those of the icy moons of Saturn. The geologic implications of these results will be discussed. Funded by NASA

  1. Convection in Solid Nitrogen and Other Supervolatile Ices on Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKinnon, W. B.; Nimmo, F.; Umurhan, O. M.; Wong, T.; Roberts, J. H.; Stern, A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Spencer, J. R.; Moore, J. M.; Schenk, P.; Olkin, C.; Young, L. A.; Ennico Smith, K.

    2015-12-01

    N2, CO, and CH4 ices are all very weak, van der Waals bonded molecular solids. As such they are not expected to be able to support appreciable surface topography over any great length of geologic time, even at the surface conditions of bodies such as Pluto or Triton (J.M. Moore et al., Geology before Pluto: Pre-encounter considerations, Icarus 246, 65-81, 2015). Nitrogen ice, the most volatile of these, is the volumetrically dominant ice in the optically active surface of Pluto and may exist in more substantive, massive accumulations as well. We examine the possibility of convective overturn in surface layers of nitrogen and other "supervolatile" ices on Pluto, based on the best available rheologies. The characteristics of such convection may differ from those observed or expected on the terrestrial planets and icy satellites. We will discuss whether these characteristics possess any explanatory power for Pluto.

  2. A projection gradient method for computing ground state of spin-2 Bose–Einstein condensates

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, Hanquan

    2014-10-01

    In this paper, a projection gradient method is presented for computing ground state of spin-2 Bose–Einstein condensates (BEC). We first propose the general projection gradient method for solving energy functional minimization problem under multiple constraints, in which the energy functional takes real functions as independent variables. We next extend the method to solve a similar problem, where the energy functional now takes complex functions as independent variables. We finally employ the method into finding the ground state of spin-2 BEC. The key of our method is: by constructing continuous gradient flows (CGFs), the ground state of spin-2 BEC can be computed as the steady state solution of such CGFs. We discretized the CGFs by a conservative finite difference method along with a proper way to deal with the nonlinear terms. We show that the numerical discretization is normalization and magnetization conservative and energy diminishing. Numerical results of the ground state and their energy of spin-2 BEC are reported to demonstrate the effectiveness of the numerical method.

  3. Status of the ground water flow model for the UMTRA Project, Shiprock, New Mexico, site

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1995-01-01

    A two-dimensional numerical model was constructed for the alluvial aquifer in the area of the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project Shiprock, New Mexico, site. This model was used to investigate the effects of various hydrologic parameters on the evolution of the ground water flow field. Results of the model are useful for defining uncertainties in the site conceptual model and suggesting data collection efforts to reduce these uncertainties. The computer code MODFLOW was used to simulate the two-dimensional flow of ground water in the alluvium. The escarpment was represented as a no-flow boundary. The San Juan River was represented with the MODFLOW river package. A uniform hydraulic conductivity distribution with the value estimated by the UMTRA Project Technical Assistance Contractor (TAC) and a uniform recharge distribution was used. Infiltration from the flowing artesian well was represented using the well package. The ground water flow model was calibrated to ground water levels observed in April 1993. Inspection of hydrographs shows that these levels are representative of typical conditions at the site.

  4. The TERESA project: from space research to ground tele-echography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vieyres, Pierre; Poisson, Gerard; Courreges, Fabien; Merigeaux, Olivier; Arbeille, Philippe

    2003-01-01

    Ultrasound examinations represent one of the major diagnostic modalities of future healthcare. They are currently used to support medical space research but require a high skilled operator for both probe positioning on the patient's skin and image interpretation. TERESA is a tele-echography project that proposes a solution to bring astronauts and remotely located patients on ground quality ultrasound examinations despite the lack of a specialist at the location of the wanted medical act.

