In NASA first of two 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 discussed.
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 1-2 p.m. discussion were:
– John Grunsfeld, astronaut and Science Mission Directorate associate administrator, NASA Headquarters, Washington
– James Green, director of Planetary Science, NASA Headquarters
– Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado
– William McKinnon, New Horizons Co-Investigator, Washington University in St. Louis
– Cathy Olkin, New Horizons Deputy Project Scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado
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