Reddit had a wonderful treat yesterday in the form of an AMA with NASA's New Horizons team.
The session covered a lot of hard-hitting science, kids TV programmes and the next generation whilst also touching on the simple wonder of what the mission means for mankind.
Here are the best moments:
One Reddit user, simple_torture, asked: "my first daughter is being born in September, and I'm wondering what you think the first mission will be that will give her the same sense of wonder? What's coming down the pipe in the next 15-20 years or so?"
Curt Niebur, NASA Program Scientist almost appeared to peer into the little girl's future by telling the parent to take her to the launch in eight years so that she could watch data come in once she was a teenager.
When the conversation seemed to turn to the not-so-scientific topic of a popular kids programme, the team were equally honest and forthcoming with their answers:
One user also wanted to know whether the colour of New Horizons' stunning images have been exaggerated:
Kelsi Singer, a Post-Doc on the team replied:
"Yes, we tried to get it as close to real color as possible :). We combine the wavelengths that we have and translate it into what the human eye would see."
Ever adept at gleaning information, Reddit wondered if New Horizons would discover any new moons and again, the enthusiasm for this landmark achievement, appeared to be shared by the next generation.
Others asked some of the more obvious but important questions including what was the most exciting discovery made on the expedition so far, to which Curt had the best answer:
"This is a hard question to answer because it changes every couple of hours. You can't pick your favorite Christmas present until you are done opening the presents, and we won't be done with that until all the data is downlinked in 16 months. Longest. Christmas. Ever."
Then there was that amazing heart we all fell in love with and as it turns out, the experts were just as excited as we were -- a comforting thought since everyone, including Tinder went crazy for that spectacular show of love.
As expected the community was also very curious about what Pluto is actually like:
Buried further down in the thread were a few gems of maths and science as well as a fascinating insight into how the team analyse the data:
Perhaps the most telling question in the whole AMA was one that highlighted why the expedition should make us grateful for what we have on earth.
Mmmakingsense asked: "How has this mission made you feel in terms of your place in the universe?"
The answer definitely provides food for thought.Suggest a correction