Question of the Day: Were Moons Nix and Hydra Adopted by Pluto and Charon?

The Pluto-Charon system. Image credit: NASA/HST

OK, here are two questions on everybody’s lips:
1) Could we be wiped out by an asteroid in the near future?
2) Are Pluto and Charon’s kids adopted?

Well, #1 has probably been asked a few times (most likely during crappy movies like Deep Impact), but #2? I’m hoping this is the first time it’s ever been asked… and it’s a very important question… well, kinda.

In todays round of articles for the Universe Today, I approached two interesting topics. The first is about asteroid Apophis, destined to fly past the Earth (damned close) in the year 2029, and the uncertainty in orbital data we have on the Near Earth Object. The Planetary Society has been running a competition to design a mission suited to being launched toward Apophis, orbit it, drop an interplanetary Lojack-style tracker onto it, and then follow the rock as it orbits the Sun. The very cool US “Foresight” design won the handsome sum of $25,000 to develop the plan for a possible launch in 2012… Spaceflight science hasn’t been this much fun since NASA’s washing machine-sized Deep Impact collision with Comet Temple 1 in 2005…

In a new exposé of cosmic celebrity couples, it turns out that Pluto and Charon’s kids, Nix and Hydra, are actually adopted! I know, I was shocked too. Since its expulsion from the Planetary Rotary Club, the demoted Pluto has been further insulted with the title of “Large Kuiper Belt Object”. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Pluto’s Nix and Hydra have just found out they’re adopted… For a more scientific view, I’d read the full article to see what the hell I’m talking about

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