Thursday, February 21, 2008

So much for The Bean!

Followup to an August 2006 post in the Ontario Empoblog.

I ran across a mention of one of the heroes of Gene "Bean" Baxter from KROQ.

When I tell you that the blog post dealt with trans-Neptunian objects, you probably realize whom I'm talking about.

One of the trans-Neptunian objects that was discussed was the one that conservatives like myself insist on referring to as the ninth planet.

The best thing about Pluto and Charon is that a probe is on the way. The New Horizons probe has passed Jupiter and will arrive at Pluto in 2015. NASA helpfully has a countdown to the flyby date on their web site, how cool is that? Aside from the usual instruments…the probe carries some artifacts like a Florida quarter and some of the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the man who discovered Pluto.

But Pluto still doesn't get any respect.

Unfortunately, New Horizons won’t be stopping at Pluto, this is a flyby mission. It will pass about 6200 km (10,000 miles) from Pluto and then pass Charon at about 27,000 km (16,800 miles.) Basically it has to go so fast to get to Pluto/[Charon] in decent time that there’s no good way to slow it down. A shame, but still, it will be the first visit to these objects and it will be taking pictures and other measurements furiously in the weeks before and after the flyby. At closest approach features as small as 50 m will be visible, it ain’t going to be Google Pluto but its still amazing.

P.S. Regarding the title of this post - can you say Tbilisi? Several years after Bean was unable to answer Ray Romano's "Millionaire" question (which prompted Philbin's line), Frank Murphy noted that Regis Philbin still refers to Baxter as "The Bean."

P.P.S. Yes, Bean pulled down his blog, allowing spammer types to claim it. クレジットカードの世界でCreditCard, indeed.

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