NASASpaceFlight.com Forum

Robotic Spacecraft (Astronomy, Planetary, Earth, Solar/Heliophysics) => Space Science Coverage => Topic started by: jacqmans on 09/06/2006 10:49 PM

Title: New Horizons updates
Post by: jacqmans on 09/06/2006 10:49 PM
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php

The PI's Perspective
Unabashedly Onward to the Ninth Planet
Alan Stern
September 6, 2006

New Horizons continues on course and in good health. In a couple of
weeks, I'll update you on a wide range of mission news items. But I
want to devote this "PI Perspective" to a different topic: Pluto's
planethood.

Last month, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) held its first
general assembly since 2003. The meeting was in Prague, and about a
quarter of the IAU's 10,000 members attended. At the end of the
meeting, on Aug. 24, a session was held to vote on proposals to define the word
"planet." Just over 400 astronomers attended that session and voted.
Although I am an IAU member, I could not attend the meeting because my
oldest daughter was starting her freshman year of college during the
week of Aug. 20 back in the States.

The discovery of large numbers of dwarf planets orbiting far from the
Sun may be the most exciting and revolutionary discovery in
understanding the architecture and content of our home planetary system
since it was realized that the Sun is at the solar system's center.
(Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild [STScI])

The now widely known result of the final IAU session was a planet
definition
<http://www.iau2006.org/mirror/www.iau.org/iau0603/index.html> that has
created a pubic and professional uproar unlike anything I can ever
remember resulting from IAU resolutions (after all, they are usually
about dry subjects like how to designate comets or the utility of leap
seconds).

The IAU's planet definition ejects Pluto and the other dwarf planets of
the solar system from the list of worlds that the IAU considers to be
planets - this despite the IAU confusingly adopting the term "dwarf
planet" for these worlds. Linguists, scientists and the lay public have
barraged the media and the IAU with complaints about numerous aspects
of
the IAU planet definition. I have been involved in the debate. My
conclusion is that the IAU definition is not only unworkable and
unteachable, but so scientifically flawed and internally contradictory
that it cannot be strongly defended against claims of scientific
sloppiness, "ir-rigor," and cogent classification.

The New Horizons project, like a growing number of the public, and many
hundreds if now thousands of professional research astronomers and
planetary scientists, will not recognize the IAU's planet definition
resolution of Aug. 24, 2006.

As the leader of New Horizons, I believe this is the right course for
us
to take, for a number of reasons. One is that the IAU definition is too
controversial. Another is that it is losing, rather than gaining,
support, and is likely to be largely irrelevant in the long term. A
third is, despite the fact that the IAU has put its reputation behind
such words, we should not support a technically and linguistically
flawed planet definition: doing so would only further the damage to
astronomy already done by this definition.

So on this Web site and in documents, discussions and other aspects of
the New Horizons mission, we will continue to refer to Pluto as the
ninth planet. I think most of you will agree with that decision and
cheer us on.

I'll close this PI Perspective now with a very brief editorial
statement
on this matter: One of the aspects of science that is most exciting to
me personally is its adaptability to new facts, even if they dictate
paradigm shifts that dethrone comfortable old perceptions. The dawning
realization that our solar system contains vast numbers of dwarf
planets, which outnumber their larger cousins like the four terrestrial
planets and the four giant planets, is a dramatic demonstration of just
such a paradigm-shifting discovery.

Some IAU astronomers are challenged by the implications of this recent
realization, which portends that the Earth is more a misfit object in
the solar system than is Pluto, and that dwarf planets, like dwarf
stars
and dwarf galaxies, are the most representative members of their
astronomical genus.

Some other IAU astronomers are challenged by the notion that the list
of
planets, like the lists of stars, states, rivers, galaxies and mountain
ranges, will be too long to easily memorize.

I'm not bothered by either of these concerns, but I am disappointed to
find scientists afraid of changes in dogma when they are presented with
new facts. Of course, some of my colleagues would say I haven't
adjusted
to the fact that Pluto and other dwarf worlds of the deep outer solar
system orbit in a swarm, making them something else other than a
planet.
Well, to my mind, planets (like stars and galaxies, I note) are what
they are, independent of what they orbit near. As I've said before in
print, were location and context valid in biology the way that some
want
it to matter in planet definitions, a cowboy would become a cow when he
herds his cattle.

What is not controversial is that the subject of planet definition
remains one of debate. Textbooks and teachers are going to have to
recognize that the astronomical community is still adjusting to new
facts and no final consensus is yet available.

As I have said to the daughter we put in college last week many times,
as you grow up, you realize more and more that life isn't all black and
white, but endless shades of gray; it's complicated, and there's no
getting around the fact that you just have to get over the untidiness
of
the real world and move on.

I believe that planetary science is just now grappling with just such a
realization that our tidier youth, before the discovery of extra-solar
planets and Kuiper Belt dwarfs, never belied.

If you want to read more about my own thoughts on planet definition and
the dawning realization of the dominance of dwarf planets, just check
out an article I wrote last year:
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/450/1.

That's all for now; so until next time, keep exploring!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Mark Dave on 09/07/2006 12:57 AM
Very Cool and well said about this subject. Yeah, the IAU doesn't seem a good source to get information from given this latest statemtnt by them. Also as they can't make up their minds, I wouldn't trust them either.

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/07/2006 01:37 AM
O.K.  Let me get this straight.  If the New Horizons PI says that he rejects the IAU definition of "planet", does this mean that NASA* is in agreement that Pluto is still the "ninth planet"?  

I can't believe that one of the most scientifically-oriented arms of the U.S. government would all but succeed from the world of international astronomy to cook up its own definition of the solar system.  Will the U.S. now invent its own new names for the "planets", etc.?

Disappointing.    

 - Ed Kyle

* NASA, the National Air and Space Administration of the United States of America.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rumble on 09/07/2006 01:51 AM
So because a group has the label "international" in their name says their decision shouldn't be questioned?  Why isn't this as simple as saying that Pluto is "Grandfathered" in?

The whole "is it or isn't it" argument seems like a roomfull of people with too much spare time, sitting around cooking up a new description for Pluto.  Pluto is the 9th planet.  Easy.

I understand the need to come up with some sort of coherent definition of what a planet is, or eventually every rock or gas ball with its primary orbit being about the sun will be called a planet.

But DANG...  Pluto is a planet if for no other reason than that's what we've been calling it for years.  I'm ok if it gets an asterisk by its name.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Jim on 09/07/2006 01:59 AM
He is only "a" PI for "a" mission.  He doesn't dictate policy.  He was only expressing his views.  Official NASA press releases could be different
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/07/2006 02:00 AM
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), which was founded in 1919 (40 years before NASA, BTW), "serves as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and any surface features on them".

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/07/2006 02:02 AM
Well, he seems to be speaking for the entire project, not just for himself, when he writes:

"The New Horizons project, like a growing number of the public, and many hundreds if now thousands of professional research astronomers and planetary scientists, will not recognize the IAU's planet definition resolution of Aug. 24, 2006."

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rdale on 09/07/2006 02:13 AM
I'm not sure I understand... Are you saying he is NOT allowed to have an opinion on the matter because he works for NASA?

You might check any space-related website, he is not the only one questioning the IAU decision.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Jim on 09/07/2006 02:18 AM
Quote
edkyle99 - 6/9/2006  9:49 PM

Well, he seems to be speaking for the entire project, not just for himself, when he writes:

"The New Horizons project, like a growing number of the public, and many hundreds if now thousands of professional research astronomers and planetary scientists, will not recognize the IAU's planet definition resolution of Aug. 24, 2006."

 - Ed Kyle

He may speak as a project lead but not as a NASA mission lead
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 09/07/2006 02:56 AM
I like this definition "the four terrestrial planets and the four giant planets" and the four minor planets Pluto, Charon, Ceres, and Vesta.

Oh, yeah, and all those outer dwarfs.  :)

Easy to teach too.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rumble on 09/07/2006 04:06 AM
Quote
edkyle99 - 6/9/2006  8:47 PM

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), which was founded in 1919 (40 years before NASA, BTW), "serves as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and any surface features on them".

 - Ed Kyle
So who first tagged Pluto as a planet?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/07/2006 04:34 AM
Quote
rdale - 6/9/2006  9:00 PM

I'm not sure I understand... Are you saying he is NOT allowed to have an opinion on the matter because he works for NASA?

You might check any space-related website, he is not the only one questioning the IAU decision.

He has a right to express his opinion as the Executive Director of the Department of Space Studies of the Southwest Research Institute, and even as the contracted Principal Investigator of the Pluto New Horizons project, but I question whether he should state that "The New Horizons *project* .... will not recognize the IAU's planet definition resolution of Aug. 24, 2006".  Is it *his* right to speak in this way for the entire project.  Isn't it NASA's project?  

As for the IAU's decision, it *is* the internationally-recognized definition of "planet" whether Alan Stern likes it or not.    According to the IAU, "The eight planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune".  

Period.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rdale on 09/07/2006 04:40 AM
"Is it *his* right to speak in this way for the entire project."

I'm going to go out on a limb and say: All of the NH project members consider Pluto a planet.

I'm going to go even further out and say: Nobody in the 'real world' cares what the NH project or its leader think about anything in life. Only us space-nerds even know what NH is, let alone read status reports on it.

"As for the IAU's decision"

I'd suggest perusing some space websites, it's clear that the IAU decision is far from finished.

 - Rob
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/07/2006 04:59 AM
Quote
rdale - 6/9/2006  11:27 PM

I'd suggest perusing some space websites, it's clear that the IAU decision is far from finished.

 - Rob


Like this one from NASA?  It includes this FAQ gem.

"Q. Is Pluto a planet?
A. No ...."

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/planetaryfaq.html#Pluto

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rdale on 09/07/2006 11:35 AM
"Like this one from NASA?"

No, I'm saying ones where people discuss things. Like a forum. Kind of like this website. But focused on astrononomy. Shouldn't be too hard for you to find one. And then you'll know what we are all talking about.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Spiff on 09/07/2006 12:56 PM
Compare:
www.nineplanets.org
www.eightplanets.org
;)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/07/2006 04:43 PM
Quote
rdale - 7/9/2006  6:22 AM

"Like this one from NASA?"

No, I'm saying ones where people discuss things. Like a forum. Kind of like this website. But focused on astrononomy. Shouldn't be too hard for you to find one. And then you'll know what we are all talking about.

I know exactly what you, the general public, every populist armchair astronomer, and lots of other folks are talking about.  I also know that it is just talk that will not result in any near-term changes, and may not result in any changes.  The next IAU general assembly is in 2009.  Until then, at least, there are eight planets (except within the halls of the Pluto New Horizons project offices).  That gives everyone three years to accept the change.  I doubt very much that the IAU will change its mind in 2009, other than perhaps to tweak the resolution wording.  

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rdale on 09/07/2006 04:53 PM
"Until then, at least, there are eight planets (except within the halls of the Pluto New Horizons project offices)."

Again - close your eyes and cover your ears and you can stick to the theory that only the NH PI feels this way. I think you'll be very surprised when we have 9 planets before 2008 even...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: dmc6960 on 09/07/2006 06:57 PM
In the September 1st update where the first LORRI picture was released, it said that it was going to be taking its first photographs of Jupiter on the 4th of September.  Well its now the 7th and no photo (at least public) yet.  Any ideas if it was ever taken, simply not released, or not interesting enough to release (perhaps still to far away to be more than a dot or small circle?)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Wisi on 10/09/2006 08:47 PM
Images are now public (have been already for a while now...) Images taken September 4, released September 26.  In my eyes not too spectacular images, but the probe is still pretty far away from the planet. According to http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/092606.html scientist are satisfied with the LORRI-images.

Bye the way, today it's 3200 days until pluto closest approach!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MKremer on 10/09/2006 09:12 PM
Considering how far away Jupiter was, those LORRI images are virtually an order of magnitude better than what Cassini took at less than half that distance with its main camera.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 03/01/2007 04:21 PM
Hubble Monitors Jupiter in Support of the New Horizons Flyby
 

 NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has recently taken images of Jupiter in support of the New Horizons Mission. The images were taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys. Hubble will continue to photograph Jupiter, as well as its volcanically active moon, Io, over the next month as the New Horizons spacecraft flies past Jupiter. New Horizons is en route to Pluto, and made its closest approach to Jupiter on February 28, 2007. Through combined remote imaging by Hubble and in situ measurements by New Horizons, the two missions will enhance each other scientifically, allowing scientists to learn more about the Jovian atmosphere, the aurorae, and the charged-particle environment of Jupiter and its interaction with the solar wind.

See the full release:
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2007/11/


 
 
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 03/01/2007 04:22 PM
RELEASE: 07-55

NASA SPACECRAFT GETS BOOST FROM JUPITER FOR PLUTO ENCOUNTER

LAUREL, Md. - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft successfully completed a
flyby of Jupiter early this morning, using the massive planet's
gravity to pick up speed for its 3-billion mile voyage to Pluto and
the unexplored Kuiper Belt region beyond.

"We're on our way to Pluto," said New Horizons Mission Operations
Manager Alice Bowman of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md. "The swingby was a success; the
spacecraft is on course and performed just as we expected."

New Horizons came within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter at 12:43 a.m.
EST, placing the spacecraft on target to reach the Pluto system in
July 2015. During closest approach, the spacecraft could not
communicate with Earth, but gathered science data on the giant
planet, its moons and atmosphere.

At 11:55 a.m. EST mission operators at APL established contact
through
NASA's Deep Space Network and confirmed New Horizons' health and
status.

The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons is gaining nearly
9,000 mph from Jupiter's gravity - accelerating to more than 52,000
mph. The spacecraft has covered approximately 500 million miles since
its launch in January 2006 and reached Jupiter faster than seven
previous spacecraft to visit the solar system's largest planet. New
Horizons raced through a target just 500 miles across, the equivalent
of a skeet shooter in Washington hitting a target in Baltimore on the
first try.

New Horizons has been running through an intense six-month long
systems check that will include more than 700 science observations of
the Jupiter system by the end of June. More than half of those
observations are taking place this week, including scans of Jupiter's
turbulent atmosphere, measurements of its magnetic cocoon, surveys of
its delicate rings, maps of the composition and topography of the
large moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, and a detailed look at
volcanic activity on Io.

"We designed the entire Jupiter encounter to be a tough test for the
mission team and our spacecraft, and we're passing the test," says
New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern from the Southwest
Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. "We're not only learning what we
can expect from the spacecraft when we visit Pluto in eight years,
we're already getting some stunning science results at Jupiter - and
there's more to come."

While much of the close-in science data will be sent back to Earth
during the coming weeks, the team also downloaded a sampling of
images to verify New Horizons' performance.

The outbound leg of New Horizons' journey includes the first-ever
trip
down the long "tail" of Jupiter's magnetosphere, a wide stream of
charged particles that extends more than 100 million miles beyond the
planet. Amateur backyard telescopes, the giant Keck telescope in
Hawaii, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory
and other ground and space-based telescopes are turning to Jupiter as
New Horizons flies by, ready to provide global context to the
close-up data New Horizons gathers.

New Horizons is the first mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program of
medium-class spacecraft exploration projects. The Applied Physics
Laboratory, Laurel, Md., manages the mission for NASA's Science
Mission Directorate, Washington. The mission team also includes
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the U.S. Department of
Energy, Washington; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.; and
several corporations and university partners.

For the latest news and images from the New Horizons mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 03/01/2007 04:23 PM
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/022807_1.html

[Ganymede Image]

This is New Horizons' best image of Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon,
taken with the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI)
camera at 10:01 Universal Time on February 27 from a range of 3.5
million kilometers (2.2 million miles). The longitude of the disk
center is 38 degrees West and the image scale is 17 kilometers
(11 miles) per pixel. Dark patches of ancient terrain are broken
up by swaths of brighter, younger material, and the entire icy
surface is peppered by more recent impact craters that have
splashed fresh, bright ice across the surface.

With a diameter of 5,268 kilometers (3.273 miles), Ganymede is
the largest satellite in the solar system.

This is one of a handful of Jupiter system images already returned
by New Horizons during its close approach to Jupiter. Most of
the data being gathered by the spacecraft are stored onboard and
will be downlinked to Earth during March and April 2007.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/
Southwest Research Institute
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: eeergo on 03/12/2007 12:05 PM

Fantastic new movie made by New Horizons data, showing the giant planet rotating:

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0703/jupiterspin_newhorizons.mpg

Also, for news about the findings by NH in the Jupiter flyby (Stern's said periodic releases are expected frequently for the next 2-3 months) at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php. Among them, this nice photo of Jupiter's rings: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/030907.html

They're being a bit slow posting updates lately, and the released images resolution is quite crappy, but maybe it's because they've got so much data to analyse.

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Danderman on 03/13/2007 07:07 PM
How does the NH data compare with the Galileo data provided over many years by that spacecraft?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rdale on 03/13/2007 07:18 PM
That's a pretty wide-open question, anything more specific?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Danderman on 03/13/2007 10:58 PM
Quote
rdale - 13/3/2007  1:18 PM

That's a pretty wide-open question, anything more specific?