  5. Common ground: the HealthWeb project as a model for Internet collaboration.

    PubMed Central

    Redman, P M; Kelly, J A; Albright, E D; Anderson, P F; Mulder, C; Schnell, E H

    1997-01-01

    The establishment of the HealthWeb project by twelve health sciences libraries provides a collaborative means of organizing and enhancing access to Internet resources for the international health sciences community. The project is based on the idea that the Internet is common ground for all libraries and that through collaboration a more comprehensive, robust, and long-lasting information product can be maintained. The participants include more than seventy librarians from the health sciences libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), an academic consortium of twelve major research universities. The Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine serves as a cosponsor. HealthWeb is an information resource that provides access to evaluated, annotated Internet resources via the World Wide Web. The project vision as well as the progress reported on its implementation may serve as a model for other collaborative Internet projects. PMID:9431420

  6. "Pluto Has Been a Planet My Whole Life!" Emotions, Attitudes, and Conceptual Change in Elementary Students' Learning about Pluto's Reclassification

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Broughton, Suzanne H.; Sinatra, Gale M.; Nussbaum, E. Michael

    2013-01-01

    Learning about certain scientific topics has potential to spark strong emotions among students. We investigated whether emotions predicted students' attitudes after engaging in independent rereading and/or rereading plus discussion about Pluto's reclassification. Fifth and sixth grade students read a refutation text on Pluto's reclassification.…

  7. Pluto in Hi-Def Note: There is debate within the science community as to whether Pluto should be

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This image demonstrates the first detection of Pluto using the high-resolution mode on the New Horizons Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI). The mode provides a clear separation between Pluto and numerous nearby background stars. When the image was taken on October 6, 2007, Pluto was located in the constellation Serpens, in a region of the sky dense with background stars.

    Typically, LORRI's exposure time in hi-res mode is limited to approximately 0.1 seconds, but by using a special pointing mode that allowed an increase in the exposure time to 0.967 seconds, scientists were able to spot Pluto, which is approximately 15,000 times fainter than human eyes can detect.

    New Horizons was still too far from Pluto (3.6 billion kilometers, or 2.2 billion miles) for LORRI to resolve any details on Pluto's surface that won't happen until summer 2014, approximately one year before closest approach. For now the entire Pluto system remains a bright dot to the spacecraft's telescopic camera, though LORRI is expected to start resolving Charon from Pluto seeing them as separate objects in summer 2010.

  8. The New Horizons Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weaver, H. A.; Stern, S. A.; New Horizons Science; Engineering Team

    New Horizons, which initiates the NASA New Frontiers program of mid-sized missions, will provide the first scientific reconnaissance of the Pluto-Charon system and is scheduled for launch in January 2006. An encounter with Jupiter at a flyby distance of ˜32-45 RJ about 13 months after launch provides a gravity boost for the spacecraft's journey to Pluto and practice for the Pluto encounter, in addition to providing an opportunity to perform a valuable set of scientific measurements within the jovian system. New Horizons carries a sophisticated suite of instruments to perform ultraviolet and infrared spectroscopy, panchromatic and color optical imaging, and charged particle and dust measurements, all within a spacecraft having a total mass of ˜465 kg and total power output of ˜210 W at the time of Pluto encounter in July 2015. The primary scientific objectives of the New Horizons are to characterize the global geology and morphology of Pluto and Charon, map the surface composition of Pluto and Charon, and characterize the neutral atmosphere and its escape rate, but many other important scientific objectives will be addressed as well. New Horizons has the capability to image Pluto with a resolution exceeding that provided by the Hubble Space Telescope for at least 90 days prior to closest approach at a distance of ˜10,000 km from the surface, at which time a resolution of ˜100 m will be achieved for selected regions near the terminator. After encounter, the spacecraft will pass through the shadows of both Pluto and Charon, which enables radio and ultraviolet occultation measurements of their atmospheres. If an extended mission phase is approved, the spacecraft will be re-targeted to encounter one or more Kuiper belt objects (KBOs), roughly 3 years after the Pluto encounter at a heliocentric distance of ˜42 AU. The scientific objectives for the KBO encounters are similar to those for the Pluto encounter.

  9. Pluto's Atmosphere and Surface Ices as Simulated by the PlutoWRF GCM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toigo, A. D.; French, R. G.; Gierasch, P. J.; Richardson, M. I.; Guzewich, S.

