New Horizons

Those poor objects stuck in size between asteroids and true planets.
Christopher K.
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New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » January 8th, 2011, 11:07 am

It's been a while since this spacecraft launched, but it's now over halfway to its target. It will arrive at the Pluto-Charon system in July 2015.

New Horizons lifted off on 19 January 2006 (back when Pluto was still classified as a planet) from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral on board an Atlas booster with Centaur upper stage. It weighed 478 kilograms at launch; 465 kilograms is the spacecraft itself. It has one radioisotope thermoelectric generator which uses heat generated by decay of plutonium and can produce a maximum of 240 watts. (These RTGs have been used safely on six Apollo flights, two Pioneer spacecraft, the Mars Viking landers, and the Voyager missions to the gas giants.)

During its Jupiter flyby in February 2007 New Horizons saw polar lightning and the creation of ammonia clouds.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh.

More information:
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newho ... index.html

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » June 12th, 2011, 11:54 pm

According to an article posted by New Horizons PI Alan Stern at NASA's Solar System Exploration site, the spacecraft is in the middle of a two-month wakeup which ends 1 July. Every payload will receive a check during this time. Later this month, members of the New Horizons team will go to Australia to record occultations of Pluto, Charon and maybe Hydra.

More information at:
http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/displa ... s_ID=37061

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » November 1st, 2011, 11:57 pm

I'm constantly getting chances to plug this mission, as the "Why did we demote Pluto?" inquiries have lessened but never ceased. So, ironically, even though New Horizons hasn't done much science, we mention it almost as much as we mention Cassini, Dawn and MESSENGER!

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » February 8th, 2012, 10:33 pm

New Horizons PI Alan Stern and his colleague Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute have started an online petition to ask the United States Postal Service to issue a stamp featuring the spacecraft.

Pluto itself was featured on a stamp in the 1990s bearing the wistful phrase "Not Yet Explored".

As of this posting the petition has 4061 signatures out of 100,000 requested. The deadline is 13 March.

More information:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/Sho ... 59409.html

The online petition:
http://www.change.org/petitions/usps-ho ... usps-stamp

Christopher K.
Posts: 4728
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » February 23rd, 2012, 4:51 pm

Stern's online petition has 6524 signatures as of this posting.

The members of the Stamp Advisory Committee are appointed by the Postmaster General. The Commitee has four two-day meetings annually, which may be why a 13 March deadline has been given for the petition.

More about the Committee, including current members and selection criteria:
http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/leader ... mittee.htm

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » September 13th, 2012, 9:37 am

New Horizons is doing fine. It is at this time closing on a distance from the Earth of 24AU--about 3.6 billion kilometers. Even though it has yet to arrive at Pluto, New Horizons made the list of the top fifty greatest instances of Solar System exploration, voted on by visitors to NASA's Solar System Exploration section.

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » January 2nd, 2014, 6:44 pm

New Horizons will be at Pluto in 557 Earth days. Meanwhile, the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins is taking comments from those following the mission. Good words are coming in not just from the U.S. but from Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

Some posts so far:
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/eForms/1000DaysResponses.php

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » August 25th, 2014, 10:30 am

At 12pm CDT today a one-hour panel discussion on New Horizons will take place at the Webb Auditorium in DC. The discussion is titled "Mirroring the Voyager Spacecraft Legacy".

The panel will include...
Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Division
Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology
Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator at the Southwest Research Institute

More information:
http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/august/n ... pacecraft/

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » October 2nd, 2014, 7:16 pm

Active Check-Out 8 (the final one before the encounter with Pluto) lasted from June to August and was successful. Pluto's small moon Hydra was first detected in July. New Horizons went into hibernation on 18 September; it will stay in this state until 6 December.

More information:
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPers ... 09_18_2014

Christopher K.
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Re: New Horizons

Post by Christopher K. » November 30th, 2014, 8:11 pm

New Horizons is coming out of hibernation for the final time! This Saturday at 2pm CST New Horizons will finish the last of its slumber (over 1800 cumulative days asleep), and get ready to start imaging the Plutonian system in January. The beginning of what so many have anticipated is "right around the corner".

More information:
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20141113.php

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