What instruments on NH are different than on Galileo (or offer better data)?

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Kayla on 03/17/2007 12:14 PM
New Horizons is just starting to show the incredible return that these robotic missions can provide for reasonable investments, ~$700M in the case of NH.  Spirit & Discovery are 2 additional recent prime examples.  In the next few years LRO/LCROS, MSL, SDO and JUNO will continue demonstrating what a bonanza of science, information and ongoing popular appeal these medium cost robotic missions can provide.  Sadly, NASA has scrapped the center piece of the robotic lunar exploration, LPRP (Lunar Precursor Robotic Program), due to funding short falls in the ARES/ORION program.  LPRP would have truly set the stage for returning people to the moon to work.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Jim on 03/17/2007 12:50 PM
Quote
Danderman - 13/3/2007  7:58 AM

Quote
rdale - 13/3/2007  1:18 PM

That's a pretty wide-open question, anything more specific?

What instruments on NH are different than on Galileo (or offer better data)?


All are different, can't really compare them.  One is an orbiter and the other is a flyby spacecraft
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Antares on 03/17/2007 03:17 PM
Quote
Kayla - 17/3/2007  9:14 AM
Sadly, NASA has scrapped the center piece of the robotic lunar exploration, LPRP (Lunar Precursor Robotic Program), due to funding short falls in the ARES/ORION program.  LPRP would have truly set the stage for returning people to the moon to work.
There's a silver lining to this.  Hopefully when LPRP comes back it will reappear at a Science Center (ARC preferably, GSFC or JPL).  It was only moved to MSFC, whose program management skill is iffy, because of Senator Shelby.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 04/25/2007 04:55 PM
MEDIA ADVISORY: M07-41

NASA SCIENCE UPDATE TO DISCUSS NEW DATA FROM JUPITER FLYBY

WASHINGTON - A NASA Science Update at 1 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 1, will
discuss new views of the Jupiter system. The Pluto-bound New Horizons
spacecraft is returning these images as it flies past the solar
system's largest planet during the initial stages of a planned
six-month encounter. The update will take place in the NASA
Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St., S.W., Washington. The update
will air live on NASA Television and be streamed at www.nasa.gov.

New Horizons is using Jupiter's gravity to boost its speed toward the
outer solar system while training its cameras and sensors on the
giant planet and its moons.

Briefing participants are:
-- Alan Stern, NASA associate administrator, Science Mission
Directorate, and New Horizons principal investigator, Headquarters,
Washington
-- Jeff Moore, New Horizons Jupiter Encounter Science Team lead, Ames
Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
-- John Spencer, New Horizons Jupiter Encounter Science Team deputy
lead, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.
-- Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist, Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.

Reporters at participating NASA centers will be able to ask questions.
For more information about NASA TV, streaming video, downlink and
schedule information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Argosy on 04/26/2007 11:47 AM
Are there any indications of the so-called Pioneer effect/anomally? I remember, I may be wrong, that it all started around Saturn on the Pioneers?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Jim on 04/26/2007 11:55 AM
Quote
Argosy - 26/4/2007  7:47 AM

Are there any indications of the so-called Pioneer effect/anomally? I remember, I may be wrong, that it all started around Saturn on the Pioneers?

That was much further out of the solar system
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 05/01/2007 07:24 PM
RELEASE: 07-95

PLUTO-BOUND NEW HORIZONS PROVIDES NEW LOOK AT JUPITER SYSTEM

WASHINGTON - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has provided new data on
the Jupiter system, stunning scientists with never-before-seen
perspectives of the giant planet's atmosphere, rings, moons and
magnetosphere.

These new views include the closest look yet at the Earth-sized
"Little Red Spot" storm churning materials through Jupiter's cloud
tops; detailed images of small satellites herding dust and boulders
through Jupiter's faint rings; and of volcanic eruptions and circular
grooves on the planet's largest moons.

New Horizons came to within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter on Feb. 28,
using the planet's gravity to trim three years from its travel time
to Pluto. For several weeks before and after this closest approach,
the piano-sized robotic probe trained its seven cameras and sensors
on Jupiter and its four largest moons, storing data from nearly 700
observations on its digital recorders and gradually sending that
information back to Earth. About 70 percent of the expected 34
gigabits of data has come back so far, radioed to NASA's largest
antennas over more than 600 million miles. This activity confirmed
the successful testing of the instruments and operating software the
spacecraft will use at Pluto.

"Aside from setting up our 2015 arrival at Pluto, the Jupiter flyby
was a stress test of our spacecraft and team, and both passed with
very high marks," said Science Mission Directorate Associate
Administrator and New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern,
NASA Headquarters, Washington. "We'll be analyzing this data for
months to come; we have collected spectacular scientific products as
well as evocative images."

Images include the first close-up scans of the Little Red Spot,
Jupiter's second-largest storm, which formed when three smaller
storms merged during the past decade. The storm, about half the size
of Jupiter's larger Great Red Spot and about 70 percent of Earth's
diameter, began turning red about a year before New Horizons flew
past it. Scientists will search for clues about how these systems
form and why they change colors in their close observations of
materials spinning within and around the nascent storm.

"This is our best look ever of a storm like this in its infancy," said
Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist from the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md. APL built
and operates the New Horizons spacecraft. "Combined with data from
telescopes on and around Earth taken at the same time New Horizons
sped past Jupiter, we're getting an incredible look at the dynamics
of weather on giant planets."

Under a range of lighting and viewing angles, New Horizons also
grabbed the clearest images ever of the tenuous Jovian ring system.
In them, scientists spotted a series of unexpected arcs and clumps of
dust, indicative of a recent impact into the ring by a small object.
Movies made from New Horizons images also provide an unprecedented
look at ring dynamics, with the tiny inner moons Metis and Adrastea
appearing to shepherd the materials around the rings.

"We're starting to see that rings can evolve rapidly, with changes
detectable during weeks and months," said Jeff Moore, New Horizons
Jupiter Encounter science team lead from NASA Ames Research Center,
Moffett Field, Calif. "We've seen similar phenomena in the rings of
Saturn."

Of Jupiter's four largest moons, the team focused much attention on
volcanic Io, the most geologically active body in the solar system.
New Horizons' cameras captured pockets of bright, glowing lava
scattered across the surface; dozens of small, glowing spots of gas;
and several fortuitous views of a sunlit umbrella-shaped dust plume
rising 200 miles into space from the volcano Tvashtar, the best
images yet of a giant eruption from the tortured volcanic moon.

The timing and location of the spacecraft's trajectory also allowed it
to spy many of the mysterious, circular troughs carved onto the icy
moon Europa. Data on the size, depth and distribution of these
troughs, discovered by the Jupiter-orbiting Galileo mission, will
help scientists determine the thickness of the ice shell that covers
Europa's global ocean.

Already the fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons reached
Jupiter 13 months after lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, Fla., in January 2006. The flyby added 9,000 miles per hour,
pushing New Horizons past 50,000 miles per hour and setting up a
flight by Pluto in July 2015.

The number of observations at Jupiter was twice that of those planned
at Pluto. New Horizons made most of these observations during the
spacecraft's closest approach to the planet, which was guided by more
than 40,000 separate commands in the onboard computer.

"We can run simulations and take test images of stars, and learn that
things would probably work fine at Pluto," said John Spencer, deputy
lead of the New Horizons Jupiter Encounter Science Team, Southwest
Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. "But having a planet to look at
and lots of data to dig into tells us that the spacecraft and team
can do all these amazing things. We might not have explored the full
capabilities of the spacecraft if we didn't have this real planetary
flyby to push the system and get our imaginations going."

More data are to come, as New Horizons completes its unprecedented
flight down Jupiter's long magnetotail, where it will analyze the
intensities of sun-charged particles that flow hundreds of millions
of miles beyond the giant planet.

New Horizons is the first mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program of
medium-class spacecraft exploration projects. Stern leads the mission
and science team as principal investigator; APL manages the mission
for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The mission team also
includes Ball Aerospace Corp., Boulder, Colo; the Boeing Company,
Chicago; NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.;NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Stanford University,
Palo Alto, Calif.; KinetX, Inc., Simi Valley, Calif.; Lockheed Martin
Corp.; Denver; University of Colorado, Boulder; the U.S. Department
of Energy, Washington; and a number of other firms, NASA centers, and
university partners.

To view the new images visit:

www.nasa.gov/newhorizons


-end-
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: John44 on 05/01/2007 08:06 PM
video - NASA Science Update – Pluto New Horizons: A New View of Jup
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1954&Itemid=2
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: 02hurnella on 05/22/2007 07:37 PM
Yeah is NH designed to test the Pioneer anomaly. Shaking up our knowledge of physics (or confirming it) would be pretty good going fo a mid sized mission.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MKremer on 05/22/2007 08:11 PM
Quote
02hurnella - 22/5/2007  2:37 PM

Yeah is NH designed to test the Pioneer anomaly. Shaking up our knowledge of physics (or confirming it) would be pretty good going fo a mid sized mission.
Pardon?
NH was designed for Pluto/Charon and future possible Kuiper belt objects, period. I seriously doubt Dr. Stern even had a passing thought about any 'Pioneer anomoly' research designing the craft/experiments/mission.
(not to say other scientists might use NH data/transmissions for that research in future years, but that wasn't a part of the PI's spacecraft plans or mission)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 10/09/2007 05:31 PM
RELEASE: 07-221

NASA SPACECRAFT SEES CHANGES IN JUPITER SYSTEM

LAUREL, Md. - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft provided a new bird's-eye
view of the dynamic Jupiter system as it traveled through the
planet's orbit on Feb. 28.

New Horizons used Jupiter's gravity to boost its speed and shave three
years off its trip to Pluto. Although the eighth spacecraft to visit
Jupiter, New Horizons' combination of trajectory, timing and
technology allowed it to explore details never before observed.

The spacecraft revealed lightning near the Jupiter's poles, the life
cycle of fresh ammonia clouds, boulder-size clumps speeding through
the planet's faint rings, the structure inside volcanic eruptions on
its moon Io, and the path of charged particles traversing the
previously unexplored length of the planet's long, magnetic tail.

"The Jupiter encounter was successful beyond our wildest dreams," said
Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons mission, NASA
Headquarters, Washington. "Not only did it prove our spacecraft and
put it on course to reach Pluto in 2015, it was a chance for us to
take sophisticated instruments to places in the Jovian system where
other spacecraft could not go. It returned important data that adds
tremendously to our understanding of the solar system's largest
planet and its moons, rings and atmosphere."

The New Horizons team presented its latest, most detailed analyses of
those data Tuesday at the American Astronomical Society's Division
for Planetary Sciences meeting in Orlando, Fla. Results also will
appear in a special section of the Oct. 12 issue of the journal
Science.

From January through June, New Horizons' seven science instruments
made more than 700 separate observations of the Jovian system.
Jupiter's weather was high on the list, as New Horizons' visible
light, infrared and ultraviolet remote-sensing instruments probed the
planet's atmosphere for data on cloud structure and composition.

Instruments saw clouds form from ammonia welling up from the lower
atmosphere. Heat-induced lighting strikes in the polar regions also
were observed. This was the first polar lighting ever seen beyond
Earth, demonstrating that heat moves through water clouds at
virtually all latitudes across Jupiter.

New Horizons made the most-detailed size and speed measurements yet of
"waves" that run the width of the planet and indicate violent storm
activity below. Additionally, New Horizons snapped the first close-up
images of the Little Red Spot, gathering new information on storm
dynamics. The spot is a nascent storm about half the size of
Jupiter's larger Great Red Spot, or about 70 percent of Earth's
diameter.

The spacecraft captured the clearest images to date of the tenuous
Jovian ring system, showing clumps of debris that may indicate a
recent impact inside the rings or some more exotic phenomenon. Movies
made from New Horizons images offer an unprecedented look at ring
dynamics, showing the tiny inner moons Metis and Adrastea shepherding
the materials around the rings. A search for smaller moons inside the
rings, and possible new sources of the dusty material, found no
bodies wider than a mile.

The mission's investigations of Jupiter's four largest moons focused
on Io, the closest to Jupiter, which has active volcanoes that blast
tons of material into the Jovian magnetosphere and beyond. New
Horizons spied 11 different volcanic plumes of varying size, three of
which were seen for the first time. One, a spectacular 200-mile-high
eruption rising above the volcano Tvashtar, provided a unique
opportunity to trace plume structure and motion. New Horizons' global
map of Io's surface confirms the moon's status as the solar system's
most active body, showing more than 20 geological changes since the
Galileo Jupiter orbiter provided the last close-up look in 2001.

New Horizons' flight down Jupiter's magnetic tail offered a look at
the vast region dominated by the planet's strong magnetic field.
Specifically observing the fluxes of charged particles that flow
hundreds of millions of miles beyond the giant planet, spacecraft
particle detectors saw evidence that tons of material from Io's
volcanoes move down the tail in large, dense, slow-moving blobs.

Designed, built and operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied
Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., New Horizons lifted off in January
2006. The fastest spacecraft ever launched, it reached Jupiter in
just 13 months. New Horizons is now approximately halfway between the
orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, more than 743 million miles from Earth.
It will fly past Pluto and its moons in July 2015, then head deeper
into the Kuiper belt of icy, rocky objects on the planetary frontier.
New Horizons is the first mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program of
medium-class spacecraft exploration projects.

For more details on the findings, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: swervin irvin on 01/30/2008 02:29 AM
i know this is shameless bragging, as part of the redmond rocket team (aerojet)

i helped assemble the reaction control system onto that cool piano sort of chassis

what a thrill to watch her screaming out into the deep

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Big Al on 03/07/2008 03:45 AM
I would rate the three most significant events in planetary science in my lifetime (60) years as,

1)   Failure to find life on Mars.
2)   Discovery of the Kuiper Belt objects
3)   Discovery of (or lack there of) of significant water ice on the Moon. (We’ll see next year!)

I say this because there is so much happening in the world of planetary science, that it is difficult to digest the significance of all of it.

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 03/25/2010 04:01 PM
I'm not sure if this is the correct update thread for the New Horizons mission, but a Search of the site revealed this as the latest of the "update" threads.  If not, please bump to the correct thread.  As the most recent update was 03-March-2008, I thought I'd add this recent milestone:

Feb 5, 2010
from the New Horizons site: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/

Another milestone passed! Today NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is 15.96 astronomical units (about 2.39 billion kilometers, or 1.48 billion miles) from the Sun – putting it halfway between Earth’s location on launch day in January 2006, and Pluto’s place during New Horizons’ encounter with the planet in July 2015.

“From here on out, we’re on approach to an encounter with the Pluto system,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, from the Southwest Research Institute. “The second half of the journey begins.”

This is rare territory; New Horizons is just the fifth probe, after Pioneers 10 - 11 and Voyagers 1 – 2, to traverse interplanetary space so far from the Sun. And it’s the first to travel so far to reach a new planet for exploration.

Humming along at more than 16 kilometers per second – more than 36,600 miles per hour - the spacecraft will next cross a planetary boundary in March 2011, when it passes the orbit of Uranus.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 06/17/2010 08:21 PM
From the New Horizons web site:

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20100617.php

New Horizons’ fourth annual checkout is nearing its mid-point, and continues with a workout for the spacecraft systems, cameras and other instruments that will deliver the first data from Pluto and its moons. Preparations for a small but necessary course-correction maneuver are also on track.

Since “ACO-4” began on May 25, mission operators have uploaded new software for New Horizons’ on-board autonomy system, and checked out most of the spacecraft’s backup systems, including guidance and control, communications, command and data handling, thermal control, power and propulsion. All of these backup systems have performed well.

On June 21 the project starts an eight-day “encounter-mode test,” in which key spacecraft and ground components will be configured to run as they will during the Pluto flyby, five years from next month. This gives mission controllers a chance to make sure New Horizons will, among other operations, steady itself, point the science instruments in the right directions and correctly send data back to Earth. It also ensures that the systems on the ground, needed to send commands to and acquire data sent from the spacecraft, are correctly configured for encounter dress rehearsals in 2012 and 2013.

“So many systems have to work perfectly, together, for any spacecraft to take that amazing picture or collect any other data,” says Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. “This summer we’re validating the behind-the-scenes support and the spacecraft systems – from tracking to communications – that we’ll use at Pluto in 2015.”

Surrounding and even during the encounter-mode test, New Horizons’ science instruments will undertake a comprehensive list of data-collection and calibration activities that includes long-distance imaging of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, as well as observations of the charged subatomic particles – “space plasma” – near the orbit of Uranus.

NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas are collecting tracking data that the Navigation team from KinetX, Inc., is using to pinpoint New Horizons’ location and predict where it’s headed. Based on this prediction, the navigators are collaborating with the Mission Design and Guidance and Control teams from APL to design a trajectory correction maneuver, or “TCM,” for June 30 that will slightly adjust the spacecraft’s velocity and put New Horizons on course to Pluto.
 
