Pluto in Our Sights

Pluto and Charon imaged by New Horizons on July 8, 2015 from a distance of 3.7 million miles.

Pluto and Charon imaged by New Horizons on July 8, 2015 from a distance of 3.7 million miles.

Images Credit & Copyright: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

It’s been nearly ten years and more than three billion miles since New Horizons launched on January 19, 2006 on an ULA Atlas V-551 rocket from Cape Canaveral. Its mission is to reach the outer reaches of the solar system and give us our first ever detailed science and imagery of the trans-Neptunian dwarf planet Pluto in the Kuiper Belt aka; the solar system’s “Third Zone.”

Pluto's Heart, captured on July 8, 2015 from roughly 5 million mi. (8 million km) away.

Pluto’s Heart, captured on July 8, 2015 from roughly 5 million mi. (8 million km) away.

New Horizons image of Pluto, captured on July 3, 2015 from a distance of 7.8 million mi. (12.5 million km).

New Horizons image of Pluto, captured on July 3, 2015 from a distance of 7.8 million mi. (12.5 million km).

After giving us a scare via software glitch and subsequently placing itself in safe mode on Sunday, July 4, it seems that New Horizons is back on track for its close approach early on Tuesday, July 14.

Close approach will flyby just 7,750 mi. (12,500 km) from the surface of Pluto and a more distant 17,900 mi. (28,800 km) from Charon.

I’ve been watching this mission for years and it’s just amazing to me that we as a species and a nation (though many are involved) have finally reached our destination and will hopefully soon realize our mission to see and work with Pluto.

Mission Media:

NASA TV FlyBy Coverage (Tuesday, July 14): http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-announces-television-coverage-media-activities-for-pluto-flyby

New Horizons Main Mission Site: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/new.horizons1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASAnewhorizons

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/112289660627388606639/about

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/NASANewHorizons

Here’s a couple previous Pluto/New Horizons based articles I’ve weitten:

What Time is it? Pluto Time! https://danspace77.com/2015/06/09/what-time-is-it-pluto-time/

New Horizons Mission is Set to Begin: https://danspace77.com/2014/07/17/nasas-new-horizons-mission-set-to-begin/

Pluto, its Moons and the Dark Past of Names: https://danspace77.com/2013/07/13/as-plutos-newly-discovered-moons-receive-names-heres-a-history-lesson-on-their-dark-past/

Pluto and Charon images by New Horizons on July 1, 2015 from a distance of 10 million mi. (16 million km).

Pluto and Charon images by New Horizons on July 1, 2015 from a distance of 10 million mi. (16 million km).

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