I noticed that NASA’s New Horizon’s space probe is getting closer to Pluto and should pass by on July 14 of this year. The mission to Pluto began when New Horizons launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 19, 2006. It’s the fastest spacecraft ever launched, traveling at a speed of nearly 60,000 km/h, and will cover a distance of more than three billion miles.
In addition to its mission to the Pluto system, New Horizons will also get a close-up look at the Kuiper Belt- a mysterious region of space that includes some “icy mini-worlds” and asteroids.
Scientists wish to study Pluto’s atmosphere, icy surface, interior makeup, geological structures, and the solar wind. They also want to have a better understanding of where Pluto and it moons stand in relation to the other planets and their moons.
And even though part of the mission is meant to provide an evolutionary story, I’m looking forward to seeing some great images and learning more about this one-time planet. One of the images I’ve enjoyed so far is watching Pluto’s moon Charon orbit. I’ve never seen a moon orbit a planet before, and it’s pretty cool. It’s kind of like a person spinning around with a bowling bowl in a sling. Take a look here.
There will also be television and social media coverage. Take a look here for the schedule.