So far they estimate that this TCM – only the fourth course correction since New Horizons launched on January 19, 2006, and the first since September 25, 2007 – will last only about 35 seconds and change the spacecraft’s speed by about one mile per hour. But with five years of travel time to go, those miles would add up, so the maneuver is needed to keep the spacecraft on the precise track to reach the “aim point” for the Pluto encounter on July 14, 2015.

“This summer’s ACO is probably our busiest in the span from 2008 to 2011, and it’s off to a great start,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. “As our spacecraft pushes ever farther outward at almost a million miles per day, we never cease to realize how lucky we are to be on our way to explore such a distant and important planet for NASA, for the American public, and really, for all humankind.”

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: iamlucky13 on 06/23/2010 01:44 AM
From the New Horizons web site:

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20100617.php

I'm pretty sure I'd go stir crazy if I were on the New Horizons team...almost three years since the last TCM. It's good to hear an update, however.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 06/23/2010 05:13 PM
I'm pretty sure I'd go stir crazy if I were on the New Horizons team...almost three years since the last TCM. It's good to hear an update, however.

They had to be clever in managing personnel resources.  They hired a lot of younger people with the expectation that they would still be available when the vehicle reached Pluto in 2015.  But it's an interesting issue.  Will those people really be available regardless of their ages?

There are other potential missions to outer planets that will face the same problems, so I hope that somebody on the NH project eventually writes about these management challenges so that others can learn from them.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: iamlucky13 on 06/29/2010 05:46 AM
I'm pretty sure I'd go stir crazy if I were on the New Horizons team...almost three years since the last TCM. It's good to hear an update, however.

They had to be clever in managing personnel resources.  They hired a lot of younger people with the expectation that they would still be available when the vehicle reached Pluto in 2015.  But it's an interesting issue.  Will those people really be available regardless of their ages?

There are other potential missions to outer planets that will face the same problems, so I hope that somebody on the NH project eventually writes about these management challenges so that others can learn from them.

The question of retention occurred to me, too. I wish them luck keeping experienced team members around for that big week in the relatively distant future. It also seems they contracted out some of the navigation work, presumably because of the low rate they'd be able to utilize on-staff navigation folks:

http://www.kinetx.com/services.aspx?p=nav
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Robotbeat on 06/29/2010 04:19 PM
I'm pretty sure I'd go stir crazy if I were on the New Horizons team...almost three years since the last TCM. It's good to hear an update, however.

They had to be clever in managing personnel resources.  They hired a lot of younger people with the expectation that they would still be available when the vehicle reached Pluto in 2015.  But it's an interesting issue.  Will those people really be available regardless of their ages?

There are other potential missions to outer planets that will face the same problems, so I hope that somebody on the NH project eventually writes about these management challenges so that others can learn from them.

The question of retention occurred to me, too. I wish them luck keeping experienced team members around for that big week in the relatively distant future. It also seems they contracted out some of the navigation work, presumably because of the low rate they'd be able to utilize on-staff navigation folks:

http://www.kinetx.com/services.aspx?p=nav
I'm sure that if the folks are around at all, they would be quite interested in coming back to help out with the science phase of the mission.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 07/01/2010 05:39 PM
Course Correction Keeps New Horizons on Path to Pluto

 

A short but important course-correction maneuver kept New Horizons on track to reach the “aim point” for its 2015 encounter with Pluto. The deep-space equivalent of a tap on the gas pedal, the June 30 thruster-firing lasted 35.6 seconds and sped New Horizons up by just about one mile per hour. But it was enough to make sure that New Horizons will make its planned closest approach 7,767 miles (12,500 kilometers) above Pluto at 7:49 a.m. EDT on July 14, 2015.

 

For the full story, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20100701.php


Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Space Pete on 07/14/2010 10:34 PM
Quote
July 14, 2010
Five Years and Counting Down

Five years ago, the New Horizons spacecraft was in a thermal-vacuum chamber at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland, being tested for our historic voyage to the planetary frontier. Today our intrepid probe is a billion kilometers past Saturn – and exactly five years away from closest Pluto approach on July 14, 2015.

Thanks to everyone for the hard work, dedication, persistence, and sheer pluck that got us funded, built, launched and halfway across the solar system. We aren't "turning final" on approach yet, but we can see that day coming in early 2015. Go New Horizons!

- Alan Stern
New Horizons Principal Investigator

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20100714.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 07/27/2010 08:13 PM
"In early 2007 New Horizons flew through the Jupiter system, getting a speed-boost from the giant planet's gravity while snapping stunning, close-up images of Jupiter and its largest moons.

Fast forward to 2010 and New Horizons has given us another glimpse of old friend Jupiter, this time from a vantage point more than 16 times the distance between Earth and the Sun, and almost 1000 times as far away as when New Horizons reconnoitered Jupiter. While the planet is too far for the camera to pick up the swirling clouds and brewing, Earth-sized storms it saw just three years ago, "the picture is a dramatic reminder of just how far New Horizons, moving about a million miles a day, has traveled," says mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute."

More information and some pretty cool images here:

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20100727.php

Also:

"Annual Checkout (ACO) Winds Down

Speaking of ACO-4: the mission's fourth annual checkout, which started on May 25, wraps up this week. "We packed a lot of activity into nine weeks," says Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman, of APL. "It was very successful."

The final activities included making sure the spacecraft's command and data handling system was in working order, and loading new navigation data into the spacecraft's guidance and control system, based on the June 30 trajectory-correction maneuver that refined New Horizons' path to Pluto. The Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter has also been turned on, now that the other six instruments in New Horizons science payload have been shut down. Working from commands transmitted last week to its computers, New Horizons will enter hibernation on Friday (July 30) and remain in electronic slumber until November. Operators at APL will monitor the craft through a weekly status beacon and a monthly transmission of housekeeping data."
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Space Pete on 09/03/2010 05:35 PM
Picture-Perfect Pluto Practice.

Neptune's giant moon Triton is often called Pluto's "twin" – so what better practice target, then, for New Horizons' telescopic camera?

New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) snapped several photos of Neptune during the latest annual systems checkout, which ended July 30. Neptune was 23.2 astronomical units (about 2.15 billion miles!) from New Horizons when LORRI took aim at the gas giant planet — and Triton made a cameo appearance in these images.

"That we were able to see Triton so close to Neptune, which is approximately 100 times brighter, shows us that the camera is working exactly as designed," says New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. "This was a good test for LORRI."

Weaver points out that the solar phase angle (the spacecraft-planet-Sun angle) was 34 degrees and the solar elongation angle (planet-spacecraft-Sun angle) was 95 degrees. Only New Horizons can observe Neptune at such large solar phase angles, which he says is key to studying the light-scattering properties of Neptune's and Triton’s atmospheres.

"As New Horizons has traveled outward across the solar system, we've been using our imagers to make just such special-purpose studies of the giant planets and their moons because this is a small but completely unique contribution that New Horizons can make — because of our position out among the giant planets," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute.

Triton is slightly larger than Pluto, 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) in diameter compared to Pluto’s 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers). Both objects have atmospheres composed mostly of nitrogen gas with a surface pressure only 1/70,000th of Earth's, and comparably cold surface temperatures approaching minus-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Triton is widely believed to have been a member of the Kuiper Belt (as Pluto still is) that was captured into orbit around Neptune, probably during a collision early in the solar system's history.

New Horizons first photographed Triton in 2008, during its second annual checkout, at a smaller phase angle (21.4 degrees) and larger distance (25.08 AU from New Horizons).

Where's Pluto?
New Horizons was actually closer to Pluto than it was to Neptune when these pictures were taken –a mere 14.92 AU (nearly 1.4 billion miles) from its main planetary target. Team members say a crowded observing schedule led them to skip observations of Pluto during this year's checkout. But we will get another look at the planet before the July 2015 encounter – the mission plans to point LORRI toward Pluto in spring 2012.

Source (with accompanying image). (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20100903.php)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 10/11/2010 07:42 PM
Pluto Mission News

October 11, 2010

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

Student Dust Counter instrument breaks distance record

 

The Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter instrument on New Horizons now holds the record for the most distant-functioning space-dust detector.

 

On October 10, the “SDC” surpassed the previous record when it flew beyond 18 astronomical units — one unit is the distance between the Sun and the Earth — or 1.67 billion miles, past the orbit of Uranus. The only other dedicated instruments to measure space dust beyond Jupiter’s orbit – which is closer to the Sun than Uranus – were aboard Pioneers 10 and 11 in the 1970s. Additionally, SDC is the first science instrument on a planetary mission to be designed, tested and operated by students.

 

“The New Horizons mission is going to break a lot of records, but this early one is one of the sweetest,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. “We’re very proud to be collecting solar system dust data farther out than any mission ever has, and we’re even prouder to be carrying the first student-built and -operated science instrument ever sent on a planetary space mission.”

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Space Pete on 10/12/2010 07:12 PM
New Horizons Student Dust Counter instrument breaks distance record.

The Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter, flying aboard NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, now holds the record for the most distant working dust detector ever to travel through space.
On October 10, the “SDC” surpassed the previous record when it flew beyond 18 astronomical units — one unit is the distance between the Sun and the Earth — or 1.67 billion miles, past the orbit of Uranus. The only other dedicated instruments to measure space dust beyond Jupiter’s orbit – which is closer to the Sun than Uranus – were aboard Pioneers 10 and 11 in the 1970s. Additionally, SDC is the first science instrument on a planetary mission to be designed, tested and operated by students.    

“The New Horizons mission is going to break a lot of records, but this early one is one of the sweetest,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. “We’re very proud to be collecting solar system dust data farther out than any mission ever has, and we’re even prouder to be carrying the first student-built and -operated science instrument ever sent on a planetary space mission.”

The instrument is the work of students at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). Andrew Poppe, a LASP graduate student in physics who operates SDC and analyzes the data, says “it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be part of the group of students who made this happen. We built a record-breaking, successful instrument that is taking scientific measurements to advance our understanding of the role of dust in our solar system.”

Poppe and several collaborators recently published the first results from SDC in Geophysical Research Letters. “The SDC measurements of dust inside five astronomical units agreed well with the earlier measurements made by the Galileo and Ulysses missions,” Poppe says. “We also reported the first-ever measurements of sub-micron-sized dust grains in the outer solar system by a dedicated dust instrument.”

Poppe is one of five students on the current SDC team, and one of 32 who have worked on the instrument since the project began in 2002. The original team of approximately 20 undergraduate and graduate students has evolved over time, with new students brought into the fold as the nearly 20-year New Horizons mission has proceeded from concept development through launch and into its ongoing flight phase.
   
“The SDC was built and tested to the same NASA engineering standards as professionally built flight instruments, under the supervision of professionals,” says SDC instrument Principal Investigator Mihaly Horanyi, a LASP researcher and University of Colorado professor. “Students have filled roles from science and engineering to journalism and accounting; many of them have graduated and gone on to careers in the space industry. In addition to its significant contribution to science, SDC proved to be an excellent investment in the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.”

SDC was launched aboard New Horizons in January 2006; six months later the instrument was renamed for Venetia Burney, the English schoolgirl who, at age 11, offered the name “Pluto” for the newly discovered ninth planet in 1930.
SDC will continue to return information on the dust that strikes its detectors during the spacecraft’s approach to Pluto and flight beyond. This dust is formed in the Kuiper Belt, a collection of asteroids orbiting the Sun outside of Neptune. The improved observations that SDC will make available will advance our understanding of the origin and evolution of our own solar system, as well as helping scientists study planet formation in dust disks around other stars.    

LASP manages the SDC project and has a long tradition of involvement with student instruments, including the Solar Mesosphere Explorer and the Student Nitric Oxide Experiment. LASP recruits both undergraduates and graduates from CU to help with instrument design, construction, maintenance, programming, and operations. Funding for the SDC came primarily from the NASA New Horizons mission, through the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which manages New Horizons; and the Southwest Research Institute, home institution of Stern and the center of New Horizons instrument observation planning. LASP has also contributed funds to help pay students working on the SDC.


http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20101011.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 10/18/2010 06:45 PM
On October 17, New Horizons passed the halfway mark in the number of days from launch to Pluto encounter – the last of the mission’s halfway points on the historic path to Pluto. In his latest Web posting, Principal Investigator Alan Stern takes a look at this milestone and a few other significant mission events

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspective.php?page=piPerspective_10_18_2010
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 03/12/2011 08:54 PM
A great SETI talk on the mission by Alan Stern:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_ZGFx6-xXs
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 03/18/2011 04:05 PM
Uranus: New Horizons Passes Another Planetary Milestone
March 18, 2011

 
New Horizons is ready to put another planet – or at least the planet’s orbit – in its rearview mirror. The Pluto-bound spacecraft crosses the path of Uranus around 6 p.m. EDT on March 18, more than 1.8 billion miles from Earth.

“New Horizons is all about delayed gratification, and our 9 1/2-year cruise to  the Pluto system illustrates that,” says Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute.  “Crossing the orbit of Uranus is another milepost along our long journey to the very frontier of exploration.”

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20110318.php


Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MarsMethanogen on 04/20/2011 02:16 PM
Wanted: Kuiper Belt Targets
New Horizons team launches search for post-Pluto flyby prospects
April 20, 2011

The New Horizons team, working with astronomers using some of the largest telescopes on Earth, will begin searching this month for distant Kuiper Belt objects that the New Horizons spacecraft hopes to reconnoiter after completing its observations of the Pluto system in mid-2015.

No spacecraft has ever visited the Kuiper Belt, a distant, donut-shaped region of the solar system filled with small planets and comets that formed early in the solar system’s history.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20110420.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 08/16/2011 08:07 PM
Quote
The PI’s Perspective: Visiting Four Moons, in Just Four Years, for All Mankind

In June and July, members of the New Horizons science team, using the Hubble Space Telescope, discovered and confirmed that Pluto has a fourth moon! The new satellite, provisionally called P4, is fainter and therefore likely much smaller, than either Nix or Hydra or Charon – Pluto’s other three known moons.

...


http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspective.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 09/02/2011 05:16 PM
Just a few notes from the annual New Horizons science workshop I sat in on this week:

* The target point for the plane-crossing (Pluto is inclined at 120 deg) is just beyond the Pluto-Charon L3 point, to minimize the chance of getting hit by debris. With the discovery of P4 (and two more unconfirmed small sats), they are really starting to get worried that they'll hit something. They are planning a back-up trajectory that puts them within Charon's Hill sphere, and they can switch to it up to 10 days out.

* They'll have really good imagery for about 20 days (10 before, 10 after). The best images will be much higher resolution than Voyager 2's of Triton (Pluto's "evil twin"), and much, much more numerous (as Voyager's vidicon had to take really long exposures due to low light levels). They will have stereoscopic imagery (and therefore topography) for an entire hemisphere, some of it at MOLA resolution.

* Still no word on the post-Pluto target (searches under way), but they might go to up to two of them (depending on what the searches find). The search area becomes narrower over time as New Horizons's (and Pluto's) orbits become better constrained.

* Currently 44 people working on project, all part-time. Compared to Voyager's "skeleton crew" of 150 full-timers...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 09/02/2011 05:20 PM
The search area becomes narrower over time as New Horizons's (and Pluto's) orbits become better constrained.

Isn't it getting narrower because any target objects NH could fly by are slowly moving toward the viable trajectory cone (delta-v reserve-mandated) as time passes, not because Pluto and NH orbits are unconstrained?

I would have hoped they have a really good idea of NH's trajectory to be able to both get to Pluto aimpoint in the first place and also cancel the most recent TCM.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: cd-slam on 09/03/2011 01:30 AM
The search area becomes narrower over time as New Horizons's (and Pluto's) orbits become better constrained.

Isn't it getting narrower because any target objects NH could fly by are slowly moving toward the viable trajectory cone (delta-v reserve-mandated) as time passes, not because Pluto and NH orbits are unconstrained?

I would have hoped they have a really good idea of NH's trajectory to be able to both get to Pluto aimpoint in the first place and also cancel the most recent TCM.
Surely the target objects would be limited by the gravity assist which could be achieved at Pluto and/or Charon? Hence I'm guessing what is meant that as time passes there is less ability to change the Pluto aimpoint and thus achieve the necessary gravity assist to reach the next object.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MP99 on 09/03/2011 11:45 AM
* Still no word on the post-Pluto target (searches under way), but they might go to up to two of them (depending on what the searches find). The search area becomes narrower over time as New Horizons's (and Pluto's) orbits become better constrained.

Interesting. Does that mean that there is work ongoing to improve knowledge of Pluto's orbit in order to finalise planning of the rendezvous?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 09/03/2011 04:21 PM
Interesting. Does that mean that there is work ongoing to improve knowledge of Pluto's orbit in order to finalise planning of the rendezvous?

Yes, of both Pluto's heliocentric orbit and (especially) Pluto and Charon's mutual orbit (it's mutual as Pluto is outside of the common center of mass). The latter is actually pretty poorly known for the amount of data we have because both Pluto and Charon have large albedo patterns (i.e. different colored terrains) which throw off the center-of-light, making precise orbital determination hard.

