[U] Primarily To Improve Our Mood… We Travel About A Billion Miles, Off Planet — For “New Planetary Formation” Science

The sheer volume of lawlessness — out of 1600 Penn of late threatens to spoil the joy I usually feel, with the arrival of the saint’s day.

So, in advance of being dragged under, I’ll hop a billion miles off, into the inky darkness, tonight. . . .

It seems New Horizon’s team — out of Boulder, Colorado — has found that tiny Arrokoth (about which we’ve waxed wistfully, several times before), a planetessimal, well beyond Neptune and Pluto orbital arcs, was formed in a very graceful, slowly spiraling dance — in the distant silence, and dark. . . so very far away in time as well [from the time when our nearby planets were first collapsing, from the local nebular dust cloud, and becoming becoming nine separate. . . spinning disks]. Over perhaps dozens or hundreds of of centuries, the small paired orbs slowly circled one another, until they. . . merged. Bone and marrow, thigh and hip, as it were. . . . This is both sublime now-verifiable astrophysical science, and softly lilting planetary poetry, to boot:

. . . .“Arrokoth is the most distant, most primitive and most pristine object ever explored by spacecraft, so we knew it would have a unique story to tell,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “It’s teaching us how planetesimals formed, and we believe the result marks a significant advance in understanding overall planetesimal and planet formation. . . .”

[The] analysis indicates that the lobes of this “contact binary” object were once separate bodies that formed close together and at low velocity, orbited each other, and then gently merged to create the 22-mile long object New Horizons observed. . . .

“Arrokoth looks the way it does not because it formed through violent collisions, but in more of an intricate dance, in which its component objects slowly orbited each other before coming together. . . .”

Once again we see that in astrophysical nature, as in the arc of human lives, all good things come together, mostly for the. . . patient ones among us. Grinning. . . . onward, to the saint’s day.


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