Tag Archives: Pluto

New Horizons: first visit to Pluto

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Hope to be around to see the pictures when the New Horizons robot reaches Pluto in 2015. Course, some insist it should still be regarded as a planet.

The crowded sky

It was lonely out there in the black when Sputnik started beeping away fifty years ago today. Now it’s so crowded that a Sputnik-like robot on a 9-year trip to Pluto has to imitate its ancestor’s speech just to get through the radio traffic.

Tintypes from Jupiter

New shots of Jupiter and its moons, from a passing NASA spacecraft on the way to Pluto, are pretty enough but raise the question of why all but a few are in black-and-white? No explanation I can find on the NASA sites. Maybe it’s because it will be so dark at Pluto, so far from the sun, that there’s no point in trying for color?

"New Horizons came within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter on Feb. 28 in a gravity assist maneuver designed to trim three years off its travel time to Pluto. For several weeks before and after this closest approach, the piano-sized robotic probe trained its seven cameras and sensors on Jupiter and its four largest moons, storing data from nearly 700 observations on its digital recorders and gradually sending that information back to Earth." 

Today’s pretty picture

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Hubble’s snapshot from back in February, when it discovered two new moons of Pluto, from Hubble’s 100 greatest hits./NASA