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~ NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft finally arrives at Pluto on Tuesday the 14th July 2015~

Noeleen Lowndes - July 12, 2015

 

It’s only 2 days now until humankind will be enlighten by the images and science taken from the New Horizons spacecraft that will fly by this enigmatic small world called Pluto.

The New Horizons spacecraft left Earth in January 2006 for a journey that has lasted over nine years to finally arrive on Tuesday the 14th July at 9.50pm (AEST).

This is going to be an amazing moment in history…to see what this planet (dwarf planet) really looks like that’s nearly 6 billion kilometres away from us. The DSN tracking station at Tidbinbilla in Australia will be tracking the spacecraft during the flyby, so Australia is playing a crucial role again in another space mission.

DSN Pluto encounter

In August 2006 the IAU demoted Pluto from being a fully-fledged member of the solar system to being a dwarf planet along with Ceres in the asteroid belt and numerous other bodies discovered beyond Pluto in an area known as the Kuiper belt.

Yes, it was a very controversial issue at the time and I would say still is…because before the classification NASA has already sent this robotic explorer off to discover exactly what this far orbiting body was really made of…these are indeed very exciting times, its been a long time since we’ve seen another new world in our solar system like this.

Pluto has been in the imagination of humans since its discovery by Claude Tombaugh who first discovered the rocky world in 1930. We all grew up with this little planet being known at the 9th planet in our solar system

Pluto has always held a fascination for children, I think because it was so far away from the Sun and very tiny they felt an affinity with it, plus they really loved its name…now we all know that a feeling like this is not what you call ‘real science’ but it seems quite remarkable to me that the first real close up image that’s been taken shows an incredible heart shape feature on the surface…now isn’t that quite extraordinary!

I HEART PLUTO

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/display.cfm?Category=Planets&IM_ID=20211

Soon we will see it with our own eyes, thanks to the continued vision from the people at NASA and all the scientists that truly believe in the exploration of the universe we live in…thank you NASA for your vision and sharing that knowledge with all humanity.

Please go to the websites below for more information and to witness live coverage of this wonderful event:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/plutotoolkit.cfm

http://www.cdscc.nasa.gov/

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/docs/New_Horizons_fact_sheet_2015.pdf

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/docs/Pluto_Encounter_NASA_Televised_Events_Plan.pdf

Stardust Kids_IMG_9236Stardust poster IMG_9256

The children from the Stardust Junior Astronomy Club on the Gold Coast got very excited about New Horizons spacecraft arriving at Pluto, so they did up a poster of drawings for the New Horizon team at NASA to put up on there wall…Noeleen Lowndes 🙂

General, NASA, SAS News |

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