If we knew what the terrains were, it would be much easier, but one of the major thrusts of the workshop was that they change on decadal timescales due to the migration of different ices (mainly CH4). This is much like the migration of the Martian polar caps, but covering half the surface of Pluto at a time and occurring 10x slower.

So, it's not until we get "better than Hubble" images from New Horizons that we'll actually know, for instance, the eccentricity of the orbit. 10^-4 is an upper limit, but all the tidal models suggest it should be much lower (and if not, the interior structure people have some 'splaining to do...).
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 09/04/2011 04:51 AM
Surely the target objects would be limited by the gravity assist which could be achieved at Pluto and/or Charon? Hence I'm guessing what is meant that as time passes there is less ability to change the Pluto aimpoint and thus achieve the necessary gravity assist to reach the next object.

There will be no targeting by "gravity assist" at Pluto.  The trajectory is determined by science goals, and survival issues as just mentioned, which will not be compromised to optimize the trajectory to a tiny Kuiper belt object. 
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MP99 on 09/04/2011 08:55 AM
Simon,

good info, many thanks.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 09/04/2011 09:53 AM
There will be no targeting by "gravity assist" at Pluto.  The trajectory is determined by science goals, and survival issues as just mentioned, which will not be compromised to optimize the trajectory to a tiny Kuiper belt object. 

Precisely. Furthermore, any bending of the trajectory will be miniscule. Pluto system's mass is insignificant to significantly alter the trajectory of something flying by at 14 km/s.

John Spencer said a couple of years ago that the principal uncertainty in Pluto/Charon position remaining at c/a will be in the downtrack direction as that can't be determined by OPNAVs as precisely. As a result, some imaging observations have a big uncertainty buffer built in and we can expect a good deal of images of black space returned. This won't mean the s/c was aimed wrongly, just that we didn't know exactly where Pluto is at that time so a bigger imaging footprint was deliberately built in.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 11/08/2011 03:23 PM
The PI's Perspective
Is the Pluto System Dangerous?

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspective.php?page=piPerspective_11_07_2011
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MP99 on 11/08/2011 09:33 PM
The PI's Perspective
Is the Pluto System Dangerous?

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspective.php

Quote
More specifically, a good candidate SHBOT aim point would be near Charon’s orbit, but about 180 degrees away from Charon on closest-approach day. Why this location? Because Charon’s gravity clears out the region close to it of debris, creating a safe zone.

...but presumably avoiding anywhere within the region where objects can orbit around PCL3? If wiki is correct that Charon has ~1/8th the mass of Pluto, I would assume that PCL3 would be a relatively powerful attractor?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 11/08/2011 11:19 PM
No, L3 is a saddle point that's really hard to accidentally capture into. The "danger zone" is the regions around L4 and L5, as well as anything much interior of L1. So, at L3 you only really have to worry about horseshoe orbits (going between L4 and L5), and they are much easier to perturb than L4/5 halo orbits.

Also, Pluto-Charon is an extremely close system (a=17 Pluto radii, compared to the Moon at 60 Earth radii), so the gravity on objects at the L-points is not simply two point sources, thus making perturbations much easier.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MP99 on 11/09/2011 08:39 PM
No, L3 is a saddle point that's really hard to accidentally capture into. The "danger zone" is the regions around L4 and L5, as well as anything much interior of L1. So, at L3 you only really have to worry about horseshoe orbits (going between L4 and L5), and they are much easier to perturb than L4/5 halo orbits.

Also, Pluto-Charon is an extremely close system (a=17 Pluto radii, compared to the Moon at 60 Earth radii), so the gravity on objects at the L-points is not simply two point sources, thus making perturbations much easier.

Many thanks for that.

I had assumed that the tighter system would make purturbations harder. Obviously not.

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 12/03/2011 09:49 AM
New Horizons Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Approach Pluto

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20111202.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 01/20/2012 05:48 PM
The PI's Perspective - Late Cruise!

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspective.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Zed_Noir on 01/20/2012 06:21 PM
A bit of news. The NASA New Horizon site announce the passing of Clyde Tombaugh's widow Patsy Tombaugh on Jan 12th.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120116.php (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120116.php)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 01/28/2012 12:14 PM
New Horizons Works through Winter Wakeup

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120127.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 02/01/2012 08:42 PM
New Horizons Aims to Put Its Stamp on History

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120201.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 02/11/2012 10:02 AM
New Horizons on Approach: 22 AU Down, Just 10 to Go

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120210.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: veblen on 03/13/2012 03:55 PM
Today is the last day for the NH team to actively campaign for signatures in a petition to commemorate New Horizons spacecraft at Pluto on a U.S. postage stamp in 2015. They have over 12,000 lets help push it over the top (15,000). Anyone can sign the petition.  Show your support for the exploration of Pluto and the solar system by signing!

http://www.change.org/petitions/usps-honor-new-horizons-and-the-exploration-of-pluto-with-a-usps-stamp (http://www.change.org/petitions/usps-honor-new-horizons-and-the-exploration-of-pluto-with-a-usps-stamp)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: racshot65 on 06/03/2012 09:18 AM
It’s a Sim: Out in Deep Space, New Horizons Successfully Practices the 2015 Pluto Encounter

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120601.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 07/11/2012 06:22 AM
The IAUC telegram just went out to announce that they have found a fifth moon now, at 27th magnitude. That's a radius of 25 km, and it's close to the 1:3 mean motion resonance with Charon. All the other small moons are close to (but not at) MMRs with Charon, so that's not surprising.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 07/11/2012 05:33 PM
A 5th moon discovered... Wow. Looks like the New Horizons team has to go back to the drawing board and revise the Pluto encounter sequence (obviously) :)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Dappa on 07/13/2012 05:06 PM
New Horizons Doing Science in Its Sleep
Pluto-Bound Spacecraft to Collect More Data When ‘Hibernating’

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120709.php (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20120709.php)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: cleonard on 07/13/2012 06:30 PM
A 5th moon discovered... Wow. Looks like the New Horizons team has to go back to the drawing board and revise the Pluto encounter sequence (obviously) :)

This makes it very likely that there are more moons and maybe even rings.  The mission may change a lot.  Expect images looking for a safe path during approach and a likely last minute maneuver with the associated real fast revisions to the encounter.  I have a feeling that they will be busier than expected for those several weeks leading up to the flyby.

About the best they can do is target a radius from Pluto that is a disadvantageous resonance from Charon orbit.  Basically, shoot for the spot least likely to have another moon or significant debris.  Might not be the best from a science perspective, but you sure don't want it to go boom.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 07/13/2012 06:51 PM
A 5th moon discovered... Wow. Looks like the New Horizons team has to go back to the drawing board and revise the Pluto encounter sequence (obviously) :)

Covered in this article.

http://www.space.com/16548-pluto-fifth-moon-new-horizons-spacecraft.html
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Silico on 09/02/2012 12:54 AM
How essential to making the New Horizons mission feasible is the fact that Pluto is crossing the plane of the solar system (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/whereisnh/sideview/nhsv20120801_0675.jpg)? Just bonus good luck that makes the mission a bit easier, or would it be much harder if history had turned out differently and the same spacecraft had to encounter Pluto in 1950, when it was at its greatest angle?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 09/02/2012 10:08 AM
Bonus good luck. With Pluto that far out, the Jupiter flyby could have flung it out out of ecliptic plane by the required angle easily, although that would probably have required a closer flyby (potentially nearing Jupiter's radiation belts).
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Silico on 09/02/2012 10:39 PM
Bonus good luck. With Pluto that far out, the Jupiter flyby could have flung it out out of ecliptic plane by the required angle easily, although that would probably have required a closer flyby (potentially nearing Jupiter's radiation belts).

That's right, the Voyager probes did out-of-plane slingshots to encounter Titan and Triton. NASA was actually considering (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_1#Encounter_with_Saturn) sending Voyager 1 to Pluto.

Looks like the good timing for NH saved a few years in cruise and a more risky Jupiter slingshot.

Thanks for the reply.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Dappa on 09/02/2012 11:14 PM
Looks like the good timing for NH saved a few years in cruise and a more risky Jupiter slingshot.
This was indeed the most optimal timing for NH, but another launch window wouldn't have used more risky slingshot. In fact, it would not have done any slingshot maneuver, delaying NH's arrival at Pluto by 2-4 years. Besides, Pluto's orbit is quite slow, so Pluto wouldn't have moved very much out of the ecliptic a few years later. 
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 09/03/2012 07:43 AM
That's right, the Voyager probes did out-of-plane slingshots to encounter Titan and Triton.

Well, the out-of-plane for Voyager 1 was a result of the Titan flyby before encountering Saturn, not a prerequsite. Flying by Titan meant Saturn would be the final destination visited - losing Pluto, etc., but that was a trade that had to be made.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Solman on 09/07/2012 07:34 PM
 Could NH be capable of astrometry - the long baseline would allow best ever parallax measurement of distance to nearby stars if camera capable of this kind of precision wouldn't it?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/07/2012 08:32 PM
Could NH be capable of astrometry - the long baseline would allow best ever parallax measurement of distance to nearby stars if camera capable of this kind of precision wouldn't it?
You should be able to figure this out yourself, given the aperture of the NH telescope and the baseline and some basic geometry, etc. ;)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Solman on 09/08/2012 09:27 PM
Could NH be capable of astrometry - the long baseline would allow best ever parallax measurement of distance to nearby stars if camera capable of this kind of precision wouldn't it?
You should be able to figure this out yourself, given the aperture of the NH telescope and the baseline and some basic geometry, etc. ;)

 Don't you need to know the pointing accuracy of the telescope? I suppose I should have said useful parallax measurement - isn't it all about precision?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Solman on 09/08/2012 09:43 PM
 To clarify - what I mean is that the orientation of the spacecraft and thereby the telescope, has to be known to extreme accuracy to measure the parallax angle change to the required precision relative to a telescope on Earth doesn't it?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 09/08/2012 10:22 PM
To clarify - what I mean is that the orientation of the spacecraft and thereby the telescope, has to be known to extreme accuracy to measure the parallax angle change to the required precision relative to a telescope on Earth doesn't it?

A priori knowledge of the spacecraft pointing is not necessary.  It can be determined from the images.  However, the angular accuracy is going to be some fraction of the pixel Instantaneoud Field of View.  This is 20 microradians, about 4 arc seconds, for Ralph, and about 10 microradians for LORRI.  One might be able to get centroid determination down to 10% or that, maybe better.  However, the accuracy for Hipparcos was way beyond that, so even with a 2 AU baseline it is hard to beat.

Plus the baseline is in only one direction so the accuracy would be maximum for a perpendicular plane.  The targets it needs to see are nearly straight ahead, KBO's, where the baseline doesn't help.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 09/09/2012 04:04 AM
For reference, LORRI has better-than-Hubble resolution for the Pluto system at two weeks out. So, it's not really useful for astronomy.

Ralph is a scanline imager (each column on the CCD is a different filter, meant for sweeping), so not capable of imaging astronomical targets.

They are extremely propellant-limited, and so will only spin down to three-axis stabilized a month-or-so out from the flyby.

There are lots of astronomers on the New Horizons team (my boss included), and believe me, if there were some way to get science out of the cruise phase without affecting the primary mission, they would have done it.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 09/09/2012 11:50 AM
Consider the data volume as well. Data rates that far out are low and they would need to compete for DSN time with many other missions.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Solman on 09/10/2012 11:33 PM
 Thanks for the generous responses to this amateur's "bright idea".
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 09/11/2012 04:37 AM
For reference, LORRI has better-than-Hubble resolution for the Pluto system at two weeks out. So, it's not really useful for astronomy.

Ralph is a scanline imager (each column on the CCD is a different filter, meant for sweeping), so not capable of imaging astronomical targets.

They are extremely propellant-limited, and so will only spin down to three-axis stabilized a month-or-so out from the flyby.

There are lots of astronomers on the New Horizons team (my boss included), and believe me, if there were some way to get science out of the cruise phase without affecting the primary mission, they would have done it.

This has some errors.

Ralph is a Time Domain Integration (TDI) imager.  It has several (16 IIRC) fully populated rows in each 5.7 degree wide 20 microradian IFOV array.  The electronic signal version of the image is clocked in synchronization with the rotation of the spacecraft to build up an image.  There are two panchromatic arrays and four arrays with color filters: red, blue, Near IR, and a wavelength range that corresponds to absorption by solid methane.   It darned well takes astronomical images, and quite good ones for such a small, light weight, low power, instrument.  It also does imaging spectrometery, recording hyperspectral data cubes from 1.2 to 2.4 microns across about a square degree FOV.   It also has a panchromatic frame transfer array with 128 rows (IIRC) that is the navigation sensor for the flight.

Hubble's ACS High Resolution Camera has 0.13 microradian IFOVs or 153 times that of Ralph, 76 times that of LORRI.  Pluto is about 30 AU away from Earth and Hubble.  LORRI's IFOV matches ACS HRC at 30/76=0.40 AU. New Horizons is under <8.3 0 AU from Pluto, with 1038 days to go, so at 50 days out it should be at said 0.4 AU.  That's seven weeks, not two, and reality is slightly better than this linear model.

I don't think that the statement about being "extremely fuel limited" can be supported.  As stated, the don't "spin down" to take all of their images.  In fact, New Horizons spins in the direction of its maximum moment of inertia (pitch) to take images and spectra with Ralph.  "Flat spins" (yaw) are for hibernation or other cruise phases where they want to maintain high gain antenna pointing towards the Earth with minimum action and interaction, and to hold the Student Dust Counter into the direction of travel. 

They have just despun New Horizons, run through an entire encounter sequence at full rotational speed I believe, as a practice.  They may do this again before encounter if new discoveries, such as the fifth moon P5, cause them to extensively rearrange the encounter sequence.  This will use fuel that would otherwise be available for a divert maneuver to target a KBO after the Pluto encounter, but they are not "fuel starved".
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 09/11/2012 04:43 AM
Consider the data volume as well. Data rates that far out are low and they would need to compete for DSN time with many other missions.

It's not a "fair competition". :-)

New Horizons needs to clear its memory at a specific time before closest encounter to maximize the available volume for data that may not be available again in the lifetimes of our great grandchildren.  Then it needs to send down some data right after closest approach to clear volume for science data on departure.  These are precisely scheduled and very high priority.  The DNS is not going to ignore these broadcasts or tell NH to limit its Pluto data.

edit: Pluto is moving away from the Sun.  Sometime in the next decade or so, the atmosphere will freeze out, snowing down on the surface and obscuring surface features until the next Pluto spring, some major fraction of 248 years from now.  This mission is our only chance to see the surface.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 09/11/2012 07:23 AM
You are missing my point. Of course the Pluto flyby data is of the highest importance, I'm saying that allocating precious DSN time (which will support only low bitrates with NH anyway due to the vast distance) is a waste of DSN time for measuring something (star parallax) which is certainly not very high priority/mission critical data.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Chandonn on 09/11/2012 08:46 AM
Hey, can we please get this UPDATES thread back to UPDATES and move the DISCUSSION to a more appropriate thread?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Hungry4info3 on 09/11/2012 04:42 PM
We're still in the middle of a multi-year-long cruise stage... there's not a lot of updates to be had.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: collectSPACE on 02/26/2013 06:04 PM
Today is the last day for the NH team to actively campaign for signatures in a petition to commemorate New Horizons spacecraft at Pluto on a U.S. postage stamp in 2015.

First Pluto-bound space probe gets review for US postage stamp
http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-022613a.html

The grassroots mission to land a Pluto- bound planetary probe on a postage stamp has caught the attention of postal authorities, the team that organized the campaign announced on Monday (Feb. 25).
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: kch on 02/26/2013 06:10 PM
We're still in the middle of a multi-year-long cruise stage... there's not a lot of updates to be had.

Exactly -- which means there should be very few posts in this thread.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Zed_Noir on 03/14/2013 08:04 PM
News article about possibility of many undiscovered moons in the Pluto-Charon system from space dot com.  :o

http://www.space.com/20181-pluto-moons-new-horizons.html (http://www.space.com/20181-pluto-moons-new-horizons.html)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 04/04/2013 09:57 PM
Jupiter Moon's Volcanic Plume Seen By Spacecraft | Video

Published on Apr 4, 2013
NASA's New Horizon mission snapped imagery of volcanic debris emanating from Io's Tvashtar volcano in 2007. The plume reaches up to 205 miles above the surface of Io.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehmpUQ_9oYI
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/05/2013 12:22 PM
I have to say that I'm surprised that New Horizons' cameras worked as close into the sun as Jupiter! I would have expected that the sort of low-light adaptations it would need to have any kind of useful imaging capability out at Pluto would have caused a 'wash out' effect so much closer to the sun.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2013 12:45 PM
Jupiter Moon's Volcanic Plume Seen By Spacecraft

Cool, but that stuff was released 6 years ago so it's hardly an update.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Garrett on 04/05/2013 12:55 PM
I have to say that I'm surprised that New Horizons' cameras worked as close into the sun as Jupiter! I would have expected that the sort of low-light adaptations it would need to have any kind of useful imaging capability out at Pluto would have caused a 'wash out' effect so much closer to the sun.
The left-hand, i.e. daylight, side looks washed out to me. The right-hand side is well imaged, but that's the nighttime side.
Here's a document on the LORRI instrument used for those image sequences:
http://arxiv.org/pdf/0709.4278.pdf
Maybe the PI (Andrew Cheng) would be willing to give you an answer by e-mail?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 04/05/2013 02:10 PM
LORRI could set the exposures low enough to not overexpose either Jupiter or the moons, even at low phase angle.

