Indoor, Outdoor & Kids' Trampolines

How to Get to Pluto: From a Waterpark

Good morning, John, I’m apparently at a water
park because it is very hot here. Also, because my life is amazing and marvelous and one of
the other things that’s making my life amazing and marvelous these days is that very soon,
we will have, for the first time, non-horribly blurry pictures from Pluto. New Horizons has been traveling for nine years
– it was launched in 2006. In addition to containing a bunch of scientific experiments,
spectrographs, cameras, that kind of thing, it’s also carrying the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh,
the guy who discovered Pluto. Which is pretty cool, he gets to like actually go there. I think there’s going to be a conversation
about this in the comments no matter what; I just gotta say, Pluto’s not a planet. And
the reason that Pluto is not a planet is the same reason why I am so excited about the
New Horizons mission: which is that Pluto is freakin’ weird. Woah! The Kuiper belt is a ring of really loosely-packed,
icy, rocky worlds out beyond the orbit of Neptune, and Pluto is the largest of the Kuiper
belt objects. They’re so far away we’ve never studied the Kuiper belt objects, except we
kind of have. Triton is a moon of Neptune that is just a
little bit bigger than Pluto and composed roughly of the same stuff. [Splash!] Failure! Now, we know quite a bit about Triton, because
once upon a time we actually visited it. Because Triton orbits Neptune backwards, people think
that it was probably captured from the Kuiper belt by Neptune as part of this weird Solar-System-changing
event that happened like 4 billion years ago, in which Neptune and Uranus switched places,
also potentially causing the destruction of like thousands of Pluto-sized bodies. Pluto has 5 moons, uh, they’re some of the
weirdest moons in the Solar System and we didn’t even know it had 5 moons until pretty
recently. Before New Horizons launched we didn’t even know about 2 of them, so now it’s
headed on it’s way to Pluto and there are new moons to watch out for, and there may
be more moons we don’t even know about, which actually presents danger. The New Horizons
could crash into one of those moons, which would end the mission, which would be very
sad. We wouldn’t even know what happened, because we wouldn’t be able to get any data
about it. Those moons were probably collected on the
Kuiper belt which Pluto spends most of its time in. A couple of them have these weird
wobbly orbits that so if you were on the surface of them, you would never know when the sun
was going to come up. Sometimes the sun would rise in the east and then like, set in the
north. New Horizons is now more than 4.5 billion
kilometers away, and to get there it had to exit Earth’s orbit faster than any object
ever has before, spend a bunch of time tailing Jupiter and have Jupiter like suck it forward
to speed it up even further. It’s going so fast now that of course it can never slow
down, so it’s just gonna blast past Pluto and deeper into the Kuiper belt. Since transmitting data from 4.5 billion kilometers
away requires a lot of fine-tuning, New Horizons cannot take pictures and transmit data at
the same time, so as it approaches over the next week it’s going to be taking pictures
like crazy, but it won’t be able to send us any data. This is because the transmission speeds are
so terribly slow, slower than, like, an early 90s modem, it’s going to take months for us
to get all the data that we’re gonna get from this thing, that is going to give us a truly
rich and deep and amazing understanding of this mostly unexplored world. I’m very excited. John, New Horizons will be making its closest
approach on Tuesday, so if you could put a picture on the video that would be fantastic.
I’m really excited for everybody to see it, just like you’re excited for everybody to
see the Paper Towns movie. John! I will see you on Tuesday! [Bubbles blub blub] We will of course be covering the New Horizons
mission like crazy on SciShow, and I encourage you to also check out our new series specifically
designed for elementary school students, Crash Course Kids.

Reader Comments

  1. Damn, Hank – that was an awesome video! Love the water/space juxtaposition. I think even John will get excited about this space-rock news.

  2. I think this is absolutely wonderful that humanity will finally have finished the rough census of The Solar System.

    This will make it a good summer indeed and what better place to discuss this than a water park.

    I think Pluto will look very similar to the pictures so far but with a far more beautiful detail when New Horizons flies by.

    It's almost like you are watersliding straight into science and hopefully so will we all once we really know it's treasures.

    It would be the ultimate irony if the spacecraft was damaged by one of it's moons. It's also going to examine several other dwarf planets when it gets beyond Pluto to venter further.

    I love how it will mostly be a hybrid of so many thresholds culminating in the ultimate adventure. I like the spirit of this video. Thank you for your input on this.

  3. How do they communicate with New Horizon, considering just how FAR it is… surely radio signals don't transmit over that much distance… so how?

  4. I am having a massive freak out moment. The good part- VLOGBROTHERS IS DOING AN ASTRONOMY/ASTROPHYISICS RELATED VIDEO! The bad part- I feel incredible ashamed that as someone who would like to be an astrophysicist specialising in cosmology, I didn't know about this. My only reassurance is that I was only three when this misson started. But it's ok. BECAUSE WE WILL HAVE CLEAR PICTURES IF PLUTO AND HOPEFULLY A LOT MORE DATA!

