AirTalk for July 15, 2014

NASA closer to learning more about Pluto

pluto nasa

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

An artist's concept shows the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015.

At this time next year, NASA's probe New Horizons will fly by the planet-like object Pluto and discover more about the icy ball. The last time scientists reached for a major solar system body was Voyager 2's flyby of Neptune in 1989.

Data from New Horizons might reignite the debate about Pluto's interstellar status.It was back in 2006 when - what was thought to be the furthest planet in our solar system - Pluto was demoted to a "dwarf planet." Pasadena astronomer Mike Brown of Caltech played a major role in reclassifying little Pluto.

His team had found that Pluto was not the largest object in the faraway Kuiper Belt - the ring of icy bodies in orbit beyond Neptune.

Guests:

Mike Brown, Professor of Planetary Astronomy, Caltech; Author, “How I Killed Pluto”

Sean Carroll, Senior Research Associate in Physics at California Institute of Technology

 


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