    2013-12-01

    The PlutoWRF general circulation model (GCM) was built to examine the large-scale structure and dynamics of the atmosphere, the nature and propagation of waves within the atmosphere, and the exchanges of volatiles between the atmosphere and the surface. We seek to provide an comprehensive framework for the study of the increasingly rich observational data sets (including stellar occultations of the atmosphere) and to provide context and analysis of observations from the New Horizons mission. The PlutoWRF GCM is based on the planetary adaptation of the NCAR Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. It is a compressible, nonhydrostatic model where we have added physics to treat radiative transfer following Zhu et al. (2013), a bulk nitrogen cycle including condensation of surface ice, and cycles of additional trace volatile species. Existing subsurface heat diffusion, surface layer exchange and boundary layer mixing schemes have been adapted to Pluto. Boundary conditions for initial ice distribution and surface pressure are taken from energy balance and non-GCM volatile transport models constrained by observations. In this work we focus on the performance of the PlutoWRF GCM compared with our linear tidal model (Toigo et al., 2010), and will examine the generation and propagation of large-scale gravity waves associated with diurnal sublimation and condensation.

  10. Seasonal variations in Pluto's atmospheric tides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    French, Richard G.; Toigo, Anthony D.; Gierasch, Peter J.; Hansen, Candice J.; Young, Leslie A.; Sicardy, Bruno; Dias-Oliveira, Alex; Guzewich, Scott D.

    2015-01-01

    Pluto's tenuous atmosphere exhibits remarkable seasonal change as a result of the planet's substantial obliquity and highly eccentric orbit. Over the past two decades, occultations have revealed that the atmospheric pressure on Pluto has increased substantially, perhaps by a factor as large as 2 to 4, as the planet has moved from equinox towards solstice conditions. These data have also shown variations in the strength of the dynamical activity in the atmosphere, as revealed by the varying abundance and amplitude of spikes in the occultation light curves resulting from refractive focussing by atmospheric waves. Toigo et al. (Toigo et al. [2010]. Icarus, 208, 402-411) explored the possibility that these waves are caused by solar-induced sublimation and diurnal deposition from N2 frost patches, driven by weak vertical winds resulting from the rising and sinking gas as it is released from or deposited onto the surface. Here, we extend this model to account explicitly for seasonal variations in average insolation and for the significant damping of vertical wave propagation by kinematic viscosity and thermal diffusivity (Hubbard et al. [2009]. Icarus, 204, 284-289). Damping is extremely effective in suppressing vertical propagation of waves with vertical wavelengths of a few kilometers or less, and the dominant surviving tidal modes have characteristic vertical wavelengths λ ∼ 10-13 km . We estimate the expected strength and regional characteristics of atmospheric tides over the course of Pluto's orbit for a variety of assumed spatial distributions of surface frost and atmospheric surface pressure. We compute the predicted strength of tide-induced wave activity based on the actual frost distribution observed on Pluto from Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations (Stern et al. [1997]. Astron. J., 113, 827; Buie et al. [2010]. Astron. J., 139, 1128-1143), and compare the results to calculations for volatile transport models of Young (Young [2013]. Astrophys. J., 766

  11. The Development and Implementation of Ground Safety Requirements for Project Orion Abort Flight Testing - A Case Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kirkpatrick, Paul D.; Williams, Jeffrey G.; Condzella, Bill R.

    2008-01-01

    A rigorous set of detailed ground safety requirements is required to make sure that ground support equipment (GSE) and associated planned ground operations are conducted safely. Detailed ground safety requirements supplement the GSE requirements already called out in NASA-STD-5005. This paper will describe the initial genesis of these ground safety requirements, the establishment and approval process and finally the implementation process for Project Orion. The future of the requirements will also be described. Problems and issues encountered and overcame will be discussed.

  12. Radiation hydrodynamics integrated in the PLUTO code

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kolb, Stefan M.; Stute, Matthias; Kley, Wilhelm; Mignone, Andrea

    2013-11-01

    Aims: The transport of energy through radiation is very important in many astrophysical phenomena. In dynamical problems the time-dependent equations of radiation hydrodynamics have to be solved. We present a newly developed radiation-hydrodynamics module specifically designed for the versatile magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) code PLUTO. Methods: The solver is based on the flux-limited diffusion approximation in the two-temperature approach. All equations are solved in the co-moving frame in the frequency-independent (gray) approximation. The hydrodynamics is solved by the different Godunov schemes implemented in PLUTO, and for the radiation transport we use a fully implicit scheme. The resulting system of linear equations is solved either using the successive over-relaxation (SOR) method (for testing purposes) or using matrix solvers that are available in the PETSc library. We state in detail the methodology and describe several test cases to verify the correctness of our implementation. The solver works in standard coordinate systems, such as Cartesian, cylindrical, and spherical, and also for non-equidistant grids. Results: We present a new radiation-hydrodynamics solver coupled to the MHD-code PLUTO that is a modern, versatile, and efficient new module for treating complex radiation hydrodynamical problems in astrophysics. As test cases, either purely radiative situations, or full radiation-hydrodynamical setups (including radiative shocks and convection in accretion disks) were successfully studied. The new module scales very well on parallel computers using MPI. For problems in star or planet formation, we added the possibility of irradiation by a central source.

