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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Pluto! Yay!

The New Horizons probe launched perfectly this afternoon and is onto its way on a nine year trip to Pluto.

And they just announced that it's carrying the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930, and who died in 1997. I imagine they held off announcing that until the launch on the chance it would end up on the bottom of the Atlantic.

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Awesome news! I wish I had been thinking about this today; when I got home from my ultrasound, I spent about 90 minutes on the phone with one of my bowling teammates who wanted to be kept up-to-date, and so I never thought to check out the NASA website for a live feed.

Is there footage of the launch somewhere?

Oh, and sending up Tombaugh's ashes? Very cool. :)

Try Spaceflight Now (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/) for pictures. They have video, but you have to pay for a membership to see it.

Try a google search. Now if they can only come up with a proper working definition of a planet will know what to call all these snowballs zipping around the Kuiper belt.

The problem is that any consistant defination that still manages to include Pluto results in up to 30 planets in the solar system.

At the big space event Friday, one of the co-discoverers of the new Kuiper Belt object larger than Pluto said we should all just stop worrying about it. He's waiting for an international committee to make up it's mind about what exactly his discovery is, and he'd just like to get it named and move on.

Hi Donald, I'm a new arrival that shares your interest in space-flight and engineering. An interesting bit: every day that the launch was delayed would cost some extra travel time, not due to Jupiter, but due to Earth going further away from the sun (away from perihelion) and thus have less kinetic energy in it's orbit.
Regards, Jorrie

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