The following video presents July 10th Daily Briefing for New Horizons/Pluto Mission Pre-Flyby:
July 10th daily pre-flyby overview of the New Horizons mission, the spacecraft and its suite of instruments and a summary of Pluto science to date from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, site of the mission operations center.
The science payload of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft includes the following cameras:
- Ralph: Visible and infrared imager/spectrometer; provides color, composition and thermal maps. A Multispectral Visible Imaging Color (MVIC) camera is the imager component of Ralph.
- Ralph consists of three panchromatic (black-and-white) and four color imagers inside its Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), as well as an infrared compositional mapping spectrometer called the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA). LEISA is an advanced, miniaturized short-wavelength infrared (1.25-2.50 micron) spectrometer provided by scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. MVIC operates over the bandpass from 0.4 to 0.95 microns. Ralph’s suite of eight detectors – seven charge-coupled devices (CCDs) like those found in a digital camera, and a single infrared array detector – are fed by a single, sensitive magnifying telescope with a resolution more than 10 times better than the human eye can see. The entire package operates on less than half the wattage of an appliance light bulb.
- Ralph will take images twice daily as New Horizons approaches, flies past and then looks back at the Pluto system. Ultimately, MVIC will map landforms in black-and-white and color with a best resolution of about 250 meters (820 feet) per pixel, take stereo images to determine surface topography, and help scientists refine the radii and orbits of Pluto and its moons. It will aid the search for clouds and hazes in Pluto’s atmosphere, and for rings and additional satellites around Pluto.It will also obtain images of Pluto’s night side, illuminated by “Charon-light.” At the same time, LEISA will map the amounts of nitrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, and frozen water and other materials, including organic compounds, across the sunlit surfaces of Pluto and its moons.
- It will also let scientists map surface temperatures across Pluto and Charon by sensing the spectral features of frozen nitrogen, water and carbon monoxide.
- LORRI: (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager) telescopic camera; obtains encounter data at long distances, maps Pluto’s farside and provides high resolution geologic data.
The following video presents Pluto in a Minute: How New Horizons Will See Pluto Without Knowing Where It Is :
What’s cool about Pluto? Get a quick peek at the latest science in this daily update from NASA’s New Horizons mission, on track for a flight past Pluto on July 14, 2015.
NASA New Horizons tweeted about three hours ago
I’m 2,476,621 miles from
#Pluto & snapping shots with my MVIC color cam at 49 miles per pixel resolution! #PlutoFlyby
After nine years and three billion miles of space travel, here is the latest Pluto portrait taken by New Horizons on July 10, 2015.
…Pluto is being revealed as an intriguing new world with distinct surface features, including an immense dark band known as the “whale.”
…“We’re close enough now that we’re just starting to see Pluto’s geology,” said New Horizons program scientist Curt Niebur, NASA Headquarters in Washington, who’s keenly interested in the gray area just above the whale’s “tail” feature. “It’s a unique transition region with a lot of dynamic processes interacting, which makes it of particular scientific interest.”
New Horizons’ latest image of Pluto was taken on July 9, 2015 from 3.3 million miles (5.4 million kilometers) away, with a resolution of 17 miles (27 kilometers) per pixel. At this range, Pluto is beginning to reveal the first signs of discrete geologic features. This image views the side of Pluto that always faces its largest moon, Charon, and includes the so-called “tail” of the dark whale-shaped feature along its equator. (The immense, bright feature shaped like a heart had rotated from view when this image was captured.)…
New Horizons is the fastest spacecraft launched from earth travelling at 36,000 mph (58,000 km/h).
The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune — billions of kilometers from our sun. Pluto and Eris are the best known of these icy worlds. There may be hundreds more of these ice dwarfs out there. The Kuiper Belt and even more distant Oort Cloud are believed to be the home of comets that orbit our sun.