adBlockCheck

NASA Launches Probe To Inform Pluto Of Demotion

Top Headlines

Science & Technology

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books

Disney Begins Uploading Obama’s Consciousness To Hall Of Presidents Robot

BAY LAKE, FL—In an effort to provide park visitors with the most true-to-life attraction possible, Walt Disney World officials announced Monday that computer technicians have begun uploading Barack Obama’s consciousness into his animatronic robot likeness at the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents exhibit.

Facebook’s Plans For The Future

From instant articles to live video, Facebook continues to look for new ways to expand its reach and offerings. Here are some plans on the horizon for the social media giant

Brita Unveils New In-Throat Water Filters

OAKLAND, CA—Representatives from Brita, the nation’s bestselling brand of household water filtration products, held a press event Wednesday to unveil a new line of filters designed to be installed directly inside users’ throats.

Video Game Henchmen Plan Meetup Around Explosive Barrels

LEVEL 5—A group of video game henchmen patrolling the warehouse hideout of their criminal mastermind boss informed reporters Wednesday of their upcoming plan to take a brief break from making their rounds to meet up around a stack of five highly explosive barrels.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

NASA Launches Probe To Inform Pluto Of Demotion

In August, the International Astronomical Union downgraded Pluto to a dwarf planet. The panel of experts met to officially redefine the characteristics of a planet. To deliver the news to the distant orb about its newly lowered status, scientists at NASA's Kennedy Space Center launched a special messenger probe in September.

<p><b>BEARER OF BAD NEWS</b><br> The Consoler probe braces to break the news to Pluto.</p>

"It's tough, but we thought giving it to Pluto straight was the right thing to do," NASA Chief Engineer James Wood said. "After all, it put in 76 years as our ninth planet—it just didn't seem fair to break the news with an impersonal radio transmission beamed from Earth."

The Consoler probe is scheduled to reach Pluto in 2016. Upon landing on the planetoid's surface, the probe will relay to Pluto the news of its demotion, then orbit the tiny celestial body and radio messages of gratitude for its eons of planetary service to convince Pluto that it is still a highly valued part of the solar system's configuration.

"Pluto is more than 3.5 billion miles from the sun," Wood said. "Launching that probe felt like the best way to avoid alienating it any further."

Wood said Consoler will "take pains" to explain to Pluto that the reasons for the demotion "had nothing to do with anything it did personally."

"It was a great planet, and it will be a great dwarf planet," Wood said of Pluto's tenure. "No one is questioning its orbit around the sun, and of course Pluto's gravity and pressure gradient force is plenty sufficient to maintain hydrostatic equilibrium. Pluto still has three moons: Charon, Hydra and Nix. No one's going to take that away from it."

Scientists at NASA have taken precautions that word of the demotion will not reach Pluto before Consoler does. The New Horizons probe, which will pass by Pluto in July 2015, has been instructed to maintain radio silence. It is, however, programmed to congratulate nearby Eris and Ceres for their promotion from asteroids to dwarf planets.

"The Consoler probe will reach Pluto on a Friday, if our calculations are correct," Wood said. "It's always better to do this kind of thing right before the weekend."

WATCH VIDEO FROM THE ONION

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close