Oct 30, 18 / Oph 23, 02 14:55 UTC
General News: Oct 30 ¶
Although it took decades for a mission to fly past Pluto, it may take less time for an orbiter to journey around the tiny celestial body, as long as a fuel-saving tour could help reduce costs.
Researchers have figured out that a future mission could use the dwarf planet's enormous moon, Charon, for gravitational boosts in a bid save fuel. This would allow for extensive observations of the Pluto system and even a visit to another icy world in the outer solar system.
Planetary scientist Alan Stern told Space.com that by using this gravitational system, Charon can take a spacecraft out past Pluto and into the Kuiper Belt.
Furthermore, NASA’s ambitious mission to "touch the Sun" has now got closer to our star than any prior human-made object.
The Parker Solar Probe exceeded the present record of 42.73 million km (26.55 million miles) from the Sun's surface this past Monday.
The previous record was set by the German-US Helios 2 satellite back in April 1976.
In addition, the Helios 2 mission set the all-time speed record of nearly 70km/s (43 miles/s). But now, the Parker Solar Probe will beat that, too.
The expectation is that it will eventually reach peak speeds of around 190km/s (690,000km/h; 428,700mph).
The solar probe was launched from Earth in August. It's on a path that will take it inside the Sun's outer atmosphere, also known as the corona.
Finally, during the Airlift Tanker Association’s annual symposium outside Dallas, Texas, Richard Branson the founder of Virgin Orbit made a surprise appearance. The seminar held on Saturday was for members of the air mobility community, and it also supported the idea of future cargo operations in space.
Branson, the world-famous entrepreneur and private space pioneer, attended the symposium to talk about ways to increase innovation within the air mobility forces.
During the symposium, Gen. Maryanne Miller, the commander of Air Mobility Command, confirmed the Air Force was in talks with Virgin Orbit and other space companies, such as Blue Origin and SpaceX, but that no resources were being committed so far.
Are you excited about the Parker Solar Probe mission and a possible mission to Pluto? Why? What mysteries do you think these missions could help solve?
Let's talk about it in the comments below!