New Horizons has survived its close encounter with Pluto and has resumed sending back images and data. The robotic spacecraft reported back on time, with all systems working, and with the expected volume of data stored. Featured here is the highest resolution image of Pluto taken before closest approach, an image that really brings Pluto into a satisfying focus. At first glance, Pluto is reddish and has several craters. Toward the image bottom is a surprisingly featureless light-covered region that resembles an iconic heart, and mountainous terrain appears on the lower right. This image, however, is only the beginning. As more images and data pour in today, during the coming week, and over the next year, humanity's understanding of Pluto and its moons will likely become revolutionized.
|The Heavens declare the Glory of God|
size data: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/how-big-is-pluto-new-horizons-settles-decades-long-debate
more data: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/plutofact.html
The New Horizons spacecraft is unmanned, and will not land on Pluto's surface. But in the Far Future, the Scout service and others would make this kind of discovery, and very likely make a surface landing. How should this be handled for PC explorers?
From my House Rules file:
Landing a ship is one of the better times for pilots to demonstrate their ability (i.e., roll some dice)
Starport Landing task roll
The X classification indicates no landing facilities at all, the pilot is setting down on unprepared ground. Starports A-C all have radar & radio guidance from the ground; D,E, and X do not.
Atmosphere 9+ -2
High Gravity world -2
Bad Weather -1
Under fire, from ground or air -2
Existing hull damage -1 per hull hit
How do you handle 'field landings' in your Traveller game?