MVIC, on the other hand, is too sensitive to handle the Jovian system. Most useful imagery was obtained at higher phase angles where back-scattering surfaces are darker and mostly in the blue and CH4 filters.

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Dappa on 07/10/2013 08:58 PM
Charon Revealed!
New Horizons Camera Spots Pluto’s Largest Moon


http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20130710.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 07/10/2013 09:14 PM
Can anyone point to a analysis as to when the New Horizon's imagery will surpass the capability of earth based/orbiting imagery?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: sittingduck on 07/10/2013 09:38 PM
Can anyone point to a analysis as to when the New Horizon's imagery will surpass the capability of earth based/orbiting imagery?

5 May 2015.  Could be spotted on the graphic here: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/mission_timeline.php (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/mission_timeline.php)

Claims to be 10 weeks before encounter.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 07/10/2013 11:46 PM
Can anyone point to a analysis as to when the New Horizon's imagery will surpass the capability of earth based/orbiting imagery?

5 May 2015.  Could be spotted on the graphic here: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/mission_timeline.php (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/mission_timeline.php)

Claims to be 10 weeks before encounter.

Hubble's WFC3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Field_Camera_3) has "0.04 arcsec pixels".  That's ~0.2 microRadians.

LORRI has 10 microRadian pixels.  That's ~50 times that of WFC3.
When LORRI gets to 1/50 of the recent 31 AU distance from Earth to Pluto (0.6 AU) its IFOV/pixel will be smaller than, and its resolution higher than Hubble's WFC3.  (There are other aspects to measuring resolution which might make the required distance somewhat smaller.)
At ~14 km/sec relative velocity that's about 76 days out.
For about a week LORRI will be have ten times the resolution of WFC3.

Ralph - MVIC has 20 microRadian pixels.  That's ~100 times that of WFC3.
When MVIC gets to 1/100 of the 31 AU distance from Earth to Pluto, Ralph's IFOV will be smaller than Hubble's WFC3.
At ~14 km/sec relative velocity that's about 38 days out.

Ralph LEISA has ~61 microRadian pixels.  WFC3's IR chanel has  0.13 arcsec pixels or ~0.63 microRadians.  That's another factor of 100, so the resolution is also equal around 38 days out.  I don't know if there is a higher resolution near IR camera in space or on the ground, or if such a system has been used to image Pluto.

The separation of Pluto and Charon in the LORRI image is ~5 pixels.   That's better than any ground based visible telescope.  Ralph MVIC should be able to distinguish them soon, although they will be even more faint.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 09/14/2013 09:36 AM
After all this talk about Voyager reaching interstellar space, will New Horizons ever reach this stage or is it not expected to survive its encounter with the Kuiper Belt?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: M129K on 09/14/2013 09:37 AM
After all this talk about Voyager reaching interstellar space, will New Horizons ever reach this stage or is it not expected to survive its encounter with the Kuiper Belt?

It will, though it will never overtake Voyager 1.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 09/14/2013 09:47 AM

After all this talk about Voyager reaching interstellar space, will New Horizons ever reach this stage or is it not expected to survive its encounter with the Kuiper Belt?

It will, though it will never overtake Voyager 1.

Are we likely to get more information from it as its newer & therefore more likely to last longer into that zone of space?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: baldusi on 09/14/2013 02:50 PM

After all this talk about Voyager reaching interstellar space, will New Horizons ever reach this stage or is it not expected to survive its encounter with the Kuiper Belt?

It will, though it will never overtake Voyager 1.

Are we likely to get more information from it as its newer & therefore more likely to last longer into that zone of space?
It will take longer to reach the magnetopause. Its going at less overall speed. NH had the highest Earth escape, but Voyager had the grater sun escape thanks to the Jupiter and Neptune GA. Besides, I'm not convinced that modern electronics can tolerate cosmic rays as well as Voyager. Google "core memory".
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jebbo on 09/14/2013 04:56 PM
While it is true modern memory is more susceptible to soft errors than core memory, the design is likely to be highly tolerant to errors and will include significant redundancy. Not just soft errors but even destruction of bits due to cosmic rays etc.  So I'm not convinced the life time of the electronics will be much lower.

As the mission timeline, without extension, runs to 2026, I expect a lot of design attention has been paid to resilience to the radiation environment.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 09/14/2013 05:39 PM
While it is true modern memory is more susceptible to soft errors than core memory, the design is likely to be highly tolerant to errors and will include significant redundancy. Not just soft errors but even destruction of bits due to cosmic rays etc.  So I'm not convinced the life time of the electronics will be much lower.

As the mission timeline, without extension, runs to 2026, I expect a lot of design attention has been paid to resilience to the radiation environment.

Will its power source last beyond 2026?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Nomadd on 09/14/2013 05:43 PM
While it is true modern memory is more susceptible to soft errors than core memory, the design is likely to be highly tolerant to errors and will include significant redundancy. Not just soft errors but even destruction of bits due to cosmic rays etc.  So I'm not convinced the life time of the electronics will be much lower.

As the mission timeline, without extension, runs to 2026, I expect a lot of design attention has been paid to resilience to the radiation environment.

Will its power source last beyond 2026?
It should. Half life was never the issue with P-238. The limit was degrading thermocouples, and the RTG in New Horizons is suppose to be a lot better than Voyager's in that respect.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 10/11/2013 12:55 AM
Sign a petition to have messages from Earth (plus your name) transmitted to New Horizons as part of a 'Voyager Golden Record 2.0'...

http://www.newhorizonsmessage.com/
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: grondilu on 10/12/2013 11:24 AM
Sign a petition to have messages from Earth (plus your name) transmitted to New Horizons as part of a 'Voyager Golden Record 2.0'...

http://www.newhorizonsmessage.com/

I'm pretty sure aliens won't give a crap about the sequence of octets that make my name.   Maybe I suck at appreciating symbolic values, but I don't get it.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: pippin on 10/12/2013 11:36 AM
Well, even if you don't get to appreciate symbolic values but sure you agree that creating some public attention for your science mission in order to justify the funding for it and ensure the next project gets supported, too, is helpful.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 10/12/2013 11:40 AM
I'm pretty sure aliens won't give a crap about the sequence of octets that make my name.   Maybe I suck at appreciating symbolic values, but I don't get it.

Just like sending your name to Mars or to a comet or whatever, running naming contests where school kids get to pick a rover's name, etc. It's a public outreach thing and if it raises awareness and interest for space exploration in the general public, who gives a damn whether any aliens ever decode the sequence.

Even the original Voyager Golden Records are much more likely to serve just as a memory of the human species for long after we're all gone than be picked up by some aliens out there or blasted by a Klingon ship as target practice.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 10/14/2013 12:49 AM
Sign a petition to have messages from Earth (plus your name) transmitted to New Horizons as part of a 'Voyager Golden Record 2.0'...

http://www.newhorizonsmessage.com/

I'm pretty sure aliens won't give a crap about the sequence of octets that make my name.   Maybe I suck at appreciating symbolic values, but I don't get it.

You're just bad at appreciating symbolic values... :)

Well OF COURSE no aliens will ever find out about this transmission (especially after they unwittingly damage the computers should they stumble upon the spacecraft and take it apart)... This is just an opportunity to use the probe as a time capsule to send images, names and whatnot beyond our solar system.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: John Flushing on 10/21/2013 07:04 PM
Years ago a modified Pioneer Plaque (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4FFIpqStnhjeTl6LXBNcHZHM1k) (which I eventually modified (http://imageshack.us/a/img687/2301/ck9e.jpg) myself) was devised for New Horizons (I believe such a plaque could be uploaded to the vehicle), not that anyone cares.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 10/22/2013 11:09 PM
Years ago a modified Pioneer Plaque (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4FFIpqStnhjeTl6LXBNcHZHM1k) (which I eventually modified (http://imageshack.us/a/img687/2301/ck9e.jpg) myself) was devised for New Horizons (I believe such a plaque could be uploaded to the vehicle), not that anyone cares.

I'm sure you can try submitting that when (hopefully) this campaign gets approved by NASA and the project begins taking ideas for what to include in the message
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 01/09/2014 02:27 AM
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20140106.php

Headlines

A Busy Year Begins for New Horizons

January 6, 2014
With Pluto encounter operations now just a year away, the New Horizons team has brought the spacecraft out of hibernation for the first of several activities planned for 2014.

Mission operators at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md., “woke” New Horizons on Jan. 5. Over the next two weeks the team will test the spacecraft’s antenna and repoint it toward Earth; upload commands into the onboard Guidance and Control and Command and Data Handling systems, including a check on the backup inertial measurement unit and update of the spacecraft’s navigational star charts; and conduct some navigational tracking, among other routine maintenance duties.

“We’ve had busier wakeup periods, but with long-distance Pluto encounter operations starting only a year from now, every activity is important,” says APL’s Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager.

The pace of operations picks up significantly later this year. In late June the team will wake New Horizons for two and a half months of work, including optical-navigation (“homing”) activities using the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) to refine the probe’s course to Pluto. The team will also check out the spacecraft’s backup systems and science instruments; carry out a small course correction to trim up New Horizons’ approach trajectory and closest-approach timing at Pluto; and gather some science data by measuring the variations in Pluto’s and Charon’s brightness as they rotate.

New Horizons is placed back into electronic slumber on Aug. 29, a “rest” that lasts only until Dec. 7. “From there it will stay awake for two years of Pluto encounter preparations, operations and data downlinks,” Bowman says.

Distant-encounter operations begin Jan. 12, 2015.

“The future has finally arrived,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. “After all the time and miles in the rearview mirror, the turning of the calendar page last week to 2014 means we'll be exploring the Pluto system next year!”

New Horizons will re-enter hibernation on Jan. 17 – nearly eight years to the day after the spacecraft’s launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on Jan. 19, 2006. Since then it has covered more than two billion miles; spied a small asteroid; flew past and studied the solar system’s largest planet; and collected unprecedented data on the space dust environment of the outer solar system. And New Horizons is still 18 months from reaching its main target!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 01/09/2014 04:48 AM

After all this talk about Voyager reaching interstellar space, will New Horizons ever reach this stage or is it not expected to survive its encounter with the Kuiper Belt?

It will, though it will never overtake Voyager 1.

Are we likely to get more information from it as its newer & therefore more likely to last longer into that zone of space?

The Kuiper belt is not particularly dangerous.  Past Pluto, the environment is rather benign.  It is all cold, dark, and empty, with the occasional high energy particle.  There is a very sophisticated fault detection and handling system on board. 

There is a large effort underway to discover a target to which New Horizons can be steered after the Pluto-Charon encounter.  It can only change its path by one or two degrees.  I have not read about any potential targets being found.

There is another issue with the life of the RTG power supply. It was not packed with the "freshest" Plutonium. Some of the disks were old.  My recollection, which could be wrong after eight or so years, is that the RTG yielded just over 200 W, perhaps 205 W, against a minimum to start the mission of something like 190 W.  The plan was to last three or five years beyond Pluto, so the mission will probably get a few more years than that.

Then there are power conservation measures like the Voyagers use.  (Last year the Voyager team turned off the primary attitude control system and went to the backup, which was unused to date, so they could turn off one set of heaters.)

 However, the odds are small of anything lasting longer than the Voyagers' nearly forty years.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: hop on 01/09/2014 05:05 AM
The question of how long NH might last is addressed in this thread
http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=5368&view=findpost&p=190706

From Alan Stern:
Quote
we now estimate will take us to the mid-late 2030s
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 01/09/2014 05:34 AM
The question of how long NH might last is addressed in this thread
http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=5368&view=findpost&p=190706 (http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=5368&view=findpost&p=190706)

From Alan Stern:
Quote
we now estimate will take us to the mid-late 2030s

Thanks for that.
My recollection was wrong.  According to this graph (http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=27956) New Horizons will have ~200 Watts at the Pluto encounter, vs a full science instrument requirement of ~175 W.  That limit will be hit after 2024, with the spacecraft around 60 AU out.  At that point they can turn off the cameras, as there will be little to see.  The graph ends at 2030, after 24 years, when the power will become insufficient for downlinking.

An article on the search for objects beyond Pluto is here. (http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/ViewAbstract.aspx?mID=2924&sKey=00e3ee1c-d964-48e9-b883-919771391381&cKey=195d9f73-7764-40eb-8fed-df751407bde7&mKey={C752C15A-58ED-4FA6-9B4A-725245476867})
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 01/09/2014 07:19 AM


After all this talk about Voyager reaching interstellar space, will New Horizons ever reach this stage or is it not expected to survive its encounter with the Kuiper Belt?

It will, though it will never overtake Voyager 1.

Are we likely to get more information from it as its newer & therefore more likely to last longer into that zone of space?

The Kuiper belt is not particularly dangerous.  Past Pluto, the environment is rather benign.  It is all cold, dark, and empty, with the occasional high energy particle.  There is a very sophisticated fault detection and handling system on board. 

There is a large effort underway to discover a target to which New Horizons can be steered after the Pluto-Charon encounter.  It can only change its path by one or two degrees.  I have not read about any potential targets being found.

There is another issue with the life of the RTG power supply. It was not packed with the "freshest" Plutonium. Some of the disks were old.  My recollection, which could be wrong after eight or so years, is that the RTG yielded just over 200 W, perhaps 205 W, against a minimum to start the mission of something like 190 W.  The plan was to last three or five years beyond Pluto, so the mission will probably get a few more years than that.

Then there are power conservation measures like the Voyagers use.  (Last year the Voyager team turned off the primary attitude control system and went to the backup, which was unused to date, so they could turn off one set of heaters.)

 However, the odds are small of anything lasting longer than the Voyagers' nearly forty years.

I thought they were scanning its course because they were worried about it encountering unseen 'debris'?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: notsorandom on 01/09/2014 01:00 PM
I thought they were scanning its course because they were worried about it encountering unseen 'debris'?
You may be thinking of the Pluto system itself. We have discovered that the area around Pluto contains a lot more "stuff" around it including a few moons than we knew it had when the probe was launched.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/09/2014 04:43 PM
There is a large effort underway to discover a target to which New Horizons can be steered after the Pluto-Charon encounter.  It can only change its path by one or two degrees.  I have not read about any potential targets being found.

Hal Weaver spoke at SBAG yesterday and said they still have not found another KBO to go to.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: hyper_snyper on 01/10/2014 01:03 AM
I can't believe they're almost there.  I still remember the launch like it was yesterday and now NH is approaching the edge of the solar system.  Boggles the mind.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 01/10/2014 04:57 AM
I can't believe they're almost there.  I still remember the launch like it was yesterday and now NH is approaching the edge of the solar system.  Boggles the mind.

Almost there....
Two thirds of a billion kilometers left to go, and it's almost there.
We are almost there.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/10/2014 02:49 PM
You may be thinking of the Pluto system itself. We have discovered that the area around Pluto contains a lot more "stuff" around it including a few moons than we knew it had when the probe was launched.

Weaver spoke at SBAG and addressed this. I hate to say that I was not paying close attention to his talk (I have this bad habit of surfing the web at meetings when I should close the stupid laptop and listen!).

Anyway, he said that they have detected five moons around Pluto and have determined that it's probably "dirty" around the planet because things hit the moons and create debris (and the moons themselves, other than Charon, are likely debris). They are going to be looking for more moons. He said that they have tried to identify strategies for dealing with the dust risk as they fly past. I believe he said that they have identified three possible strategies. One is to go wide. Another is to actually fly through the orbit of Charon (which they assume sweeps its orbit clean). And the last strategy is to point the antenna at the direction of flight and use it as a shield. I think they could use that last one in combination with one of the others.

I'm trying to remember what he said about a very low pass over Pluto. Was that another option or did he mean that going through Charon's orbit was the low pass? Cannot remember.

He did show some images of Europa and then compared them with expected results at Pluto. They expect an overall coverage at a low resolution and then strips of the surface at higher resolution, which I think he said was 100 m/pixel.

