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  •  Hey, this is cool! (35+ / 0-)

    My husband is one of the project scientists on this mission, he helped plan it with Alan. It's been incredibly well-run, and we're all just bouncing on our chairs, waiting for the first look.

    My friend Dave Grinspoon, who is a planetary scientist, musician, and the Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Natural History, did a great podcast for Sky and Tel on the subject of Pluto-Planet.

    It's really worth a listen. In his Dave way, he sets it all straight in 11 minutes.

    President Barack Obama!

    by kate mckinnon on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:23:29 AM PST

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    •  Please (20+ / 0-)

      convey my eternal gratitude to your husband and the entire team. This is the most exciting mission for me since the Huygens touchdown on Titan. I can't wait to see what Pluto looks and tastes like up close!

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:26:26 AM PST

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      •  It was Alan's ceaseless work and determination (19+ / 0-)

        that got this mission launched. If anyone else had been at the helm, it simply wouldn't have made it through the ten thousand obstacles.

        It's so exciting to see New Horizons front paged here.

        We were all at the launch, and it stands out as one of the most exciting moments of my life, standing there with the team, our children, all of us trying not to get eaten by alligators (Florida...)  watching everyone's hard work, hopes and dreams, shoot into the sky.

        President Barack Obama!

        by kate mckinnon on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:32:18 AM PST

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        •  To be fair (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Xan

          There are a handful of very tenacious PIs who have accomplished great things in planetary exploration under some pretty improbable circumstances. I'm sure he's awesome, but he's not the only one. :-)

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:54:06 AM PST

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        •  work (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          exsimo2, kate mckinnon, Simplify

          Kate- Thanks! You give me too much credit--so many people, including Bill, worked so hard to make this dream come true.

          Alan

          •  I have a photograph that I took of you in your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            exsimo2, Simplify

            office in Boulder that I have got to find.

            It's one of the primary images I have when I think of you. You were sitting at your desk, working on your to-do list(s.)  They were astonishing to me; especially when you showed me the neat stack of previous, crossed-off lists in your cabinet. The sheer scope of what you checked off floored me. My lists have stuff on them like "get tomatoes at the market" and "build a chandelier" and yours would have had items such as  "Report for astronaut training," "Get an airport built," "Get New Horizons approved and launched," in addition to thousands of other tasks and duties associated with not only running SWRI but building it into one of the premiere space science groups in the country. Seriously, Alan.

            It was a revealing moment for me, as much about myself as about you, and I've got to find that picture. It was a moment of understanding the level of drive and efficiency that will simply never be mine, but that I so enjoy in you.

            You remind me of Barack, in a way- there are some people who just simply know what their potential is, and who are actually capable of bringing progress and real change.

            President Barack Obama!

            by kate mckinnon on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 01:11:43 PM PST

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      •  Probably just looks like Triton. (0+ / 0-)

        Yearn for the horizon.

        by Troubadour on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 04:08:59 AM PST

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    •  Wow (17+ / 0-)

      I had the privilege to get a behind-the-scenes tour at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory about 7 years ago with one of the scientists there, who was working on an instrument package for a European satellite set to study the Earth's atmosphere. We talked about New Horizons, which at that time was in doubt, and our mutual frustration that too many elected officials and voters approved NASA and science funding cuts, then used the fact that missions failed (hey, you get what you pay for) to justify further cuts. Hopefully New Horizons will be a resounding success and give a big boost to unmanned and manned exploration (I would love to see the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter become a reality, personally).

      So give your husband a big handshake from me. He and his colleagues are doing outstanding work. The atmospheric scientist who showed me around did his dissertation studying atmospheric phenomena on Uranus but it lead to research into climate and weather on our planet. Without the Voyager 2 mission, that dissertation would not have been possible.

      "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." --Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers In A Dangerous

      by AustinCynic on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:51:00 AM PST

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      •  The cause is the effect. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Xan, Simplify

        We talked about New Horizons, which at that time was in doubt, and our mutual frustration that too many elected officials and voters approved NASA and science funding cuts, then used the fact that missions failed (hey, you get what you pay for) to justify further cuts.

        Sounds like the GOP argument for why FEMA, and government in general, is unnecessary.

        ---

        •  Exactly! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Xan, Simplify, dzog

          My visit was in February 2001. Probably too soon into Bush's presidency to blame him personally, but the Republican Congress had been butchering NASA's budget with relish for some time. My guide explained that some of the "faster, cheaper, better" missions worked very well because essentially they were built with back up parts made for other missions--the Magellan probe, which radar-mapped Venus, is probably the best and most successful example. The problem came when they ran out of these spare parts to cannibalize, and NASA started trying to cut corners with new missions.

          We have to start framing the discussion in terms of cost over time, and what they produce in terms of expanding our understanding. The Mars Rover missions, Galileo, and Cassini-Huygens are three great examples of missions that seem horribly expensive...until you factor in the length of mission (especially as Galileo and the Rovers exceeded their estimated lifetimes by a fair degree) and return on investment. I am confident New Horizons will be another mission that will far exceed expectations.

          "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." --Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers In A Dangerous

          by AustinCynic on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:17:12 AM PST

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          •  Mars Global Surveyor (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Xan

            is another example, the first in that series. A great mission, hugely successful - but it was "cheap" only because all the instruments had already been built for Mars Observer.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:56:21 AM PST

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          •  nothing wrong with that. (0+ / 0-)

            NASA doesn't know how to use spare parts in
            innovative ways.

            George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

            by nathguy on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 04:56:56 PM PST

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