The Adventures of Pluto and NASA

Artist’s impression of how the surface of Pluto might look, according to one of the two models that a team of astronomers has developed to account for the observed properties of Pluto’s atmosphere, as studied with CRIRES. The image shows patches of pure methane on the surface. At the distance of Pluto, the Sun appears about 1,000 times fainter than on Earth.

Woooo! Pluto, you crazy smug bastard of a Planet (or Dwarf planet…. but that’s not very PC).

We’ll see you soon.

NASA‘s satellite New Horizons is conducting a fly-by of Pluto, and with it; unlocking the secrets of the ice ball itself. Which is good considering that this program is about a decade old with some 3 Billion miles of space from Earth. It will not be too glorious and only last for a few moments considering that the satellite is traveling at Approx. 31,000 miles per hour.


Making Sonic The Hedgehog Obsolete.... Again
Making Sonic The Hedgehog Obsolete…. Again


Everyone should be watching this coverage as we’ll be waiting a loooong time for another broadcasted NASA mission in space.

Here is the full schedule of events as they are now: From

June 16, 23 and 30
11:30 a.m. — Mission Updates

Weekly pre-flyby updates on NASA TV will provide an overview of the New Horizons mission, the spacecraft and its suite of instruments, the July 14 flyby, and a summary of Pluto science to date.

July 7- 12
11:30 a.m. — Final approach to Pluto; live daily mission updates on NASA TV

July 12
1 – 5 p.m. — New Horizons Media Center opens at APL

July 13
11 a.m. – noon — Media briefing: Mission Status and What to Expect. (live on NASA TV)

2:30 – 5:30 p.m. — Panels: APL’s Endeavors in Space and the latest on New Horizons (no NASA TV coverage)

July 14
7:30 a.m. – Media Briefing: Arrival at Pluto, Inside the Pluto System and New Horizons’ Perilous Path (live on NASA TV)

At 7:49 a.m., the New Horizons spacecraft will make history as flies past Pluto, after a journey of more than nine years and 3 billion miles. For much of the day the New Horizons spacecraft will be out of communication with mission control as it gathers data on Pluto and its moons.

The moment of closest approach will be marked with a live NASA TV broadcast that includes a countdown, a discussion of images and data received thus far, and what’s expected next as New Horizons makes its way past Pluto and potentially dangerous debris. Follow the path of the spacecraft in real time with a visualization of the actual trajectory data, using NASA’s Eyes on Pluto.

9 a.m. – noon — Interview Opportunities (no NASA TV coverage)

Informal group briefings and availability for one-on-one interviews. An updated schedule will be posted in the New Horizons Media Center.

Noon – 3 p.m. – Panel Discussions (no NASA TV coverage)

  • New Horizons mission overview and history
  • Pluto system discoveries on approach
  • Mariner 4 and Pluto: 50 years to the day

8 – 9:15 p.m. — NASA TV program, Phone Home, broadcast from APL Mission Control

NASA TV will share the suspenseful moments of this historic event with the public and museums around the world. The New Horizons spacecraft will send a preprogrammed signal after the close approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal at about 9:02 p.m. When New Horizons “phones home,” there will be a celebration of its success and the anticipation of data to come over the days and months ahead.

9:15 – 10 p.m. — Media Briefing: New Horizons Health and Mission Status (live on NASA TV)

July 15
Noon – 3 p.m. — Interview Opportunities (no NASA TV coverage)

Informal group briefings and availability for one-on-one interviews. An updated schedule will be posted in the New Horizons Media Center.

TBD — Media Briefing: Seeing Pluto in a New Light (live on NASA TV)

Release of close-up images of Pluto’s surface and moons, along with initial science team reactions

New Horizons is the first mission to the Kuiper Belt, a gigantic zone of icy bodies and mysterious small objects orbiting beyond Neptune. This region also is known as the “third” zone of our solar system, beyond the inner rocky planets and outer gas giants.

APL designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.


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