Two years ago today (July 14), our New Horizons spacecraft made its closest flyby of Pluto…collecting images and science that revealed a geologically complex world. Data from this mission are helping us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system.
The spacecraft is now venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt…a relic of solar system formation…to reach its next target. On New Year’s Day 2019, New Horizons will zoom past a Kuiper Belt object known as 2014 MU69.
The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region of icy bodies – including dwarf planets such as Pluto – and comets beyond the orbit of Neptune. It extends from about 30 to 55 Astronomical Units (an AU is the distance from the sun to Earth) and is probably populated with hundreds of thousands of icy bodies larger than 62 miles across, and an estimated trillion or more comets.
Nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto, you may be asking how the spacecraft will function for the 2014 MU69 flyby. Well, New Horizons was originally designed to fly far beyond the Pluto system and explore deeper into the Kuiper Belt.
The spacecraft carries extra hydrazine fuel for the flyby; its communications system is designed to work from beyond Pluto; its power system is designed to operate for many more years; and its scientific instruments were designed to operate in light levels much lower than it will experience during the 2014 MU69 flyby.
What have we learned about Pluto since its historic flyby in 2015?
During its encounter, the New Horizons spacecraft collected more than 1,200 images of Pluto and tens of gigabits of data. The intensive downlinking of information took about a year to return to Earth! Here are a few things we’ve discovered:
Pluto Has a Heart
This image captured by New Horizons around 16 hours before its closest approach shows Pluto’s “heart.” This stunning image of one of its most dominant features shows us that the heart’s diameter is about the same distance as from Denver to Chicago. This image also showed us that Pluto is a complex world with incredible geological diversity.
Pluto’s vast icy plain, informally called Sputnik Planitia, resembles frozen mud cracks on Earth. It has a broken surface of irregularly-shaped segments, bordered by what appear to be shallow troughs.
Images from the spacecraft display chaotically jumbled mountains that only add to the complexity of Pluto’s geography. The rugged, icy mountains are as tall as 11,000 feet high.
This high-resolution enhanced color view of Pluto combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. The surface of Pluto has a remarkable range of subtle color variations. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story.
Foggy Haze and Blue Atmosphere
Images returned from the New Horizons spacecraft have also revealed that Pluto’s global atmospheric haze has many more layers than scientists realized. The haze even creates a twilight effect that softly illuminates nightside terrain near sunset, which makes them visible to the cameras aboard the spacecraft.
New Horizons detected numerous small, exposed regions of water ice on Pluto. Scientists are eager to understand why water appears exactly where it does, and not in other places.
theres a post going around saying how you should NOT get a parrot even if you are a dedicated owner. i do not personally agree and am actually a bit mad at the way they portray parrots, almost teaching people to fear them. whats your stance on it?
If you’re referring to pepperandpals’ post, I agree with it. Had you asked me this question a few years ago I would probably say otherwise but after all the experience, knowledge and dedication I’ve put in to learning I no longer believe that parrots should be sold in the pet trade under most conditions.
You haven’t a clue how many birds get mistreated, left with dowel perches, no UV lighting, small cages, seed only diets, forced to aggress, get placed in homes with teflon products, and end up living miserably with these people up until their lives end way earlier than they should have. Too many people think that exotics are just that, exotic, a decoration, something to brag about and end up not actually caring for it as much as they should. Too many people believe that they’re doing right or don’t need to be doing more and as a result the bird suffers.
When it comes to people who do do their research, have previous hands on experience and really care for a bird the best they can, it’s rarely ever enough when you compare, and the average person is not able to provide that sort of lifestyle for them. Using myself as an example, I spend all day with my birds, I spend all my time adding things to environment, switching up diets, giving them exercise, mentally stimulating them, cage cleaning, rearranging the bird room, it’s no exaggeration when I say I spend a solid 12 hours that they’re awake caring for them and then spend the whole evening trying to think of ways to improve the care I’m giving them for tomorrow. Despite how hard I try, how much research and how much i provide it never feels like enough. because it isn’t enough.
I do my best to show you guys all the work I put in to caring for my little girls, I constantly receive messages telling me how amazing I am for giving these birds this life and all the work I put in to them but in all honesty, you guys don’t see the half of it. You don’t see the thousands of hours of research I put in to every aspect of their life, their diets, their housing, their natural foraging experiences, safe plants, cleaning, moulting habits, behavioural situations, space division, possession, territory layouts, and so much more go on on a daily basis. You don’t see all the work I have to do to make sure that these highly territorial species doesn’t fight and kill one another so that I can continue to have them both out as much as possible, only having them out one at a time would take away so much space and enjoyment from their lives. You don’t see the vet bills, the preparation, the stress reducing, you don’t see the costs, the time, the energy that goes in to trying to keep them happy. You all seem to have this idea that the care I give my birds is way beyond exceeding expectations but let me tell you something, what I do I consider to be bare minimum.