  13. The temperature of nitrogen on Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tryka, K. A.; Brown, R. H.; Cruikshank, D. P.; Owen, T. C.

    1994-01-01

    With Hapke scattering theory and absorption coefficients derived from our laboratory measurements of solid N2 we have modeled the spectrum of Triton. By comparing a Hapke scattering model to the measured spectrum from Triton, we determined the temperature of the N2 on the satellite's surface to be 38 (+2, -1) K which is in accord with the measurements of Voyager 2. Applying this technique to Pluto we find that the temperature of N2 on that body is 40 +/- 2 K. Other aspects of this investigation are discussed.

  14. The Laplace Planes of Uranus and Pluto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dobrovolskis, Anthony R.

    1993-01-01

    Satellite orbits close to an oblate planet precess about its equatorial plane, while distant satellites precess around the plane of the planet's heliocentric orbit. In between, satellites in nearly circular orbits precess about a warped intermediate surface called the Laplace 'plane.' Herein we derive general formulas for locating the Laplace plane. Because Uranus and Pluto have high obliquities, their Laplace planes are severely warped. We present maps of these Laplace planes, of interest in telescopic searches for new satellites. The Laplace plane of the Solar System as a whole is similarly distorted, but comets in the inner Oort cloud precess too slowly to sense the Laplace plane.

  15. Seasonal Variations in Pluto's Atmospheric Tides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    French, R. G.; Toigo, A. D.; Sicardy, B.; Guzewich, S.; Gierasch, P. J.; Richardson, M. I.

    2013-12-01

    Pluto's tenuous atmosphere exhibits remarkable dynamical activity and seasonal change as a result of the substantial tilt of its rotational axis and its highly elliptical orbit. Early discovery observations by stellar occultation (Elliot et al. 1989 Icarus 77, 148) revealed a relatively symmetrical atmosphere of very low density, with evidence of either a near-surface haze layer or a very cold near-surface layer. Later occultation and spectroscopic measurements showed that the dominant constituent of the atmosphere is nitrogen, with lower abundances of CH4 and other trace amounts of greenhouse gases that control the thermal structure of the middle atmosphere. Over the past two decades, occultations have convincingly demonstrated that the atmospheric pressure on Pluto has increased substantially, perhaps by a factor of 2 to 4, as the planet has moved from equinox towards solstice conditions. These data have also shown an interesting change in dynamical activity in the atmosphere, as revealed by "spikes" in the occultation light curves resulting from refractive focussing by atmospheric waves. In the past two years, a conspicuous asymmetry in wavelike activity has become evident, being much stronger in the winter hemisphere than in the summer. Toigo et al. (2010, Icarus 208, 402) explored the possibility that these waves are caused by solar-induced sublimation and diurnal freezing from N2 frost patches -- weak vertical winds are induced by the rising and sinking gas as it is release from or condenses on the surface. Using a variant of this tidal model, we explore the expected strength and regional characteristics of tides over the course of Pluto's orbit, accounting for changes in insolation and distance from the sun, for a variety of assumed spatial distributions of surface frost. Using a 3-D time-dependent ray-tracing code we compute model light curves for the actual circumstances of several recent occultations, and compare the character of the scintillations in the

  16. Great debate probes Pluto's planetary credentials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gwynne, Peter

    2008-09-01

    It had all the trappings of an Olympic boxing final: two fiery competitors, a partisan crowd and the attention of the global press. But no individual gold medalist emerged from the Great Planet Debate held last month in Baltimore to discuss what type of astronomical object Pluto really is. Rather, the contest between Neil de-Grasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, and Mark Sykes of the University of Arizona's Planetary Science Institute provided a view of how science deals with controversial issues of definition.

