We have learned again this week, with the fleeting passage of the New Horizons probe past Pluto, that nature is stranger than fiction, better really, with more surprises, plot twists, and interesting imagery than the most adept imaginations can conjure. The data is coming in slowly from Pluto, and we’ve received just a few images of the many yet to come. But here’s what we know from New Horizons so far… [Read more…] about Pluto: Stranger Than ExpectedShare This:
Just confirmed at 5:55 PDT… the New Horizons spacecraft is still operating after passing Pluto earlier today. Congratulations to the NASA team for a job well done! The craft is now outbound to the Kuiper Belt and beyond. Stay tuned for more data and images that are (hopefully) coming in from the craft which is 4.5 light-hours away!
— NASA New Horizons (@NASANewHorizons) July 15, 2015
With less than 6 days to go before New Horizons makes its closest approach to Pluto, the dwarf planet is proving to be an interesting little world. Just released by NASA this morning, this image of Pluto shows the regions of the planet that will be inspected in next week’s close flyby. The dark region along the equator, at bottom, has been dubbed ” the whale”. The lighter heart-shaped region at right is about 1,200 miles across. The polar region is in the upper part of the image.
The probe had a little trouble over the weekend when a software glitch caused the probe to go into safe mode and halt all science operations. But engineers have tidied up the problem and full operations have resumed on July 7. The closest flyby comes next week on July 14, 2015 at 11:50 UTC.Share This:
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft received a final “all clear” as it approaches Pluto at nearly 50,000 km/hr on its way to an historic flyby on July 14, 2015. Mission scientists have been using the spacecraft’s most powerful telescopic camera, the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), to look for potential hazards such as small moons, rings, or dust, since mid-May. But the path looks clear, and the craft will continue on its present course towards Pluto and its five moons.
New color images released July 1 show two very different faces of the dwarf planet. One side of the planet revealed a series of intriguing and evenly-spaced dark spots along the equator. Each spot is about 480 kilometers in diameter with a surface area roughly equal to that of Missouri [Read more…] about The Two Faces of PlutoShare This:
After more than nine years and 3 billion miles, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is closing in on the dwarf planet Pluto. On July 14, 2015, the craft will make the first close-up reconnaissance of Pluto and its five moons and take images and measurements of this distant and still mysterious world.
The National Space Society produced a video that puts the New Horizons mission in perspective, along with some superb animation.