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The Great Planet Debate conference, August 2008 - Washington DC
JRehling
post Oct 8 2007, 05:22 AM
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QUOTE (edstrick @ Oct 7 2007, 09:22 PM) *
Probably some perfect "grand tour" type alignment, where each spacecraft-planet encounter is as close-in to the planet as possible for a departure trajectory that's approximately tangent to the planet's orbit or as close to tangent as possible.


Eris is also well off of the ecliptic at present (and for a long time coming). I doubt that keeping things in the ecliptic for three flybys then counting on Neptune to provide all of the work to acquire a high inclination is feasible. Maybe a Jupiter-Saturn combo could do it, assuming the rings weren't a problem.

That would actually be a scenario that would unfold fairly often.

Uranus is actually in a pretty good position right now for an assist to Eris, but it'll soon move out of that good position and not come back for 8 decades. Neptune, however, is moving into position, but again, Neptune can't bend the path down in very good proportion to Jupiter's bending it out.

In only 230 years or so, Eris will come within 40 AU of the Sun. Let's plan on an Eris Orbiter/Lander then. Start the buzz now.
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Alan Stern
post Aug 10 2008, 03:17 PM
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You probably already know about The Great Planet Debate meeting coming this week near DC, if not, see:
gpd.jhuapl.edu.

To register for Great Planet Debate conference web participation, click: http://tinyurl.com/6xcqec
Watch the talks and debate on line!

-Alan
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volcanopele
post Aug 12 2008, 04:34 AM
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Don't forget that planetary scientists also study moons, asteroids, comets, dwarf planets, Trans-Neptunian Objects, etc. We don't just study planets wink.gif


--------------------
&@^^!% Jim! I'm a geologist, not a physicist!
The Gish Bar Times - A Blog all about Jupiter's Moon Io
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Greg Hullender
post Aug 12 2008, 03:03 PM
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QUOTE (volcanopele @ Aug 11 2008, 08:34 PM) *
Don't forget that planetary scientists also study moons, asteroids, comets, dwarf planets, Trans-Neptunian Objects, etc. We don't just study planets wink.gif


You're undermining Alan's argument, you realize. I don't think we can allow you to study comets, unless they're REALLY big comets. :-)

--Greg
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JRehling
post Aug 12 2008, 06:52 PM
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A title I always find funny is "Lunar and Planetary Science", as though the Moon is the sole non-planet to be discussed in this context. Either it should be called "Lunar and Ganymedian and Mirandan and ... [...] ... and Cometary and Planetary Science" or the lunacy of listing just ONE exception should be discarded immediately. Why would the term be broad enough to include Saturn's rings, but not the Moon?

I think the simple category error here is the presumption that the question "Who decides" is going to end up having an answer. Who decided how Pittsburgh would be spelled? Who decided that the English definite article was "the"? Who decided that when a group is asked to identify itself, the answer that sounds best is "It's us" rather than "It's we"?

The IAU *happened* to come up with a torturous and counterintuitive definition and they *happened* to make a decision that impacts the textbooks and they *happened*, as Alan notes, to consist more of people who study stars rather than solar system objects. However, the idea went sour at the point that the implication was made that a smoke-filled room owned the term "planet", which provides no service to science for objects in our solar system.
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