  17. New Horizons disk-integrated approach photometry of Pluto and Charon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zangari, Amanda M.; Buie, Marc W.; Buratti, Bonnie J.; Verbiscer, Anne J.; Howett, C. J. A.; Weaver, H. A.; Olkin, Catherine B.; Ennico, Kimberly; Young, Leslie A.; Stern, S. A.

    2015-11-01

    Approach and cruise observations of Pluto and Charon by NASA's New Horizons LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager ("LORRI") allow monitoring of Pluto not only at phase angles beyond Earth's 2 degree limit, but present a near constant sub-observer latitude of 43 degrees. However, the creation of light curves and solar phase curves of the pair prove to be an interesting challenge. Early images of the pair from July 2013 are barely resolved and have low signal, while later images show the pair clearly resolved and at sufficient resolution. Just at the Pluto approaches the signal level and image quality of prior HST images, surface features become resolved, rendering disk integrated photometry increasingly difficult and inaccurate, with the largest discrepancies found at longitudes which show the intersection of features informally named Tombaugh Regio ("the heart") and Cthulhu Macula ("the whale"). Now, post flyby, accurate knowledge of the radius and the shapes of surface features and their patterns of dark and light, allow for the creation of custom PSFs created from flyby maps. Using these maps, we present disk-integrated approach photometry, a solar phase curve and estimate Hapke parameters, taking into account the sub-observer position.This work was supported by the NASA New Horizons Project.

  18. The Radii and Oblateness of Pluto and Charon: Preliminary Results from the 2015 New Horizons Flyby

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lisse, Carey M.; Nimmo, Francis; McKinnon, William B.; Umurhan, Orkan M.; Buie, Marc W.; Lauer, Tod R.; Roberts, James H.; Stern, S. Alan; Weaver, Hal A.; Young, Leslie A.; Ennico-Smith, Kimberly; Olkin, Cathy B.

    2015-11-01

    We present preliminary results for the radii and oblateness of Pluto and Charon. Accurate determinations of the mean radii of Pluto and Charon are important for establishing their densities and bulk composition. A fossil bulge, if present, would place constraints on the thermal and orbital evolution of these bodies [1,2]. The New Horizons LORRI imaging system [3] has provided global images of Pluto and Charon, with best resolutions of 3.8 and 2.3 km/pix, respectively. Three separate approaches have been used to determine mean radii and oblateness from the images, two using a threshold DN value [4,5] and one using a maximum gradient method. These approaches were validated using synthetic images having a range of photometric functions. Tradeoffs between the limb center location and the derived shape in individual images can be reduced by combining limb pixel locations obtained from different imaged rotational phases.This work was supported by NASA's New Horizons project.[1] Robuchon & Nimmo, Icarus 216, 426, 2011. [2] McKinnon & Singer, DPS 46, abs. no. 419.07, 2014. [3] Cheng et al., SSR 140, 189, 2008. [4] Dermott & Thomas, Icarus 73, 25, 1988. [5] Thomason & Nimmo, LPSC 46, abs. no. 1462, 2015.

  19. Occultation by Pluto's atmosphere and other results from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reach, William T.; Person, Michael

    2015-08-01

    The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is a 2.5-m telescope flown aboard a 747-SP aircraft. The observatory flies above 99% of the Earth's atmospheric water, enabling infrared observations at wavelengths where light is completely obscured from the ground. The observatory also flies above much of the atmospheric scintillation, and its mobility enables observations of plaentary occultations. We will report on observatory capabilities and the results of an attempt to observe the 2015 June 29 occultation of Pluto along the central chord of the shadow to constrain a "central flash" at visible and near-infrared wavelengths.

  20. Pluto and Charon: Surface Colors and Compositions - A Hypothesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cruikshank, D. P.

