Yesterday, we watched the Pluto flyby with New Horizons mission control via accurate-to-the-second visualisations and infographics. The results were glorious on the American Museum of Natural History's IMAX screen.
The New Horizons spacecraft is moving very, very fast:
She is a beauty — compact yet complex, with named parts:
What we're looking at, via io9: New Horizons is equipped with seven different instruments, including three optical instruments, two plasma instruments, a dust sensor and a radio science receiver/radiometer:
- LORRI: Long-range and high-resolution visible mapping
- SWAP: Solar wind
- PEPSSI: Energetic particle spectronomy
- Alice: Ultraviolet imaging spectroscopy
- Ralph: Visible mapping, infrared spectroscopic mapping
- SDC: Student-built dust counter
- Rex: Radio science and radiometry
Recent days have taught us much we did not know:
Our continuing mission:
This stamp is now totally a collector's item and full of lies:
Oh, you beautiful, shiny space beast:
That's no moon!!!
New Horizons is three billion light years from home and has taken 9 1/2 years to arrive. Getting her there is like "threading a needle from New York to LA"
Nitrogen, methane, carbon monoxide and more for everyone!
At this point the scientists were getting verklempt: "This is a post-human planetary encounter."
There she is:
You can download the "OpenSpace" software utilised here in its pre-alpha release in binary form:
Its purpose is to "digitise the universe", and in the future it will also be at work on space weather projects. Space weather. What a time to be alive.