NASA's New Horizons probe is set to fly-by Pluto in just a few hours, and NASA is sharing it with the world in an amazing live stream. Here's how to watch the coverage live.
It has taken over nine years for New Horizon to reach Pluto, and we're just a few hours from the probe launching its long-awaited mission to survey the planet.
It's the last of the planets/dwarf planets in our Solar System and we're looking forward to learning much more about it. Just today on our approach to the planet, NASA has discovered that its' red like Mars as opposed to blue, it's larger than we ever thought it was and it has a slew of moons.
NASA will be live-streaming its New Horizons coverage on the UStream channel below from 9:30pm AEST. NASA will hold a briefing on the mission for an hour, starting at 10pm AEST.
Of course, we don't have any telescopes that can see that far, so no live streams of Pluto will appear on that feed.
As far as timing for the probe goes, it takes a hell of a long time for images to get back to Earth from the New Horizons probe analysing Pluto: 4.5 hours, in fact. The probe is also incredibly busy sending data back to Earth when it flies by the ice dwarf planet at 9:49pm AEST, which means that scientists back on Earth won't get a thumbs-up message that the fly-by occurred without incident until tomorrow morning (AEST). NASA will hold a press conference to talk about the success of the mission at 10:30am AEST tomorrow (Wednesday).
The first place to procure the images will be the CSIRO’s Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Just like the 1969 Moon Landing, once again Australia is a at the forefront historic space exploration.
Like the Parkes Observatory before it, the CDSCC is one of only three tracking stations on our Earth capable of participating in the mission. The CDSCC’s specific technology and personnel make it one of the only stations that has the ability to provide the vital two-way radio contact with the probe at such a long way from Earth.
At its 5 billion kilometre-distance from Earth, the weak radio signals from New Horizons take approximately four and half hours to reach home. Fortunately, thanks to the high sensitivity of the CDSCC’s dish, we should have no problem receiving clear and detailed images of Pluto.