He also talked about the science conference last year. The purpose of that was to get all of the information out about Pluto and to indicate their expectations for it, then they will hold another science conference after the encounter and compare what they saw to their expectations. I figure that the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in early 2016 will have a lot of Pluto results, but the big Pluto conference may not come until later 2016 or even 2017.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/11/2014 04:55 AM
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/sbag/meetings/jan2014/presentations/08_1615_Weaver_NH_Status_SBAG.pdf
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/11/2014 04:57 AM
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/sbag/meetings/jan2014/agenda.shtml
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/11/2014 05:01 AM
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 01/11/2014 05:28 AM
That slide is not "apples to oranges".
IIRC LORRI has 10 microradian IFOVs (pixels) with low MTF at Nyquist and MVIC has 20 microradian pixels with good MTF, over 30% according to the paper in Science.  To have MVIC pixels appear six times as large as those of LORRI the images have to be taken at three times the distance.  This is probably due to when the imaging falls in the sequence. 
No dissing Ralph!  ;D
 
I think that when LORRI is taking images at highest approach Ralph has to use its framing Nav camera, not its Time Delay Integration main imagers.  The Field of View that is not same as LORRI so the images may come out with gaps, as LORRI "takes center stage" at that point and spacecraft maneuvers are optimized for it.[/font]

From the New Horizons newsletter, Dr Stern said that they had considered Save Haven Bail-Out Trajectories that swung wide around Pluto, but decided that they were not necessary.  I bielive that they are going quite close to Pluto.  (I think someone chose that term, which really frakked off some people, because of the acronym: SHBOT!)

edit: corrected naming
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Jarnis on 01/11/2014 08:39 AM
I can't believe they're almost there.  I still remember the launch like it was yesterday and now NH is approaching the edge of the solar system.  Boggles the mind.

Lots and lots of Delta-V. (ab)use of Jupiter for some more as a freebie. Very light craft.

The downside is that after all this waiting, the results will be somewhat limited and it is only a very high speed flyby. Merely a first taste, so to speak.

Still, a Pluto orbiter mission is decisively not-doable within sane timeframes using current tech. Hard to combine "get that far out in reasonable time" and "brake to orbit around a tiny planet",so this is the best doable option.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: belegor on 01/11/2014 01:12 PM
And the last strategy is to point the antenna at the direction of flight and use it as a shield.

How would that work? I'd assume that using an antenna as a shield tends to damage the antenna. If that happens, how do they downlink the data from the encounter? (Or in other words, what good would protecting the spacecraft be, if it happens at the cost of downlink capability?)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/11/2014 01:43 PM
And the last strategy is to point the antenna at the direction of flight and use it as a shield.

How would that work? I'd assume that using an antenna as a shield tends to damage the antenna. If that happens, how do they downlink the data from the encounter? (Or in other words, what good would protecting the spacecraft be, if it happens at the cost of downlink capability?)

As he explained it, the antenna is just mass/structure and you can poke some holes in it without affecting the communications capabilities. Better to poke a hole in a piece of structure than in an electronics box.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/11/2014 01:44 PM
Still, a Pluto orbiter mission is decisively not-doable within sane timeframes using current tech. Hard to combine "get that far out in reasonable time" and "brake to orbit around a tiny planet",so this is the best doable option.


See the other thread. If you really want to do a lengthy examination of a KBO, there's one orbiting Neptune.

Update: somebody pointed out to me that it is possible that some of the Centaurs are captured KBOs and could possibly be reached with certain trajectories.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 01/11/2014 05:47 PM
That slide is not "apples to oranges".
IIRC LORRI has 10 microradian IFOVs (pixels) with low MTF at Nyquist and MVIC has 20 microradian pixels with good MTF, over 30% according to the paper in Science.

LORRI has 5 microrad pixels and MVIC has 20 microrad pixels.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 01/15/2014 07:18 PM
http://earthsky.org/space/pluto-encounter-will-begin-in-january-2015

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WUB7dRgClSQ
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 01/15/2014 10:26 PM
http://earthsky.org/space/pluto-encounter-will-begin-in-january-2015 (http://earthsky.org/space/pluto-encounter-will-begin-in-january-2015)

Et Tu, NASA?
In the "Science at NASA" video they put a circle around Ralph, the visible color imager, imaging Infrared spectrometer, and navigation camera.
They labeled it LORRI and discussed the LORRI images.
LORRI is mounted internally on the spacecraft side opposite the RTG, and looking out opposite the RTG.
That round object is the two stage passive radiator for the Ralph detectors, which is mounted on the outer surface of the Ralph telescope.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 01/15/2014 10:41 PM
That slide is not "apples to oranges".
IIRC LORRI has 10 microradian IFOVs (pixels) with low MTF at Nyquist and MVIC has 20 microradian pixels with good MTF, over 30% according to the paper in Science.

LORRI has 5 microrad pixels and MVIC has 20 microrad pixels.

Of course you are correct and I was wrong.
LORRI has IFOVs of less than 5 microradians.  Ralph's MVIC (http://www.boulder.swri.edu/pkb/ssr/ssr-payload-overview.pdf) has IFOVS of 20 microradians and Ralph's LEISA imaging near-infrared (1.25-2.5 μm)  spectrometer has 62 μrad/pixel.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/16/2014 08:29 PM
There was a question here (I can no longer find it) about using New Horizons to image the Neptune L5 Trojan asteroid. I got an answer from Hal Weaver about that. He said that they considered it, but that they were already busy with several other planning activities (including searching for potential hazards around Pluto) and the planning for that observation would have had to take place on top of all these other activities. It was just too much, so they didn't do it.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Nomadd on 01/17/2014 04:14 PM
And the last strategy is to point the antenna at the direction of flight and use it as a shield.

How would that work? I'd assume that using an antenna as a shield tends to damage the antenna. If that happens, how do they downlink the data from the encounter? (Or in other words, what good would protecting the spacecraft be, if it happens at the cost of downlink capability?)

As he explained it, the antenna is just mass/structure and you can poke some holes in it without affecting the communications capabilities. Better to poke a hole in a piece of structure than in an electronics box.
I'm not too sure about that logic. Anything that poked a hole in the antenna would create a spray of debris instead of a pinprick. Smaller particles, but a lot more of them over a larger area. I wouldn't expect that reflector to be thick enough to really help that much.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: avollhar on 01/17/2014 04:19 PM
As you said, any impact on the antenna dish would result in a spray of debris, but each fragment would be easier to stop then. Keyword here is 'whipple shield' (I think Stardust had a few of those).
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 01/17/2014 05:29 PM
I'm not too sure about that logic. Anything that poked a hole in the antenna would create a spray of debris instead of a pinprick. Smaller particles, but a lot more of them over a larger area. I wouldn't expect that reflector to be thick enough to really help that much.

You make it sound as if the antenna is paper-thin. It's not. Pointing the HGA in the ram direction is a proven approach. Cassini used it for more dangerous ring plane crossings including the one during Saturn orbit insertion. Micrometeoroid hits just create tiny bursts of plasma, these can be picked up by the plasma wave instruments and Cassini has done so. When you shift it down to audio range it sounds like a hailstorm hitting the spacecraft. Better to hit inert material than a sensitive spacecraft instrument boresight.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AJA on 01/17/2014 08:06 PM
Another is to actually fly through the orbit of Charon (which they assume sweeps its orbit clean).

So Charon's a planet? :D :D

You make it sound as if the antenna is paper-thin. It's not. Pointing the HGA in the ram direction is a proven approach. Cassini used it for more dangerous ring plane crossings including the one during Saturn orbit insertion. Micrometeoroid hits just create tiny bursts of plasma, these can be picked up by the plasma wave instruments and Cassini has done so. When you shift it down to audio range it sounds like a hailstorm hitting the spacecraft. Better to hit inert material than a sensitive spacecraft instrument boresight.

I think there's a comm-gap here between what's in Nomadd's head when he thinks of dust, and what's in Blackstar and ugordan's heads when they do. Anyone have any numbers? Relative speed, and impact speeds would also help.

Given Cassini's age vast experience with this, do they have any data on the slow shift in comm-frequency required to maintain communication? I'm thinking of the antenna material being sputtered away, changing the geometry very slightly. So where frequency 'f' might have constructively interfered after reflection from the HGA dish (at the detector head), it's now f +/- df. I don't even know if there would be such a change. If the sputtering is more or less symmetric, and fine-grained, then there wouldn't be a frequency shift at all (all path lengths change, but remain equal). Plus, it's probably likely that this sputtering away, would be dominated by high energy GCRs and SEPs. A geometry change would probably alter the effective FOV of the antenna... and this would manifest itself in terms of antenna power required to Tx/Rx.

Even if none of this happened though, aren't you exposing the wiring, the antenna heads and the POAs between them? (Again..what constitutes "dust")?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: hop on 01/17/2014 08:12 PM
I'm not too sure about that logic. Anything that poked a hole in the antenna would create a spray of debris instead of a pinprick. Smaller particles, but a lot more of them over a larger area. I wouldn't expect that reflector to be thick enough to really help that much.
You know the people who run the mission just spent the last 3 years doing very detailed analysis of this very question, right?

It's not just "logic", it's actual data from actual hyper-velocity impacts and detailed modeling of the actual spacecraft structures.

This blog from Alan Stern gives an overview
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2013/20130520-new-horizons-encounter-planning-accelerates.html
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/17/2014 08:27 PM
Another is to actually fly through the orbit of Charon (which they assume sweeps its orbit clean).

So Charon's a planet?

Snort.

The IAU definition of "planet" is just so sloppy that it doesn't stand up. One of the definitions of a planet is that "it must have cleared the neighborhood around its orbit." Well, Pluto has sucked up five objects in its orbit--its moons, including Charon--and probably a few more that haven't been discovered yet.

(And if you want to baffle yourself even more, there are three definitions of a planet according to the IAU, and Pluto clearly satisfies the first two--in orbit around the sun and a sphere--and quite arguably now satisfies the third. So they established their criteria, then ignored them when they demoted Pluto.)

Anyway, I expect that after New Horizons' encounter with Pluto the IAU is going to have to revisit this topic, and maybe they'll get it right this time.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 01/18/2014 10:12 AM

Another is to actually fly through the orbit of Charon (which they assume sweeps its orbit clean).

So Charon's a planet?

Snort.

The IAU definition of "planet" is just so sloppy that it doesn't stand up. One of the definitions of a planet is that "it must have cleared the neighborhood around its orbit." Well, Pluto has sucked up five objects in its orbit--its moons, including Charon--and probably a few more that haven't been discovered yet.

(And if you want to baffle yourself even more, there are three definitions of a planet according to the IAU, and Pluto clearly satisfies the first two--in orbit around the sun and a sphere--and quite arguably now satisfies the third. So they established their criteria, then ignored them when they demoted Pluto.)

Anyway, I expect that after New Horizons' encounter with Pluto the IAU is going to have to revisit this topic, and maybe they'll get it right this time.

Well that's interesting to hear in that case why did they strip it of its planetary status? If it's because there are other larger bodies out there why not just call them all planets as well? There is no rule after all that says there cannot be more than nine planets in the solar system.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Nomadd on 01/18/2014 12:16 PM

This blog from Alan Stern gives an overview
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2013/20130520-new-horizons-encounter-planning-accelerates.html
Decreasing the odds of a mission ending impact from 1/300 to 1/1000 doesn't seem like a very good justification for the science they'd lose at closest approach by using the antenna for a shield. With the latest estimates, it doesn't look like they'll need to do that.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/18/2014 02:11 PM
Well that's interesting to hear in that case why did they strip it of its planetary status? If it's because there are other larger bodies out there why not just call them all planets as well? There is no rule after all that says there cannot be more than nine planets in the solar system.

You'd have to read one of the books on this subject. Mike Brown wrote one (I worked with Mike and he's a fun guy--if you ever meet him, ask him about the weirdest KBOs that have been discovered), so did Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

I think that it is possible that the IAU reached the right conclusion, but for the wrong reasons. But that's still a sloppy way to do it. If they are going to establish scientific definitions, they should make clear ones. And I agree with you that it is not a good argument that we would have "too many planets." If they just decide that any spherical body above a certain diameter in orbit around the sun is a planet, then who cares if by that definition we have hundreds of planets?

Anyway, like I wrote above, expect this issue to get hot again next year during the encounter and the IAU is going to come under a lot of scrutiny. Maybe that will result in a change.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: baldusi on 01/18/2014 02:46 PM
Well, let's be frank. The definition is bad. In particular, Pluto/Charon might eve be characterized as a binary system. Which isn't even considered on the definition. But paraphrasing Churchill, IAU definition is the worst, except all the others I know.
There's a very telling graphic, if you graph all the solat system objects by mass. You look at it and you'd think that's very clear what a planet is. May be is a quirk of our solar sistem, bu that's what we have.
May be if they tried to get a good definition for exoplanet, including binary systems.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: plutogno on 01/18/2014 03:27 PM
come on... we are not starting an endless thread on the definition of planet and flog a dead horse, are we?
I think that the IAU definition makes perfect sense, while the words they used for it are poorly chosen. As someone recently wrote in a letter to Sky & Telescope (Jan 2014 issue, p. 8 )

Quote
the oft-criticized requirement that a body clear its neighborhood makes perfect sense: if you calculate the ratio of a body’s mass to that of all the other matter it can influence in its orbital zone, the ratio is greater than 5,000 for the eight major planets but is less than 1 for Pluto, Eris, and Ceres.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Nomadd on 01/18/2014 03:34 PM
 I think one of the reason for demoting Pluto was that there was no clear reason to call it a planet if you didn't give that status to Ceres. And with at least four other Kuiper belt objects entering the fray and no firm definition of how far out you're going to count they could wind up with hundreds of planets some day. People seem to lose sight of the fact that they're not defining the object. Just the word.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/18/2014 04:25 PM
come on... we are not starting an endless thread on the definition of planet and flog a dead horse, are we?


If I don't do this then I have no excuse for not cleaning the kitchen.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 01/18/2014 06:58 PM

I think one of the reason for demoting Pluto was that there was no clear reason to call it a planet if you didn't give that status to Ceres. And with at least four other Kuiper belt objects entering the fray and no firm definition of how far out you're going to count they could wind up with hundreds of planets some day. People seem to lose sight of the fact that they're not defining the object. Just the word.

I don't see the problem with having lots of planets in the Solar System as mentioned above. Calling Pluto a minor-planet just seems to be fudging the issue with words.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 01/20/2014 10:31 PM
There was a question here (I can no longer find it) about using New Horizons to image the Neptune L5 Trojan asteroid. I got an answer from Hal Weaver about that. He said that they considered it, but that they were already busy with several other planning activities (including searching for potential hazards around Pluto) and the planning for that observation would have had to take place on top of all these other activities. It was just too much, so they didn't do it.

I got the same response from Alan Stern.  He said it would have been "just a point of light", even if it was "only" 1-2 AU away.

Perhaps any astrometry and photometry results they could have obtained can be gotten over time from ground based systems and Hubble, and so not worth expending the effort fron New Horizons' very limited labor/command/fuel/etc. budgets.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 01/21/2014 03:20 AM
Well, the response I got from Weaver was that it was more an issue of timing--if they weren't busy with a million other things, they might have been able to do it.

But I agree that it may be easier and possibly even better to use telescopes to do it, with limited value using New Horizons.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ChrisC on 02/03/2014 05:20 AM
Lots of great information in this pair of blog posts, including info on the Hubble request:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2014/20140123-new-horizons-updates-part-1.html

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2014/20140124-new-horizons-updates-part-2.html

I didn't see a section in L2 for unmanned, so I'll ask here ... Any chance we could get that presentation that is seen in those blog entries?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 02/03/2014 02:56 PM

Lots of great information in this pair of blog posts, including info on the Hubble request:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2014/20140123-new-horizons-updates-part-1.html

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2014/20140124-new-horizons-updates-part-2.html

I didn't see a section in L2 for unmanned, so I'll ask here ... Any chance we could get that presentation that is seen in those blog entries?

Good articles but confusion about the return of the data.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 02/26/2014 01:44 AM
As things start to ramp up to active operations, we're starting a postdoc blog. Amanda is in charge of it, but I can pass off any suggestions.

http://plutopostcards.tumblr.com

Simon (the other New Horizons postdoc)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: LouScheffer on 02/26/2014 07:21 PM

Given Cassini's age vast experience with this, do they have any data on the slow shift in comm-frequency required to maintain communication? I'm thinking of the antenna material being sputtered away, changing the geometry very slightly. So where frequency 'f' might have constructively interfered after reflection from the HGA dish (at the detector head), it's now f +/- df. I don't even know if there would be such a change. If the sputtering is more or less symmetric, and fine-grained, then there wouldn't be a frequency shift at all (all path lengths change, but remain equal). Plus, it's probably likely that this sputtering away, would be dominated by high energy GCRs and SEPs. A geometry change would probably alter the effective FOV of the antenna... and this would manifest itself in terms of antenna power required to Tx/Rx.