    2016-01-01

    The surface of Pluto displays an array of colors ranging from yellow to red to brown, while the surface of Charon is largely gray with a north polar zone of red color similar to regions on Pluto. Pluto's surface shows layers of intensely colored material in tilted and transported blocks, and fractured geo-graphical units. This arrangement suggests episodes of formation or deposition of that material interspersed with episodes of emplacement of ices having little or no color. The ices identified on the surfaces of these two bodies (N2, CH4, CO, C2H6, H2O on Pluto, and H2O and NH3 on Charon) are colorless, as are nearly all ices in a powdery state. The colors on Pluto probably arise from the in situ formation of a macro-molecular carbonaceous material generated by energetic processing of the ices on the surface. Laboratory experiments producing refractory tholins particularly relevant to Pluto explored the chemistry of both UV and low-energy electron bombardment of a mix of Pluto ices (N2:CH4:CO = 100:1:1). We can term this Pluto ice tholin PIT. Water ice in the crystalline state characterizes Charon's surface, and while most of Charon's surface is neutral in color, with geometric albedo approximately 0.38, the polar zone and a light cover of fainter but similar reddish color over some surface regions suggest a common origin with the colored material on Pluto. NH3 or NH3 x nH2O was identified from disk-integrated Earth-based spectra, and a few concentrated NH3 exposures have been found in the New Horizons spectral images.

  1. Constraints on Pluto's Hazes from 2-Color Occultation Lightcurves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hartig, Kara; Barry, T.; Carriazo, C. Y.; Cole, A.; Gault, D.; Giles, B.; Giles, D.; Hill, K. M.; Howell, R. R.; Hudson, G.; Loader, B.; Mackie, J. A.; Olkin, C. B.; Rannou, P.; Regester, J.; Resnick, A.; Rodgers, T.; Sicardy, B.; Skrutskie, M. F.; Verbiscer, A. J.; Wasserman, L. H.; Watson, C. R.; Young, E. F.; Young, L. A.; Buie, M. W.; Nelson, M.

    2015-11-01

    The controversial question of aerosols in Pluto's atmosphere first arose in 1988, when features in a Pluto occultation lightcurve were alternately attributed to haze opacity (Elliot et al. 1989) or a thermal inversion (Eshleman 1989). A stellar occultation by Pluto in 2002 was observed from several telescopes on Mauna Kea in wavelengths ranging from R- to K-bands (Elliot et al. 2003). This event provided compelling evidence for haze on Pluto, since the mid-event baseline levels were systematically higher at longer wavelengths (as expected if there were an opacity source that scattered more effectively at shorter wavelengths). However, subsequent occultations in 2007 and 2011 showed no significant differences between visible and IR lightcurves (Young et al. 2011).The question of haze on Pluto was definitively answered by direct imaging of forward-scattering aerosols by the New Horizons spacecraft on 14-JUL-2015. We report on results of a bright stellar occultation which we observed on 29-JUN-2015 in B- and H-bands from both grazing and central sites. As in 2007 and 2011, we see no evidence for wavelength-dependent extinction. We will present an analysis of haze parameters (particle sizes, number density profiles, and fractal aggregations), constraining models of haze distribution to those consistent with and to those ruled out by the occultation lightcurves and the New Horizons imaging.References:Elliot, J.L., et al., "Pluto's Atmosphere." Icarus 77, 148-170 (1989)Eshleman, V.R., "Pluto's Atmosphere: Models based on refraction, inversion, and vapor pressure equilibrium." Icarus 80 439-443 (1989)Elliot, J.L., et al., "The recent expansion of Pluto's atmosphere." Nature 424 165-168 (2003)Young, E.F., et al., "Search for Pluto's aerosols: simultaneous IR and visible stellar occultation observations." EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2011, held 2-7 October 2011 in Nantes, France (2011)

  2. Features of surface topography and the geological activity of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vidmachenko, A. P.

    2016-05-01

    According to the data "New Horizons" of the spacecraft, researchers were able to specify the diameter of Pluto-2374 km. Its surface temperature in the equatorial region varies from 33 to 55 K over the planet's orbital period around the Sun in ~248 years. Presumably the surface of Pluto has a rocky base covered with a mantle of water ice, of frozen methane, nitrogen, ammonia and CO. Due to the large eccentricity of the orbit of Pluto, as it approaches the Sun, the ice melts, and the atmosphere is formed mainly of nitrogen and methane; while removing of the planet from the Sun - the atmosphere freezes out again.

  3. Kuiper Belt Objects Along the Pluto Express Path

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jewitt, David C.