All the effort, expenses, time, and work is absolutely necessary for them to be content with a captive lifestyle, if I was away at school or work full time I would consider this care to be subpar, to be inadequate, they would be unhappy with that lifestyle because that’s not what they’re designed for. They are not meant to live this way and not everyone has the time, space, personality or tolerance necessary to care for them the way they deserve.
Can you look at those and tell me that they can possibly be perfectly content and happy this way without the time and effort I put in to it?
Can you tell me that a bird so intelligent, so so smart can be removed from that environment and so perfectly adapt without any problems?
Can you look at this bird and tell me that they’re happy with this lifestyle?
Plucking is a behaviour that only happens in captivity it has never been recorded in the wild. Plucking is a behaviour caused by boredom, understimulation, stress, inadequate diet, and sometimes even happens just because they’re depressed.
You can not tell me that parrots are happier this way, you can not possibly tell me that taking something so perfectly adapted to a single lifestyle, perfectly designed to fly forever is okay having that removed. You will never be able to convince me that something perfectly designed to work with flight will be happy to have them chopped off for human enjoyment. My own Mia used to be clipped because she was from a store, my own Mia was depressed because of it, she did not move very much, she did not want to play with toys, she did not want to interact with people, she was miserable that way. But people wouldn’t notice that, they would dismiss it as the bird’s personality or just adapting or some other excuse to ignore the fact that the bird is having a horrific time. You will never be able to convince me that this:
you will never convince me that being captive is healthy.
Parrots are a full time job, they are not a pet, they are not a decoration, they are not a toy, they are not a phase, they’re a commitment and a hell of a big one. Birds should not be readily available in pet stores, owners should have to go through tests to see if they’re capable of providing a stimulating environment for the ones that already stuck in this trade. I think that breeding should be focused on maintaining health and maintaining the survival of species such as the endangered blue throated macaws and I think that species such as hyacinths, or cockatoos shouldn’t be in homes at all. Keeping those birds isn’t a matter or giving them an enriching life, it’s a matter of doing your best to prevent them from suffering.
In this world ignorance is bliss, a few years ago I would have thought just the same as you, I believed it’s just a bird it’s sold in a store it will be just fine. But as soon as you learn, as you soon as you see all the harm and the suffering these birds go through you’ll change your mind.
If you are a dedicated owner, if you have the experience and knowledge you should have before you even get a bird a pet store wouldn’t even be an option. There’s a reason that every reputable person, blogger, trainer, or other animal worker will always consider adopting before all else, it certainly isn’t a coincidence that the most educated refuse pet stores. Breeding has resulted in so many god damned problems, I’m certain you’ve heard of the feather duster budgies caused by poor breeding or the numerous parrot hybrids, while pretty they serve no purpose.
I’m certain some of you saw this post going around featuring the feather duster budgies? Do you have any idea how many comments said “I want one”? These birds are a genetic failure, their feathers keep growing and never stop until they die, they either die from overheating, they can’t breathe, they can’t walk to make it to food so they starve or are generally crushed under the weight.
The fact of the matter is that birds aren’t designed for this lifestyle, they are not domesticated they are wild they retain all that natural behaviour all those natural needs, they bite, they scream, they fly, they make a mess, they destroy things, they’re active, and demanding, the average person, and I’d go as far as to say a solid 70% of most bird owners, can not handle their care. How many times have you read “my bird won’t stop screaming”, “I’m considering getting rid of my bird”, “my bird won’t stop biting”, “my bird only likes one person”, “my bird hates me”, “i can’t afford this vet bill”, “I don’t want to buy a UV light or a filter”, a lot, right?
All of those problems happen because people didn’t do their research, they didn’t know how to handle the bird, how to react to the problems when they started showing up, they didn’t know what to look for they were unprepared for the care that they need.
The majority of birds from pet stores and breeders suffer, by the time they make it to 2 years old and they start acting like proper adults they get sent to shelters. When they become adults they don’t take shit from anyone, they have 0 tolerance for your foolishness and lash out when you ignore their body language. People don’t want a bird that wants to be treated with respect, they want one that will sit there, do tricks, talk, and look cute when they want it to, they don’t want mutual trust, they want obedience and don’t want to work to get it.
I don’t care how good of an owner you think you are, once you stop blocking out everything you’ll see the damage the pet trade has on these birds and your mind will change. It’s not a coincidence that the most educated or experienced will advise you against buying pet store birds or breeder birds and I sincerely hope you listen to them.
I know I will certainly never purchase a bird from a breeder or a store, I hope you won’t either.