There are standard rules of thumb on how much you can deform an antenna until the performance starts to suffer (look up "Antenna Tolerance Theory", Ruze is one of the original authors).  Typically lambda/14 is where you see a significant hit.  Since NH transmits on X band, about 3 cm, you'd need to erode more than 2mm from the antenna before you've got a big effect.  This would seem the least of their problems....
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 03/06/2014 02:39 AM
Update on the blog: http://plutopostcards.tumblr.com/post/78698548429/pimr-attendees-in-the-tombaugh-science-operations

The gist is that the spacecraft is looking fine and everything is proceeding OK, except we still don't have a KBO. To a large extent, that's because our understanding of the Kuiper Belt has advanced quite a bit since New Horizons launched 8 years ago. We now know that the Kuiper Belt is a lot more collisional than people had assumed, and so there are much fewer small objects than we expected. Science marches on. The upshot of that is that the KBO searches (in retrospect) should have discovered 0.7 KBOs the spacecraft could reach. So, it's just bad luck so far.

And the gyros in the IMUs are a bit scary because they came from the same production batch as the ones that failed on STEREO-B. No apparent problems yet, though.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 03/06/2014 10:40 AM
Good to hear, Simon. Be sure to wish your probe all my best when you next radio!  ;)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: redliox on 03/12/2014 06:53 PM
I am surprised no one else discovered this news bit earlier:
http://www.americaspace.com/?p=24691
According to the New Horizons’ twitter feed, @NewHorizons2015, and Principal Investigator Alan Stern, the New Horizons probe will make a long-range encounter with a Kuiper Belt Object in January 2015. The object is temporarily designated VNH0004 by the mission team. It does not yet have an International Astronomical Union designation.

The encounter will take place at a range of about 75 million km, a distance somewhat subject to change depending on how the probe makes its course correction.

At such a great distance, New Horizons will not be able to discern features on the surface of the KBO, nor will it be able to make spectroscopic observations to try to determine the composition of the surface material.

However, New Horizons will be in an excellent position to look for small, close-in moons around the object. It will also be in a position to observe the object’s phase curve, which is a measure of how the reflectivity of the surface changes as a function of viewing angle. This will reveal a great deal about the fluffiness of the surface material (note – fluffiness is a technical term meaning, roughly, “the opposite of dense”). These two observations cannot be made from Earth, even with the most powerful telescopes available.

-Christopher Paul of America Space


Apparently New Horizons will be encountering, remotely, a Kuiper Belt object before Pluto!  If anyone can gleam are further information about this upcoming VNH0004 encounter or if NH has identified post-Pluto targets definitely add it here!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: plutogno on 03/12/2014 07:26 PM
from my forthcoming book "Robotic Exploration of the Solar System Part IV"

Quote
In January 2015 it will be the turn of another small object, currently known only by its preliminary, non-official designation of VNH00004, which will come within 0.5 AU of the probe. It is possible that some observations might be made to gain data on the appearance of a small Kuiper Belt Object at phase angles inaccessible from Earth. Such data would not only yield scientific information on the surface texture, but would also assist in planning future distant encounters by revealing how bright an outer solar system object would appear to an approaching spacecraft.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 03/12/2014 09:18 PM
Apparently New Horizons will be encountering, remotely, a Kuiper Belt object before Pluto!  If anyone can gleam are further information about this upcoming VNH0004 encounter or if NH has identified post-Pluto targets definitely add it here!

It's mainly an exercise for the operations team to practice with. We might get some phase information from the LORRI images, but that's an optional bonus. The object will defiantly not be resolved.

Also, New Horizons is going to image Neptune around the time it crosses Neptune's orbit this summer (July-ish). Again, it won't be all that scientifically interesting (Earth is closer to Neptune than New Horizons!), but it will be cool to see Neptune and Triton at high phase angle. That's also when the New Horizons mock-up will move from Discovery's tailpipe at Udar-Hazy to the main Air & Space Museum on the National Mall.

And, a new blog post: http://plutopostcards.tumblr.com/post/79383878154/picture-from-here-next-gas-station-167-miles
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 05/06/2014 05:14 PM
Quote
As the $700 million New Horizons probe approaches its July 2015 encounter with Pluto, scientists back on Earth are worried that a priceless chance to study a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) beyond it may be slipping away.

Even with the most capable ground-based telescopes, a New Horizons search team has failed to find a KBO that New Horizons can reach as it hurtles toward interstellar space following its Pluto flyby. The search continues, but with time running short the project is seeking time on the Hubble Space Telescope to improve the odds that a feasible target can be found.

The New Horizons project needs to know where that target will be when the spacecraft passes through, so it needs some lead time to calculate the object’s orbit around the Sun. Otherwise, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study one of the mysterious bodies at the edge of the Solar System may be squandered.

“The scientific bounty of a spacecraft encounter with a primitive KBO is realizable in our lifetimes, but only with New Horizons and only if a suitable target can be found while there is still time to reach it,” wrote two NASA scientific advisory groups in an April 30 joint statement. “No other mission currently in flight, in build, or in design will reach the Kuiper belt. Time is of the essence for New Horizons.”

The New Horizon’s team has asked for an initial 40 orbits – about 2.5 days – of time on the Hubble to peer “deeper” into the region beyond Pluto for promising candidates. Bill McKinnon, a professor of Earth and Planetary Science at Washington University, said the ability of the space telescope to detect objects that are much fainter than can be seen from the ground, combined with a narrowing of the region that needs to be searched, suggests that a target can be found during a “trial run” this summer. If no target appears, the search will provide a statistical justification for applying more Hubble time to the problem.

Rest on link.

http://aviationweek.com/space/new-horizons-needs-hubble-find-kuiper-belt-target
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 05/06/2014 05:51 PM
We had a red beacon yesterday.

Usually, when the spacecraft is in hibernation (with most things turned off, and spin-stabilized to point at Earth), we get an 8-bit beacon every Monday to check that everything is OK. A zero means everything is OK, aka green beacon. The beacon yesterday was red 2. Not disastrous, but not good either. The telemetry that came down today is that it was a C&DH reset. This is not first C&DH reset, and during the encounter, we had already planned to use the fresher of the two C&DH sides, not the one that just reset. Still, not a great way to start the week.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 05/17/2014 11:52 PM
The New Horizons Message Initiative has been approved by NASA!

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140517-global-selfie-message-new-horizons-space/

More info about how and what we can submit for the crowd-sourced message will be provided on the website below on August 25 of this year (which marks 25 years since Voyager 2 flew past Neptune and will also be the day that New Horizons crosses the ice giant's orbit before the Big Flyby in July of 2015)

http://www.oneearthmessage.org/

The first 10,000 people who signed the petition should have their names submitted with the message as well
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: PahTo on 05/18/2014 06:28 PM
Quote
As the $700 million New Horizons probe approaches its July 2015 encounter with Pluto, scientists back on Earth are worried that a priceless chance to study a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) beyond it may be slipping away.

Even with the most capable ground-based telescopes, a New Horizons search team has failed to find a KBO that New Horizons can reach as it hurtles toward interstellar space following its Pluto flyby. The search continues, but with time running short the project is seeking time on the Hubble Space Telescope to improve the odds that a feasible target can be found.

The New Horizons project needs to know where that target will be when the spacecraft passes through, so it needs some lead time to calculate the object’s orbit around the Sun. Otherwise, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study one of the mysterious bodies at the edge of the Solar System may be squandered.

“The scientific bounty of a spacecraft encounter with a primitive KBO is realizable in our lifetimes, but only with New Horizons and only if a suitable target can be found while there is still time to reach it,” wrote two NASA scientific advisory groups in an April 30 joint statement. “No other mission currently in flight, in build, or in design will reach the Kuiper belt. Time is of the essence for New Horizons.”

The New Horizon’s team has asked for an initial 40 orbits – about 2.5 days – of time on the Hubble to peer “deeper” into the region beyond Pluto for promising candidates. Bill McKinnon, a professor of Earth and Planetary Science at Washington University, said the ability of the space telescope to detect objects that are much fainter than can be seen from the ground, combined with a narrowing of the region that needs to be searched, suggests that a target can be found during a “trial run” this summer. If no target appears, the search will provide a statistical justification for applying more Hubble time to the problem.

Rest on link.

http://aviationweek.com/space/new-horizons-needs-hubble-find-kuiper-belt-target

Is there any update about this/getting time on Hubble?
Thanks!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: as58 on 05/19/2014 07:27 AM
Is there any update about this/getting time on Hubble?
Thanks!

If they applied for time in proposal cycle 22, the application results should be announced by the end of June.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Sesquipedalian on 05/19/2014 01:13 PM
We had a red beacon yesterday.

Usually, when the spacecraft is in hibernation (with most things turned off, and spin-stabilized to point at Earth), we get an 8-bit beacon every Monday to check that everything is OK. A zero means everything is OK, aka green beacon. The beacon yesterday was red 2. Not disastrous, but not good either. The telemetry that came down today is that it was a C&DH reset. This is not first C&DH reset, and during the encounter, we had already planned to use the fresher of the two C&DH sides, not the one that just reset. Still, not a great way to start the week.

Can we assume this red beacon was resolved satisfactorily?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 05/27/2014 09:59 PM
Yeah, it was like the ones before, and resolved with a C&DH reset. This is one of those low probability things that most interplanetary spacecraft don't live long enough to worry about, but NH has to deal with. And since it was probably triggered by a double cosmic ray hit (single bit flips are recoverable, double flips aren't), and the galactic cosmic ray flux increases with distance from the Sun, this sort of thing is going to be more likely as the spacecraft moves outward into the Kuiper Belt.

On the KBO search, they did recently get some data using one of the Magellan Telescopes. It's nowhere near as good as the HST images will be, but they're searching it all the same just in case.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 05/31/2014 03:03 AM
Yeah, it was like the ones before, and resolved with a C&DH reset. This is one of those low probability things that most interplanetary spacecraft don't live long enough to worry about, but NH has to deal with. And since it was probably triggered by a double cosmic ray hit (single bit flips are recoverable, double flips aren't), and the galactic cosmic ray flux increases with distance from the Sun, this sort of thing is going to be more likely as the spacecraft moves outward into the Kuiper Belt.

On the KBO search, they did recently get some data using one of the Magellan Telescopes. It's nowhere near as good as the HST images will be, but they're searching it all the same just in case.

Fascinating that Hubble is still the go to asset for this type of search despite all the huge, ground based telescopes all ready built or under construction whose advocates belittle Hubble's "miniscule" 2.4m mirror, claim far greater sensitivity, and claim to meet or exceed it's resolution via active atmospheric interference correction...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 05/31/2014 10:20 AM

Yeah, it was like the ones before, and resolved with a C&DH reset. This is one of those low probability things that most interplanetary spacecraft don't live long enough to worry about, but NH has to deal with. And since it was probably triggered by a double cosmic ray hit (single bit flips are recoverable, double flips aren't), and the galactic cosmic ray flux increases with distance from the Sun, this sort of thing is going to be more likely as the spacecraft moves outward into the Kuiper Belt.

On the KBO search, they did recently get some data using one of the Magellan Telescopes. It's nowhere near as good as the HST images will be, but they're searching it all the same just in case.

Fascinating that Hubble is still the go to asset for this type of search despite all the huge, ground based telescopes all ready built or under construction whose advocates belittle Hubble's "miniscule" 2.4m mirror, claim far greater sensitivity, and claim to meet or exceed it's resolution via active atmospheric interference correction...

Which makes it a shame that HST will never be serviced again, but that's a whole other off topic issue.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Burninate on 05/31/2014 12:33 PM
Yeah, it was like the ones before, and resolved with a C&DH reset. This is one of those low probability things that most interplanetary spacecraft don't live long enough to worry about, but NH has to deal with. And since it was probably triggered by a double cosmic ray hit (single bit flips are recoverable, double flips aren't), and the galactic cosmic ray flux increases with distance from the Sun, this sort of thing is going to be more likely as the spacecraft moves outward into the Kuiper Belt.

On the KBO search, they did recently get some data using one of the Magellan Telescopes. It's nowhere near as good as the HST images will be, but they're searching it all the same just in case.

Fascinating that Hubble is still the go to asset for this type of search despite all the huge, ground based telescopes all ready built or under construction whose advocates belittle Hubble's "miniscule" 2.4m mirror, claim far greater sensitivity, and claim to meet or exceed it's resolution via active atmospheric interference correction...
The resolution is part of the equation, but not the only part by far.  The most important figure of merit for large-area-survey astronomy tends to be the etendue: the effective mirror area * the effective solid angle, in units (m^2)(deg^2).  This figure is not great for Hubble, but it's also horrible for most of the very large terrestrial telescopes, which tend to seek higher resolution via compromises that leave them with a tiny, tiny field of view;  Adaptive optics don't work for large fields of view at all, the atmosphere is only constant over fields arc-minutes in size.  We don't have many telescopes that are optimized for survey work.

Subaru's Hyper-Suprime-Cam (recently finished), PAN-STARRS (only 1/4 telescopes built and funding cancelled), and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (still being built) would be major exceptions, survey instruments that accept the natural atmospheric seeing and just try to image as much light & sky as they can, blurred by atmosphere.  Hubble can compensate somewhat for small FOV by doing long, high resolution exposures without having to mess with seeing and adaptive optics tuning.  If Hubble doesn't work, they will be seeking time on Subaru HSC, though the resolution needs work out such that they're placing their hopes on a long survey by Hubble at this time.  If LSST or PAN-STARRS PS4 or one of the higher-N arrays of PAN-STARRS that were initially proposed, were finished in the time window necessary, those might be substantially better options than Hubble.

The reason they're in this mess is that the mission was launched as Pluto passed in front of the Milky Way, making it very difficult to perform precision photometry of faint objects against such a bright, starry, dusty background, and it's only coming out slowly over the next several years, but they need to burn to adjust for their secondary target *soon* to get into the right keyhole at Pluto.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 06/16/2014 05:11 PM
New Horizons is awake again.

Quote
While many kids in the U.S. are starting their school summer vacations, New Horizons is about to get back to work! Speeding along on its way to Pluto the spacecraft has just woken up from hibernation, a nap it began five months (and 100 million miles) ago.
The next time New Horizons awakens from hibernation in December, it will be beginning its actual and long-awaited encounter with Pluto! But first the spacecraft and its team have a busy and exciting summer ahead.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/112612/new-horizons-wakes-up-for-the-summer/#ixzz34p61YRgN
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: as58 on 06/16/2014 06:31 PM
The application for HST time was succesful: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2014/29/full/

Also here, with a rather sensationalistic and misleading title: http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/06/hubble-telescope-to-attempt-rescue-of-pluto-mission.html
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 06/16/2014 06:52 PM

The application for HST time was succesful: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2014/29/full/

Also here, with a rather sensationalistic and misleading title: http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/06/hubble-telescope-to-attempt-rescue-of-pluto-mission.html

Thanks for those. Glad to hear they've been granted time on Hubble to look for another target.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 06/16/2014 07:01 PM
another of the same, but from NASA

June 16, 2014
RELEASE 14-167
NASA Hubble to Begin Search Beyond Pluto for a New Horizons Mission Target

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/june/nasa-hubble-to-begin-search-beyond-pluto-for-a-new-horizons-mission-target/#.U58-jvldWkE
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 06/16/2014 07:03 PM
At some point it will probably make sense to start at least one other NH thread, focusing on the science discoveries. And of course we'll end up with a live updates thread at some point. We're a little over one year from the Pluto encounter.

There are lots of interesting conjectures appearing about Pluto now. In fact, I think there was a pre-encounter Pluto science conference that was an attempt to summarize all of our knowledge about Pluto, with the goal of revisiting those issues again after the encounter (a really good exercise when you think about it).

Here's this:

http://io9.com/an-ocean-on-pluto-s-moon-scientists-will-keep-an-eye-o-1590918491

An Ocean On Pluto’s Moon? Scientists Will Keep An Eye Out For Cracks.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: baldusi on 06/16/2014 07:42 PM
I'm wondering if there was really a chance of them not getting the Hubble time. A 700M planetary mission that offers the single one chance in probably at least a couple of decades to observe a KBO. Are really the Planetary needs so little important to Astronomy division? More in general, how do each division shares its assets? Thing like Hubble and Spitzer must be required by other divisions all the time.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: hop on 06/16/2014 08:03 PM
I'm wondering if there was really a chance of them not getting the Hubble time.
Yes. For starters, they had to make a convincing case that they would actually have a reasonable chance of finding a target with Hubble. As the press release states, continued observations are conditional on the results of the pilot run.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 06/16/2014 09:59 PM
Yes, it was a bit down to the wire for many reasons (not all of them scientific).

We already have the first five frames from Hubble, taken literally this morning. Over the next few weeks, we will have to find at least two new KBOs in the images in order for the pilot program to be successful and for us to have confidence that we have a >85% chance of finding a targetable KBO in the full search. Hopefully, we'll find many more than that...

And the complementary ground-based search using the Hyper Suprime-Cam on the Japanese Subaru telescope (in Hawaii) is still going ahead, the more chances of detecting something the better.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 06/16/2014 11:01 PM
There are lots of interesting conjectures appearing about Pluto now. In fact, I think there was a pre-encounter Pluto science conference that was an attempt to summarize all of our knowledge about Pluto, with the goal of revisiting those issues again after the encounter (a really good exercise when you think about it).