    1998-01-01

    The science objective of this work was to identify objects in the Kuiper Belt which will, in the 5 years following Pluto encounter, be close to the flight path of NASA's Pluto-Kuiper Express. Currently, launch is scheduled for 2004 with a flight time of about 1 decade. Early identification of post-Pluto targets is important for mission design and orbit refinement. An object or objects close enough to the flight path can be visited and studied at high resolution, using only residual gas in the thrusters to affect a close encounter.

  4. The impactor flux in the Pluto-Charon system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weissman, Paul R.; Stern, S. Alan

    1994-01-01

    Current impact rates of comets on Pluto and Charon are estimated. It is shown that the dominant sources of impactors are comets from the Kuiper belt and the inner Oort cloud, each of whose perihelion distribution extends across Pluto's orbit. In contrast, long-period comets from the outer Oort cloud are a negligible source of impactors. The total predicted number of craters is not sufficient to saturate the surface areas of either Pluto of Charon over the age of the Solar System. However, heavy cratering may have occurred early in the Solar System's history during clearing of planetesimals from the outer planets' zone.

  5. Kuiper Belt Objects Along the Pluto-Express Path

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jewitt, David (Principal Investigator)

    1997-01-01

    The science objective of this work is to identify objects in the Kuiper Belt which will, in the 5 years following Pluto encounter, be close to the flight path of NASA's Pluto Express. Our hope is that we will find a Kuiper Belt object or objects close enough that a spacecraft flyby will be possible. If we find a suitable object, the science yield of Pluto Express will be substantially enhanced. The density of objects in the Kuiper Belt is such that we are reasonably likely to find an object close enough to the flight path that on-board gas thrusters can effect a close encounter.

  6. Results from PIXON-Processed HRC Images of Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, E. F.; Buie, M. W.; Young, L. A.

    2005-08-01

    We examine the 384 dithered images of Pluto and Charon taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's High Resolution Camera (HRC) under program GO-9391. We have deconvolved the individual images with synthetic point spread functions (PSF) generated with TinyTim v6.3 using PIXON processing (Puetter and Yahil 1999). We reconstruct a surface albedo map of Pluto using a backprojection algorithm. At present, this algorithm does not include Hapke phase function or backscattering parameters. We compare this albedo map to earlier maps based on HST and mutual event observations (e.g., Stern et al. 1997, Young et al. 2001), looking for changes in albedo distribution and B-V color distribution. Pluto's volatile surface ices are closely tied to its atmospheric column abundance, which has doubled in the interval between 1989 and 2002 (Sicardy et al. 2003, Elliot et al. 2003). A slight rise (1.5 K) in the temperature of nitrogen ice would support the thicker atmosphere. We examine the albedo distribution in the context of Pluto's changing atmosphere. Finally, a side effect of the PIXON processing is that we are better able to search for additional satellites in the Pluto-Charon system. We find no satellites within a 12 arcsec radius of Pluto brighter than a 5-sigma upper limit of B=25.9. In between Pluto and Charon this upper limit is degraded to B=22.8 within one Rp of Pluto's surface, improving to B=25.1 at 10 Rp (Charon's semimajor axis). This research was supported by a grant from NASA's Planetary Astronomy Program (NAG5-12516) and STScI grant GO-9391. Elliot, J.L., and 28 co-authors (2003), ``The recent expansion of Pluto's atmosphere," Nature 424, 165-168. R. C. Puetter and A. Yahil (1999), ``The Pixon Method of Image Reconstruction" in Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems VIII, D. M. Mehringer, R. L. Plante & D. A. Roberts, eds., ASP Conference Series, 172, pp. 307-316. Sicardy, B. and 40 co-authors (2003), ``Large changes in Pluto's atmosphere as revealed by recent

  7. A giant impact origin of Pluto-Charon.

    PubMed

    Canup, Robin M

    2005-01-28

    Pluto and its moon, Charon, are the most prominent members of the Kuiper belt, and their existence holds clues to outer solar system formation processes. Here, hydrodynamic simulations are used to demonstrate that the formation of Pluto-Charon by means of a large collision is quite plausible. I show that such an impact probably produced an intact Charon, although it is possible that a disk of material orbited Pluto from which Charon later accumulated. These findings suggest that collisions between 1000-kilometer-class objects occurred in the early inner Kuiper belt. PMID:15681378

  8. Interplanetary Magnetic Field Sector from Solar Wind around Pluto (SWAP) Measurements of Heavy Ion Pickup near Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zirnstein, E. J.; McComas, D. J.; Elliott, H. A.; Weidner, S.; Valek, P. W.; Bagenal, F.; Stern, S. A.; Ennico, K.; Olkin, C. B.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A.

