Scientists involved with NASA’s New Horizons mission showed off the latest analysis of data collected during the spacecraft’s flyby of Pluto in July, despite “organizational confusion” at the event that mistakenly prevented attendees from initially sharing the results with the public.
New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern is already contemplating a follow-on mission: A Charon lander that could study the surface Pluto’s largest moon while remotely observing the dwarf planet as an orbiter would.
The first set of images and other data collected by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its July 14 flyby of Pluto, returned to Earth July 15, are already causing project scientists to reassess their understanding of the dwarf planet and its moons.
While New Horizons passed by Pluto this morning, the science team, and the rest of the world, now have to wait the rest of the day to hear back from the spacecraft to find out how well it carried out its flyby.
Eighty-five years after being discovered by an astronomer named Clyde, a camera called Ralph is about to bring Pluto into sharp focus.
A software developer that specializes in astrophysics simulations is hoping to rally support for science and space exploration with its free mobile app, Pluto Safari, which tracks the New Horizons spacecraft as it zooms ever closer the distant dwarf planet.
For Alan Stern, the wait is almost over. On July 14, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, after a journey spanning nearly a decade, will fly past Pluto at 50,000 kilometers per hour, becoming the first spacecraft to make a close approach to this distant world that, for three-quarters of a century, was classified as the ninth planet.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft suffered an anomaly July 4 that put the spacecraft into a protective safe mode less than ten days before its flyby of Pluto, but project scientists are confident the spacecraft will resume normal operations within a few days.