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Here’s another noteworthy science item this week.
Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft has a new target to aim for following its historic flyby of Pluto.
It is called 2014 MU69, and was one of two comet-like objects that were under consideration by scientists working on the mission.
The US space agency will now carry out a review of the plan before officially approving the mission’s extension.
The new target is about a billion and a half km beyond Pluto. It is about 45km across and is thought to be one of the building blocks from which bigger worlds such as Pluto are formed.
Such objects form a region of the outer Solar System called the Kuiper Belt, containing a deep-freeze sample of what our cosmic neighbourhood was like when it formed 4.6 billion years ago.
“We expect it to be much less expensive than the prime mission, while still providing new and exciting science.”
The spacecraft carries enough hydrazine fuel for another flyby, and scientists say it could continue operating into the late 2020s or beyond.
The mission’s principal investigator, Alan Stern, called Nasa’s selection of 2014 MU69 “a great choice”.
He added: “This KBO costs less fuel to reach [than other candidate targets], leaving more fuel for the flyby, for ancillary science, and greater fuel reserves to protect against the unforeseen.”
In late October and early November, the spacecraft will perform a series of engine burns to set its course toward 2014 MU69 ahead of an encounter currently set for 1 January 2019.
@ Stephen Hawking
If I understand correctly (only the very basic solution!) – rather than information being obliterated in a black hole, it is stored in a chaotic and useless form of holograms (in / at?) the event horizon.
To say this is interesting would be an understatement; although, a few commenters say, this idea is not new and that Hawking presents old theories as his own(?).
Lecture at Sweden.
Correction: two dimensional
The information is stored at the boundary as two-dimensional holograms
known as “super translations,” he explained. But you wouldn’t want
super translations, which were first introduced as a concept in
1962, to back up your hard drive.
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