    2016-06-01

    On 2015 July 14, the New Horizons spacecraft flew by the Pluto system. The Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument on board New Horizons, which detects ions in the energy per charge range ˜0.035 to 7.5 keV/q, measured the unique interaction between the solar wind and Pluto's atmosphere. Immediately after the closest approach, SWAP detected a burst of heavy ion counts when the instrument's field of view (FOV) was aligned north and south of the Sun–Pluto line and approximately normal to the solar wind flow direction, suggesting their origin as heavy neutral atoms from Pluto that were ionized and being picked up by the solar wind. The trajectories of heavy pickup ions depend on the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). New Horizons is not equipped with a magnetometer, and we cannot directly measure the IMF. However, we can utilize SWAP's measurements and instrument FOV during this brief period of time to determine the most likely sector of the IMF that could reproduce SWAP's observations of heavy ion pickup. We find that the IMF was most likely in an outward sector, or retrograde to the planets’ motion, during the Pluto encounter, and that the heavy ions detected by SWAP are more likely {{{CH}}4}+ than {{{{N}}}2}+. This supports the existence of a methane exosphere at Pluto.

  9. Processes Modifying Cratered Terrains on Pluto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, J. M.; Howard, A. D.; White, O. L.; Umurhan, O. M.; Schenk, P.; Beyer, R. A.; McKinnon, W. B.; Singer, K. N.; Spencer, J. R.; Stern, A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Young, L. A.; Ennico Smith, K.; Olkin, C.

    2015-12-01

    The July encounter with Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft permitted imaging of its cratered terrains with scales as high as ~100 m/pixel, and in stereo. In the initial download of images, acquired at 2.2 km/pixel, widely distributed impact craters up to 260 km diameter are seen in the near-encounter hemisphere. Many of the craters appear to be significantly degraded or infilled. Some craters appear partially destroyed, perhaps by erosion such as associated with the retreat of scarps. Bright ice-rich deposits highlight some crater rims and/or floors. While the cratered terrains identified in the initial downloaded images are generally seen on high-to-intermediate albedo surfaces, the dark equatorial terrain informally known as Cthulhu Regio is also densely cratered. We will explore the range of possible processes that might have operated (or still be operating) to modify the landscape from that of an ancient pristinely cratered state to the present terrains revealed in New Horizons images. The sequence, intensity, and type of processes that have modified ancient landscapes are, among other things, the record of climate and volatile evolution throughout much of the Pluto's existence. The deciphering of this record will be discussed.

  10. Geology of Pluto and Charon Overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, J. M.; Stern, A.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.; Young, L. A.; Ennico Smith, K.; Olkin, C.

    2015-12-01

    Pluto's surface was found to be remarkably diverse in terms of its range of landforms, terrain ages, and inferred geological processes. There is a latitudinal zonation of albedo. The conspicuous bright albedo heart-shaped feature informally named Tombaugh Regio is comprised of several terrain types. Most striking is Texas-sized Sputnik Planum, which is apparently level, has no observable craters, and is divided by polygons and ovoids bounded by shallow troughs. Small smooth hills are seen in some of the polygon-bounding troughs. These hills could either be extruded or exposed by erosion. Sputnik Planum polygon/ovoid formation hypotheses range from convection to contraction, but convection is currently favored. There is evidence of flow of plains material around obstacles. Mountains, especially those seen south of Sputnik Planum, exhibit too much relief to be made of CH4, CO, or N2, and thus are probably composed of H2O-ice basement material. The north contact of Sputnik Planum abuts a scarp, above which is heavily modified cratered terrain. Pluto's large moon Charon is generally heavily to moderately cratered. There is a mysterious structure in the arctic. Charon's surface is crossed by an extensive system of rift faults and graben. Some regions are smoother and less cratered, reminiscent of lunar maria. On such a plain are large isolated block mountains surrounded by moats. At this conference we will present highlights of the latest observations and analysis.