NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft: Getting to Pluto

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In NASA’a second televised briefings on Tuesday, April 14, plans and upcoming activities about the agency’s mission to Pluto that will make the first-ever close flyby of the dwarf planet on July 14 were briefed.

Briefers described the mission’s goals and context, scientific objectives and encounter plans – including what images can be expected and when.

New Horizons already has covered more than 3 billion miles since it launched on Jan. 19, 2006. The spacecraft will pass Pluto at a speed of 31,000 mph taking thousands of images and making a wide range of science observations. At a distance of nearly 4 billion miles from Earth at flyby, it will take approximately 4.5 hours for data to reach Earth.

Participants for the 2:20-3:30 p.m. discussion were:

– James Green, director of Planetary Science, NASA Headquarters
– Glen Fountain, New Horizons Project Manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
– Hal Weaver, New Horizons Project Scientist, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
– Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado

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