“Overdose of Awesomeness”: New Pluto Images Show Unpredicted Activity

first_imgMore images have been released from New Horizons’ July 14 flyby of Pluto, showing youthful mountains, glaciers and an escaping atmosphere.The following is just one of the new images making the New Horizons Twitter Feed erupt in WOW!!! exclamations:Pluto lookback image 15 minutes after closest approach July 14, 2015Dr. Phil Metzger’s tweet “Overdose of awesomeness!” sums up the feelings of scientists looking over the latest images posted by NASA’s New Horizons mission today. The stunning panoramas, taken just 15 minutes after closest approach last July 14, show mountains rivaling the Rockies or Sierras (about 11,000′ high) adjacent to the smooth plains of Sputnik Planum. Additional high-res images show nitrogen glaciers flowing from the mountains onto the plains, and shadows cast by the mountains onto apparent ground fog. The thin nitrogen atmosphere also shows unexpected structure, with over a dozen layers visible.Last week (Sept. 10), a press release from New Horizons summed up Pluto’s surface this way: “It’s complicated.”New close-up images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveal a bewildering variety of surface features that have scientists reeling because of their range and complexity.“Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we’ve seen in the solar system,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top — but that’s what is actually there.”New Horizons geologist Jeff Moore described Pluto’s surface as “every bit as complex as that of Mars” — a remarkable description for a body a third the diameter of Mars and 26 times farther from the sun. Laws of physics demand that smaller objects lose heat faster, and objects more distant from stars should be the coldest. Sources of heat are limited: radioactive elements should be depleted this late in Pluto’s assumed age, and Pluto is not subjected to significant tidal forces.New images also show the most heavily cratered — and thus oldest — terrain yet seen by New Horizons on Pluto next to the youngest, most crater-free icy plains. There might even be a field of dark wind-blown dunes, among other possibilities.“Seeing dunes on Pluto — if that is what they are — would be completely wild, because Pluto’s atmosphere today is so thin,” said William B. McKinnon, a GGI deputy lead from Washington University, St. Louis. “Either Pluto had a thicker atmosphere in the past, or some process we haven’t figured out is at work. It’s a head-scratcher.”  The surprise extends to the satellites of Pluto:Discoveries being made from the new imagery are not limited to Pluto’s surface. Better images of Pluto’s moons Charon, Nix, and Hydra will be released Friday at the raw images site for New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), revealing that each moon is unique and that big moon Charon’s geological past was a tortured one.Surprise, not vindication, is clear from quotes by the scientists. “Now we can study geology in terrain that we never expected to see,” John Spencer said on Sept. 10th. “Pluto is surprisingly Earth-like in this regard,” Alan Stern remarked today, “and no one predicted it.”Update 9/18/15: At The Conversation, David Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at The Open University, discusses what the images mean. Sample:This is probably nitrogen snow covering water-ice terrain, and there are signs that nitrogen-ice flows glacier-like from the bright rigged terrain into the flat area. Why here? How recent? We don’t know….While the images tell us a lot about Pluto and Charon, they also raise a number of new questions. We simply don’t know what controls the localised nitrogen snowfall, the intricate haze layers or the old fractures that cut through the craters. We don’t know why Pluto’s surface is so diverse or its atmosphere so complex, or how much of this is driven by tidal interactions between Pluto and Charon. The list goes on.Additional images and data from the encounter will trickle down over the 10 months.Hey, Alan! We predicted it. On July 9, before the encounter, we predicted: (1) active geology and evidence of resurfacing, (2) atmospheric escape rates too rapid for billions of years, (3) moons that will challenge the idea they were formed by a collision, (4) reporters would leap from evidence of water ice to speculations about life.  We haven’t found the L-word life in the press releases yet (at least since 7/27/11), but our first 3 predictions have been confirmed.Why were we successful? The reason: we don’t bow down to the A.S.S. (age of the solar system, 4.5 billion years), the Law of the Misdeeds and Perversions that Cannot Be Altered. Openness to younger ages has a long track record of success explaining youthful features on Enceladus, Titan, Saturn, Mars, Mercury, comets, Io, Earth, etc. etc.Resource: Jason Lisle’s report, “New Horizons at Pluto” at ICR posted August 2015. (Visited 51 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa’s 2014 elections – a resource pack

first_imgCompiled by Mary AlexanderOn 7 May 2014 South Africans will vote for their national and provincial government representatives, in the fifth democratic elections since the end of apartheid 20 years ago. We bring you a timetable leading up to the elections, a fun video for first-time voters, and useful contacts for finding out more about the election process.Information courtesy of the Independent Electoral Commission, or IEC, and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.Jump to:The road to the vote – a 2014 elections timetableThe road to the vote – downloadsVideo: The I Vote South Africa campaign for first-time votersContact Electoral Commission offices countrywideOther useful contactsThe IEC’s Road to 2014 Elections infographic. Click for a larger view.The road to the vote – a 2014 elections timetable25 February – The election date is proclaimed, and the voters’ roll closed.28 to 31 March – Lists of all candidates for political parties, with accompanying documents, open for inspection at the IEC’s national office in Pretoria. See the IEC contact details below.1 April, 17h00 – Deadline for objections to political parties’ candidate lists.7 April, 17h00 – Deadline for the IEC to make decisions on objections to political parties’ candidate lists. Both the parties and