If you didn't know, the New Horizons mission which was launched more than nine years ago has some very exciting stuff happening in the next week or so: the long awaited Pluto fly by!
As New Horizons gets closer and closer to the dwarf (sorry, Pluto...) planet, this image has been sent ahead with early data that was collected. Analyzing the coloration patterns and other data collected, we've got this image. Yes, I know it's incredibly blurry, but this isn't Hubble taking the photos, and we're still pretty far out from it.
Either way, how cool is this?!
Pluto has a heart!
New Horizons has already taught us so much we didn't know before the mission launched. You can learn a bit more about the mission in this card I wrote before, but all you really need to know:
- It's currently traveling at about 14 km/s, on course to pass within within 12,500km of Pluto (so close the camera won't be able to capture the whole planet in one frame) - New Horizons schedule (in GMT time): July 14th at 1449 - closest approach. July 15th at 0302 - cool pictures and live coverage on NASA TV (It will take that much time for the data to reach NASA and then be transmitted) - How does it move? I don't really know, but a non-engineer but someone who knows an awful lot about New Horizons offered this TLDR: Giant rocket launched a tiny spacecraft on top, shooting through space with no wind resistance/friction, using the other planets to "slingshot", and the only thing to slow it down is gravity.
For more, follow in these places:
- NASA TV
- Also, a really great comprehensive post re: everything New Horizons