Jul 14 2015
07:43 am


In just a few minutes, NASA's New Horizons probe will make its closest approach in a fly by mission to Pluto after traveling 9.5 years and more than three billion miles through the solar system.

NASA TV Live Coverage... (Alternate...)

NASA New Horizons Mission Page...

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Mission Page

R. Neal's picture

Some interesting stuff from

Some interesting stuff from the press conference (from memory, hopefully accurate).

They turned off everything except instruments (and navigation, I guess) for 12 hours or so so during the closest approach the probe could focus on collecting data. Sometime tomorrow they will start downloading high priority data from the fly by.

It will take 16 months to download all the data and images collected by the probe.

The connection speed ranges from 1000 bits per second to 4000 bits per second depending on orientation of the radio telescope. At 3 billion miles away, it takes 4.5 hours for signals to reach Earth.

The probe is expected to operate for 20 more years as it leaves the solar system.

R. Neal's picture

Oh, and one other thing I

Oh, and one other thing I forgot. Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute is an astro science geek rock star!

So is Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman

Min's picture

Greetings, Pluto.

We come in peace.

bizgrrl's picture

Can't wait to see the new

Can't wait to see the new pictures. What patience these scientists have.

R. Neal's picture

Cool trivia that I hadn't

Cool trivia that I hadn't thought about. The people of Earth have now sent probes to all of the known (and arguably former) planets in our solar system.

Mike Knapp's picture

Photo dump countdown site

Mike Knapp's picture

Great piece in NYT detailing Pluto photographic history

Jonathan Corum in the NYT, wonderful graphics
Images of Pluto From NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft

1930: PLUTO DISCOVERED Clyde W. Tombaugh, an amateur astronomer at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., noticed a small point of light moving across the background stars in these two images, which were taken six days apart. Mr. Tombaugh died in 1997, and the New Horizons spacecraft now carries a small portion of his ashes.

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