It’s been flying for 12 years. What is it for? The photos sent back to the earth made scientists happy

Since the singularity explosion 18.6 billion years ago, the universe has never stopped expanding outward. No one knows how big the universe is today, but one is for sure. Its vastness is beyond human imagination. Human beings were born millions of years ago and evolved to form human civilization. 200 years ago, the industrial revolution began, human science and technology broke out, and human civilization began to enter the scientific and technological civilization. 60 years ago, the first man-made satellite was successfully launched, and human beings officially entered the era of space exploration.

It’s only a few decades since human beings really began to explore the universe, so we still know very little about the universe. With the help of astronomical telescopes, we can see the universe thousands of light-years away, and even some giant galaxies and celestial bodies tens of billions of light-years away. But the real scope of human exploration is only in the solar system, to be exact, in these areas not far from the earth, such as Venus, mercury, Mars, Jupiter and so on.

These planets are close to the earth, so it doesn’t take a long time for human probes to reach them. However, we know very little about the edge of the solar system. In order to detect the edge of the solar system, we launched a long-range probe, the new horizon spacecraft, 12 years ago. Its main mission is to explore Pluto and the Kuiper belt.

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The new horizon spacecraft was launched at Kennedy Space Center in January 2006. It was built by the United States at a cost of 700 million dollars. It is the fastest spacecraft in human history. It can reach 50000 kilometers per hour, much faster than the early Voyager 1. After the successful launch of new horizons, Pluto did not stay at the edge of the solar system.

Pluto used to be one of the nine planets in the solar system. Later, scientists thought it was a dwarf planet and kicked out the ranks of the nine planets. Although we can observe Pluto through astronomical telescopes, what we can see is only a very vague concept. The specific situation of Pluto still needs close observation by the probe.

After more than nine years of rapid flight, the new horizon spacecraft finally arrived at Pluto in July 2015, and began to explore Pluto and its surroundings for three years. At this time, for the first time, humans really saw the true face of Pluto. Pluto is the largest known dwarf planet with the second largest mass in the solar system. It is mainly composed of rock and ice, and its mass is only six times that of the moon One third of the size of the moon.

It takes about 248 years for Pluto to orbit the sun. Its elliptical orbit is in the region of the solar system called the Kuiper belt. Pluto’s elliptical orbit means that it is about 4.4 billion kilometers away from the sun when it is closer, and about 7.3 billion kilometers away from the sun when it is farthest. Pluto’s surface temperature is unknown, but it’s about 35 to 55k (- 238 to – 218 ℃).

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Pluto, like Triton, may be a mixture of 70% rock and 30% ice water. The bright part of the earth’s surface may be covered with some solid nitrogen and a small amount of solid methane and carbon monoxide. The composition of the dark part of Pluto’s surface is unknown, but it may be some basic organic matter or photochemical reactions triggered by cosmic rays.

After completing its three-year exploration mission to Pluto, new horizons will set sail again and enter the Kuiper belt, which is also a blind spot for human exploration in the solar system. Our understanding of the Kuiper belt is almost blank. We only know that this area surrounds the solar system, like a protective ring, and there are countless celestial bodies in it. We don’t know what kind of celestial bodies there are I know.

The main task of new horizons is to complete the exploration of the Kuiper belt, so that people can grasp more information about the edge of the solar system and make preparations for manned exploration of the Kuiper belt in the future. With the rapid development of human science and technology, we are bound to go out of the solar system in the future, but to go out of the solar system, we have to go through the Kuiper belt. There are too many celestial bodies in it, if we don’t understand If you pass rashly, you may have an unexpected celestial impact.

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After more than three years of flight from Pluto, new horizons reached the Kuiper belt on August 16, 2018. And 48 images of the new targets of the Kuiper belt were taken, which took several days to send back to earth. When scientists received these pictures and saw them, they were all happy and surprised. At last, human beings really saw the Kuiper belt. This is a great leap forward for human beings to explore the edge of the solar system.

In these pictures, we can see dense white dots. People who don’t know think they are pictures of cells in the human body. The white dots in these pictures of the Kuiper belt are objects of different sizes. We can see from simple pictures that there are too many objects in the Kuiper belt, and they are very dense. This is just the situation outside the Kuiper belt, deep If we don’t detect clearly, even if we have the ability to leave the solar system in the future, we dare not let spacecraft pass through this area easily.

In the future, new horizons will continue to explore the Kuiper belt, hoping that it can enter the interior safely and smoothly, and will not encounter the impact of celestial bodies. Once it is touched by an celestial body, new horizons may be scrapped, which is also the most worrying of scientists. No one can say how long it can continue to explore. Maybe it will continue to create miracles and behave like Voyager 1 Class returns more precious pictures.

As for the Kuiper belt, there is a saying on the Internet that it may be a man-made protective circle, the purpose of which is to protect the earth from being discovered by extraterrestrial civilization. If it is man-made, then who built it? It is impossible to estimate the number of celestial bodies needed to build such a huge celestial protective circle. These objects may not be in the solar system, but may be from the solar system How powerful are the civilizations that have the ability to transport outside the solar system? Why protect the earth?

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