  5. I think one of the more important thing we learned in this video is that Hank wears a T-Shirts while at water parks.

  6. Our culture is very weird. People who extend humanity's reach beyond the solar system – their names are barely known. But people who are 'pretty' and wear cloths that are for sale – everyone knows their names. I do not want to call this culture home.

  7. Swimming with glasses is the worst. But if I don't I can't see stuff. But then I can't see stuff because there's water on my glasses, gosh dang it.

  8. Can I just say, filming educational videos while having so much fun at a waterpark, Hank, you've impressed me, for the ten millionth time

  9. finaly got round to watching the falt in our stars and it is perfect. i havent enjoyed a move that much in a while. just thought you should know

  10. Pluto is the coolest planet that is not a planet. I know they stripped Pluto of its title as a planet but it will always be my favourite whatever it is now.

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    Thanks so much!

  12. Hold up at 2:02 you say that would be sad and it would. BUT OH MAN WHAT A COSMIC MONEYSHOT that would have been I wouldn't even be mad at NASA the odds are unfathomable to a lazy mortal like me.

  13. So, for the last hour, I've been helping NASA find stars with a dust-disc. Now, I'm helping archeologist examine some ancient papyrus. They aren't paying me (I don't think they do that). It should be every Nerdfighter's new Candy Crush.

  14. so this is probably just going to get lost in the comments but i'm really confused about scientists repeatedly yelling, "PLUTO IS NOT A PLANET IT'S A DWARF PLANET," because it seems to me that a dwarf planet would be a type of planet because the word planet is in it? like a venn diagram of planets would be a circle with another circle inside labeled "dwarf planets" with pluto somewhere inside that circle. but no, their venn diargram is apparently two distinct separate and non-intersecting circles. that's like me saying that i'm not a human because i'm a short human. it makes no sense!

  15. Can I propose that all faces that are supposed to be obscured are covered with pictures of Pluto from now on?  Because, that was kind of awesome.  🙂

  16. Check it out the NEW LIMITED EDITION PLUTO SHIRT !!

  17. Pluto is a dwarf planet, but that's still a planet.  The IAU definition is pretty poor, since it divides planets into "dwarf planets" and just "planets", but it should really be divided into terrestrial planets, gas giants, and dwarf planets as subcategories of planet.  But whatever.  It's just semantics.

  18. Hank, you are the nerdiest of nerds. Talking about complex space exploration from a water park. Also, I mean that in the most loving way. Pluto is my favorite planet because it's small and different and just awesome. Also it reminds me of Disney so bonus points in my book. How exactly do you call a thing a planet then just decide it isn't? Why isn't it a planet? Like is there a process for revoking a space thing's planet status? Serious questions. Sorry if this sounds ignorant, but my nerdiness resides mostly in literature and psychology, not space.

  19. Funny thing: seeing photos of space and hearing sounds of water is a very strange feeling. Made me wonder how people fell being in space. Must be weird.

  20. New Horizons is indeed slowing down, as the Sun is still exerting a gravitational pull on it. But New Horizons is going fast enough that the Sun cannot cause it to fall back into a heliocentric orbit. (The same holds true for the Pioneer and Voyager probes).

  21. You guys rock! That being said…what is it that you think makes something a planet or not. I heard that it was a group of astronomers whom just decided arbitrarily on a definition that excluded Pluto. I would like to hear your thoughts on these criteria and why you agree with them.

  22. Pluto is awesome. Is it true there are signs of tectonic activity? That's what the newspaper (The Irish Times) said.

  23. Now that things are slowing down for a bit, I am able to get caught up on things like your videos and what a gem it was to see a vlogbrother's vlog dedicated to our work. Thank you for sharing our work with your viewers. The Pluto science is just starting.

  24. The floating Plutos covering strangers' faces killed me! So funny!!!
    This was such a clever and entertaining way to film a video that was incredibly educational. I love this channel!

  25. This video game me a disappointing thought. What if we'll never be able to explore other planets in person, or settle in new planets? What if our rovers and satellites will crash into random planets and be discovered by another intelligent species? 
    Just imagine those species examining our technology and concluding: "Their primitive technology did not allow them to leave their planet of origin. This was their best attempt at exploring the neighbouring planets/systems."

    They'll look at us as if we were a small flicker in the history of time. We'd be that specie that was unsuccessful at passing down our genes. "Oh, there were the homo sapien sapiens. They lasted from xxxx-xxxx. They are extinct." and we would have never met any intelligent life form.

    (yes, there is the whole "what was the sole reason our ancestors explored the western hemisphere? The aliens would do the same as the explorers did to the natives" argument. I don't disagree at all!)

  26. Had to rewind. Distracted by anonymized Pluto-headed people passing in the background, and got to wondering when they'd orbit again 😉

    (get it, Hank's the star…)

  27. If we are going to include Pluto, we need to include similar sized objects such as Ceres, which I am not entirely against but which would mean we have roughly 25 planets.

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