objectors are notified of the commission’s decision.7 to 17 April – Applications for special votes open at local IEC offices. See contact details below. You can apply for a special vote if you’re unable to a voting station on election day because you are too old, ill, living with a disability, or pregnant, or if, for some other reason, you won’t be able to get to your voting station on election day.8 to 10 April – Appeals can be made to the Electoral Court against IEC decisions on objections to candidates.10 April – IEC issues the final voting station addresses and maps of mobile voting station routes.15 April, 17h00 – Deadline for the Electoral Court to rule on appeals against IEC decisions regarding objections to candidates. The IEC, political parties and objectors are all notified of the Electoral Court’s decisions.17 April, 17h00 – Deadline for applications for special votes.22 April – IEC releases final lists of candidates and political parties contesting the elections.24 April – IEC issues certificates to political parties.30 April – People living abroad cast their votes – only for national elections – during the office hours of their local South African embassy or consulate. In order to vote, expatriates must have completed a notification form at their embassy or consulate, the deadline for which was 12 March.5 and 6 May, 09h00 to 17h00 – Special votes cast at voting stations and with electoral officers’ visits to the homes of special voters.7 May, 07h00 to 21h00 – Election day in South AfricaYou must vote where you are registered. Check your voting station by SMSing your ID number to 32810 (SMS costs R1), use the My Voter Registration Details app on elections.otg.za, or call the toll-free number 0800 11 8000.Voting stations close at nine at night, but all the people still in the queue at the time must be allowed to cast their vote.DownloadsThe IEC’s Road to the 2014 Elections infographic (740 KB)The IEC’s 2014 Elections timetable (166 KB)Both files in PDFFor first-time voters: the IXSA campaign – I Vote South AfricaWatch time-lapse video of the creation of the IXSA campaign’s graffiti logo:Find out more about the IXSA campaign here.Click the graphic below to download IXSA campaign wallpaper.Contact the Independent Electoral CommissionIEC National OfficeSpokesperson: Kate BapelaTel: 012 622 5700Fax: 012 622 5784Cell: 082 600 6386spokesperson@elections.org.zaEastern CapeProvincial electoral officer: Thami MrajiTel: 043 709 4200Fax: 043 743 4784MrajiT@elections.org.zaFree StateProvincial electoral officer: Chris MephaTel: 051 401 5000Fax: 051 430 4845mephaj@elections.org.zaGautengProvincial electoral officer: Masego SheburiTel: 011 644 7400Fax: 011 644 7448sheburim@elections.org.zaKwaZulu-NatalProvincial electoral officer: Mawethu MoseryTel: 031 279 2200Fax: 031 279 2226MoseryM@elections.org.zaLimpopoProvincial electoral officer: Nkaro MatetaTel: 015 283 9100Fax: 015 297 2506MatetaN@elections.org.zaMpumalangaProvincial electoral officer: Steve NgwenyaTel: 013 754 0200Fax: 013 753 2564NgwenyaS@elections.org.zaNorthern CapeProvincial electoral officer: Bonolo ModiseTel: 053 838 5000Fax: 053 831 8095ModiseB@elections.org.zaNorth WestProvincial electoral officer: Tumi ThibaTel: 018 391 0800Fax: 018 391 0851ThibaT@elections.org.zaWestern CapeProvincial electoral officer: Courtney SampsonTel: 021 910 5700Fax: 021 910 4965SampsonC@elections.org.zaYou can also find the IEC online:Website: www.elections.org.zaCall centre: 0800 11 8000Facebook: www.facebook.com/IECSouthAfricaTwitter: @IECSouthAfricaYouTube: www.youtube.com/user/IECSouthAfricaOther useful election-related contactsAn alphabetical list of contacts for election information, monitoring, advice, training and voter education.Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA)For information and monitoring of advertising011 781 2006info@asasa.org.zawww.asasa.org.zaBroadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA)For monitoring broadcasters and making complaints011 325 5736www.bccsa.co.zaCommission for Gender Equality (CGE)For monitoring gender injustice and making complaints011 403 7182www.cge.org.zaDisabled People of South AfricaVoter education for disabled people021 422 0357info@dpsa.org.zawww.dpsa.org.zaElectoral Institute of South Africa (Eisa)For research, information, advice, voter education and resources011 381 6000eisa@eisa.org.zawww.eisa.org.zaFreedom of Expression Institute (FXI)For media monitoring011 482 1913fxi@fxi.orgwww.fxi.org.zaGovernment PrinterFor copies of Government Gazettes, in which election notices and legislation are published012 334 4734-6jpe@print.pwv.gov.zaIndependent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa)For information on election broadcasting, as well as advice, monitoring and complaints011 566 3000/1info@icasa.org.zawww.icasa.org.zaIcasa KPMG ethics lineToll-free: 0800 200 796fraud@kpmg.co.zaMedia Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)For coordinating media workersinfo@misa.orgwww.misa.orgMedia Monitoring Project (MMP)For information and monitoring of election reportingContact: William Bird – director011 788 1278williamb@mediamonitoring.org.za or info@mediamonitoring.org.zawww.mediamonitoring.org.zaNational Community Radio Forum (NCRF)For information, training and coordination of community radio reporting and broadcasting011 403 4336info@ncrf.org.zawww.ncrf.org.zaOpen Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)For training and advocacy to help citizens access information about the government, political parties, and the elections021 461 7211www.opendemocracy.org.zaOpen Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA)For election resources, information and monitoringContact: Fatima Hassan – executive director021 511 1679admin@osfsa.org.zawww.osf.org.zaParliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG)For monitoring and information about South Africa’s parliament021 465 8885info@pmg.org.zawww.pmg.org.zaPress Council of South Africa and South African Press OmbudsmanFor the self-regulation of journalists and monitoring the Press Code011 484 3612/8pressombudsman@ombudsman.org.zawww.presscouncil.org.zaSouth African Human Rights CommissionFor monitoring South Africans’ constitutional human rights, and complaints against human rights abuses011 877 3600complaints@sahrc.org.zawww.sahrc.org.zalast_img read more