That was last summer (at the two-years-to-encounter point), and the associated special issue of Icarus is currently being created. This search (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleListURL&_method=list&_ArticleListID=-598827624&_st=13&filterType=&searchtype=a&originPage=rslt_list&_origin=&_mlktType=&md5=d6ef46ab568ae2e7490f3668c51897d3) should get most of the papers that will be in the special issue.

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: robertross on 06/17/2014 01:40 AM
I felt this deserved a link here

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/06/hubble-recruited-new-horizons-pluto-target/

Chris G. & Chris B.'s article on the New Horizons' new partner in space.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: mikelepage on 06/17/2014 07:39 AM
I'm assuming that if a target was found, they would almost certainly plan to use the Pluto-Charon system encounter to make any significant adjustments to the trajectory.  As I understand it, the majority of data transfer for measurements/images of the encounter itself is planned to occur after the encounter, so any calculations for future trajectories would have to take into account the risk of not being obtaining good data from the primary mission. 

You don't want to get too close and wipe out on a previously undiscovered ring system, and yet the best Kuiper belt object Hubble discovers may make it worth doing a closer pass of the system (for a greater trajectory change), taking a higher risk of wiping out, but also doing a mission that would have the highest scientific payoff, both for the Pluto-Charon system encounter and any future object encounter.

They'll cross that bridge when they come to it, I suppose.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 06/17/2014 11:59 AM
I'm assuming that if a target was found, they would almost certainly plan to use the Pluto-Charon system encounter to make any significant adjustments to the trajectory. 

No, they want to fly the trajectory which satisfies the primary mission requirements for coverage, resolution, occultations, etc. It takes a lot of time to plan the timings and observation schedules for just a single trajectory, imposing a retargeting requirement for an object that is not known yet would throw a wrench into the planning.

They will rely on the small amount of onboard delta-V to provide the necessary retargeting after the Pluto encounter. Basically, they're searching for KBOs that will at the given time be located inside a narrow cone around the nominal flyby trajectory that will be reachable by NH using its course correction capability. Keep in mind that the total mass of the Pluto system is low and the flyby velocity high so it wouldn't be very effective at gravity assists, anyway.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: metaphor on 06/17/2014 07:04 PM
The total delta-v change Pluto will give the New Horizons spacecraft on its current flight plan would be around 12 m/s.  From what I've heard, the spacecraft has about 100-200 m/s of delta-v available from onboard propellant.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: hop on 06/18/2014 03:51 AM
Emily Lakdawalla has an excellent in-depth post about the Hubble plan on the planetary society blog http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2014/06170922-hubble-to-the-rescue.html
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: leovinus on 06/18/2014 04:03 AM
Do we know whether Hubble will scout for new KBO targets for New Horizons only, or also talk a closer look at objects identified by the Ice Hunters? Some KBOs are mentioned in the comments attached to this video
http://vimeo.com/45883622
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: mikelepage on 06/18/2014 11:36 AM
Interesting.  I wouldn't have guessed that the delta-V from Pluto could be that (relatively) small compared to onboard propellant.

I wonder what the priority weighting is on objects which might be reached in say a year or two after Pluto, versus 10 years later.  Perhaps there will be few enough objects that there really isn't too much of a choice.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 06/18/2014 02:28 PM
Do we know whether Hubble will scout for new KBO targets for New Horizons only, or also talk a closer look at objects identified by the Ice Hunters? Some KBOs are mentioned in the comments attached to this video
http://vimeo.com/45883622

AIUI, Hubble took a few images  that were slewed at a rate that should correspond to KBOs in the targeted region.  If the team can find a few (perhaps two) objects in this test search they will get more time to expand to the full search.  The goal is to find an object that New Horizons can divert to after the Pluto system encounter within the ~200 m/s limit of the onboard fuel.

edit: So no, there was no approval to go after Ice Hunter targets.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 06/22/2014 09:41 PM
Agenda for the upcoming Small Bodies Assessment Group meeting:

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/sbag/meetings/jul2014/agenda.pdf
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 07/01/2014 06:25 PM
Apparently the NH team has tweeted that they have found two potential flyby KBO targets during their Hubble search.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: plutogno on 07/01/2014 06:45 PM
a press release
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2014/35/full/
they seem to have demonstrated that Hubble can detect small KBO, but the two may not be reachable
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Space Junkie on 07/01/2014 07:19 PM
Relevant quote from Emily Lakdawalla's 6/17 post linked above:
Quote
The more low-inclination objects we find in the pilot program....the more likely we are to find an accessible object in the full search....if we exactly reach our trigger threshold (2 cold Kuiper belt objects discovered in the pilot), we have an 85% probability of finding at least one accessible object in the full search.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 07/01/2014 08:03 PM
Here is one of their KBO finds:

https://twitter.com/Alex_Parker/status/484052458088312832/photo/1

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: redliox on 07/01/2014 10:04 PM
Here is one of their KBO finds:

https://twitter.com/Alex_Parker/status/484052458088312832/photo/1

Not too many details about that aside from the picture, but I can only presume this is something at least in the search field.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: redliox on 07/05/2014 09:30 AM
The search for Hubble may have paid off:
http://www.americaspace.com/?p=63708 (http://www.americaspace.com/?p=63708)
Quote
During their pilot search with Hubble, scientists were able to discover two very faint KBOs at a distance of approximately 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) that had gone unnoticed by previous ground-based observations, due to their very small apparent magnitudes of 26.8 and 27.3 respectively, which indicates a diameter no bigger than 20 miles (32 km) across. These new KBOs were discovered after an extensive analysis of approximately 200 photographs of 20 different star fields taken with the Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) between June 16 and June 26, during a total of 40 Hubble orbits (the equivalent of 2.5 days worth of observations). Using sophisticated image-processing algorithms to block out the light of background stars, scientists were able to identify the motion of the two faint KBOs in a series of multiple exposures taken approximately 10 minutes apart, while once more showcasing Hubble’s unmatched value as an orbiting astronomical observatory. “Once again, the Hubble Space Telescope has demonstrated the ability to explore the Universe in new and unexpected ways,” says John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “Hubble science is at its best when it works in concert with other NASA missions and ground-based observatories.”

Despite being a fascinating discovery, additional work is required before it can be established that the orbits of these newly found objects make them suitable targets for the New Horizons spacecraft. In the meantime, having met their goal of identifying at least two KBOs during their pilot Hubble search, the mission’s science team has been given the green light by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee, to proceed with a wider search until the end of August during a total of 160 Hubble orbits, in the hopes of discovering more such objects, thus increasing the chances of finding an optimal target.

I find it fitting that barely 36 hours ago I spoke with an astronomer at the University of Arizona in Tucson, mainly about applying as a student next year, and we ended up talking about Pluto for about 30 minutes.  There will be a great deal of excitement for the Kuiper Belt now!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 07/06/2014 05:58 AM
We detected two objects in the pilot program, and both are towards the center of the field. We are still working hard to figure out their orbits and if they are possibly encounter-able. The orbits that we get from just the pilot aren't enough to tell for sure, but they could be enough to exclude the possibility that the object is close enough to New Horizons's trajectory for a flyby. If they still look good after the initial orbit fitting, we have time on Hubble to make follow up observations to refine their orbits.

The main program starts Monday UTC, which means that here in Boulder we will start drinking from the firehose of HST data on Monday morning. And that I may not be getting much sleep for the next few weeks while I keep the servers churning...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 07/07/2014 03:06 PM
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is farther out than Pluto's minimum distance to the Sun. We're in Pluto-space now.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152235530162918&set=a.164320877917.120400.79209882917&type=1&theater
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 07/07/2014 06:29 PM
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is farther out than Pluto's minimum distance to the Sun. We're in Pluto-space now.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152235530162918&set=a.164320877917.120400.79209882917&type=1&theater (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152235530162918&set=a.164320877917.120400.79209882917&type=1&theater)

Let's pick nits over arbitrary distinctions!

Around July 15, 2014, one year to the day before its closest approach to Pluto, New Horizons will be farther from the Sun than Neptune.  That will be another criterion for saying NH is "in Pluto-space".

New Horizons has been closer to Pluto than to any of the (other 8) ) planets for some time now, but we all know that Pluto doesn't dominate and hasn't "cleaned out" its space.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 07/15/2014 06:01 PM
ScienceCasts: One Year to Pluto

Published on Jul 14, 2014
Visit http://science.nasa.gov/ for more.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is only a year away from Pluto. Researchers are buzzing with anticipation as NASA prepares to encounter a new world for the first time in decades.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDIsbN-e1qU
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 07/24/2014 05:31 AM
We've received the first few optical navigation pictures of Pluto and Charon for this year. These will be used to refine the heliocentric orbit of Pluto, and thus allow us to plan out the observations more precisely. Because the observation sequence is uploaded to the spacecraft ahead of time, and everything is keyed to the spacecraft clock, these images will help make sure the spacecraft is actually pointing in the direction of Pluto (and not where Pluto was or will be).

http://plutopostcards.tumblr.com/post/92642945428/hey-look-at-what-came-in-from-the-deep-space
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 07/25/2014 03:15 AM
https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/492314148034711553/photo/1

Pluto-Charon from 400 million km away...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 07/26/2014 06:18 AM
And here's some of the nitty-gritty on how the KBO search process works. It's complicated, but we have a system laid down now that we can make a first pass at detecting objects within about 24 hours of when HST takes a particular image set. That's good, because we are still getting data at the rate of 8-12 GB per day...

http://plutopostcards.tumblr.com/post/92827625268/the-swri-contingent-of-the-new-horizons-post-pluto
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 08/04/2014 03:40 PM
The Small Bodies Assessment Group had its meeting in Washington, DC last week. A lot of interesting discussion and developments there. Some of the material is relevant to this thread. You can download the presentations from here:

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/sbag/meetings/jul2014/agenda.shtml
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 08/04/2014 04:30 PM
https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/492314148034711553/photo/1

Pluto-Charon from 400 million km away...

When might we start to expect images that are better than any images that currently exist of this system?

Also its a planet again? missed that one. Yay!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: cleonard on 08/04/2014 06:01 PM
https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/492314148034711553/photo/1

Pluto-Charon from 400 million km away...

When might we start to expect images that are better than any images that currently exist of this system?

Also its a planet again? missed that one. Yay!
May 2015 if I remember correctly
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Sesquipedalian on 08/04/2014 06:56 PM
Also its a planet again? missed that one. Yay!

[citation needed]
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: pagheca on 08/05/2014 08:41 PM
When high resolution radioastronomy helps space missions...:

(http://www.almaobservatory.org/images/newsreleases/140805_ALMA_pluto_01.jpg)

ALMA Pinpoints Pluto to Help Guide NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) are making high-precision measurements of Pluto's location and orbit around the Sun to help NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft accurately home in on its target when it nears Pluto and its five known moons in July 2015.

More information: http://www.almaobservatory.org/
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Scylla on 08/08/2014 01:23 PM
New Horizons Spies Charon Orbiting Pluto
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20140807.php

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 08/10/2014 04:23 PM
Note that the gif was purposefully centered on the stars in order to show Pluto's reflex motion around the system's center of mass. Pluto is still smaller than one pixel across, so it looks lumpy because of LORRI's rather strangely-shaped Point-Spread Function. The next major OPNAV campaign (this winter) will be able to see Nix and Hydra.

The ALMA measurements are proving interesting. I think it's the first time that they have used ALMA to measure high-precision positions for a solar system object, and there still some systematics to pull out. Many of them are due to Pluto's wildly-varying surface (bright poles, dark equator) causing different thermal emission in different places and confusing the position. There was some talk of using Iapetus as a calibration, as it has a similarly-varying surface.

Also, Hubble has taken the bulk of the data for the KBO search program, and we are busy, busy, busy searching through it...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: cartman on 08/10/2014 04:40 PM
Also, Hubble has taken the bulk of the data for the KBO search program, and we are busy, busy, busy searching through it...
Anything you can share about that? or let me phrase it this way: are you optimistic or pessimistic today?  :)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: saturnapollo on 08/10/2014 04:44 PM
Quote
Also its a planet again? missed that one. Yay!

As far as I can make it it isn't. The article which started the rumour was an April Fool.

http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/pluto-reclassified-as-a-major-planet/

Keith
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: baldusi on 08/10/2014 04:57 PM
So, is the Barycenter within Pluto or can we talk about a binary system?
One more, what if the barycenter is outside both bodies but one reached hydrostatic equilibrium and the other didn't? Is is still a binary?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 08/10/2014 05:29 PM
https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/492314148034711553/photo/1 (https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/492314148034711553/photo/1)

Pluto-Charon from 400 million km away...

When might we start to expect images that are better than any images that currently exist of this system?

Also its a planet again? missed that one. Yay!
May 2015 if I remember correctly
https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/492314148034711553/photo/1 (https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/492314148034711553/photo/1)

Pluto-Charon from 400 million km away...

When might we start to expect images that are better than any images that currently exist of this system?

Also its a planet again? missed that one. Yay!

LORRI has an IFOV of 10 microradians
Ralph has an IFOV of 20 microradians
Hubble WFC has an IFOV of 0.25 microradians
Hubble ACS has an IFOV of 0.20 microradians.  (HRC had 0.13 uR but is not working)
Today, New Horizons is 2.69 AU from Pluto and 29.6 AU from Earth.
So LORRI has a resolution equal to 0.92 microradians from Earth.
With 339 days until closest encounter that gives about 250 days until LORRI has better resolution than Hubble 75 or so days out.
Give or take....



And yes, Pluto and Charon are TWO dwarf planets!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Scylla on 08/10/2014 05:48 PM
So, is the Barycenter within Pluto or can we talk about a binary system?
One more, what if the barycenter is outside both bodies but one reached hydrostatic equilibrium and the other didn't? Is is still a binary?
From the wiki..
Quote
Pluto has five known moons: Charon (the largest, with a diameter just over half that of Pluto), Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx.[22] Pluto and Charon are sometimes described as a binary system because the barycenter of their orbits does not lie within either body.[23] The IAU has yet to formalise a definition for binary dwarf planets, and Charon is officially classified as a moon of Pluto.[24

The paper footnote 23 refers to..
http://www.as.utexas.edu/~fritz/astrometry/Papers_in_pdf/%7BOlk03%7DPlutoCharon.pdf

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 08/12/2014 02:13 PM
So, is the Barycenter within Pluto or can we talk about a binary system?
One more, what if the barycenter is outside both bodies but one reached hydrostatic equilibrium and the other didn't? Is is still a binary?

Oh yes, Pluto-Charon is a proper binary system, with four circumbinary satellites. And it's not alone; around 20% of objects beyond Neptune are binaries. Here's a list: http://www2.lowell.edu/~grundy/tnbs/status.html

We will start real approach operations with "Approach Phase 1" (AP-1) at P-180 (180 days from encounter), which is low-cadence measurements, mainly of the space environment (dust, plasma, solar wind). AP-2 starts 100 days out, and here the cameras start looking at Pluto, searching for any extra moons and building an unresolved composition map. AP-3 starts at P-21, when both Pluto and Charon are several pixels across. The Core phase is P-7 to P+2, just long enough to make a full high-resolution map of Pluto and Charon*. Inside of this is the Near Encounter Phase from P-1 to P+1, where we will get a high resolution strip on Pluto at around 70 m/px.  Then there are Departure Phases DP-1, DP-2, DP-3 which mirror the APs.

After all that, it is time to actually get the data back. New Horizons was purposely designed with a minimal downlink radio system and as much flash memory as could be crammed in there. After the encounter, the spacecraft will be placed in a stable passive spin, and all the data downlinked from the memory. This will take until October 2016 to get everything at lossless compression (everything comes down first as lossy compressed).

* Pluto and Charon are double-synchronous, so the rotation period of both Pluto and Charon matches their mutual orbit period of 6.4 days. It's the largest system in the solar system to have reached this tidal evolution end state.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 08/21/2014 05:41 PM

August 21, 2014



NASA TV to Air Events That Highlight Pluto-Bound Spacecraft

Media and the public are invited to attend two events Monday, Aug. 25 from 1-3 p.m. EDT to learn more about the agency’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and its historic connection to the Voyager spacecraft’s visit to Neptune in 1989.

The events, which will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website, will take place in the Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW in Washington.

New Horizons will conduct a six -month-long study of Pluto and its five moons, including a close approach in July 2015.

• The 1-2 p.m. event will feature a panel discussion with:
 o Jim Green, director, NASA’s Planetary Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
 o Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
 o Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado

• The 2-3 p.m. event will include several New Horizons science team members giving personal accounts of their work during the Voyager Neptune encounter and their new assignments on the Pluto mission. Panel participants include:

o Moderator: David Grinspoon, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona
 o Fran Bagenal, University of Colorado, Boulder
 o Bonnie Buratti, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
 o Jeffrey Moore, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California
 o John Spencer, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado

Media can ask questions from participating NASA locations, or by telephone. To participate by phone, reporters must contact Steve Cole at 202-358-0918 or [email protected] and provide their media affiliation by noon Monday.

Media and the public can also ask questions via social media using #askNASA.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more information on New Horizons on the Internet, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 08/22/2014 05:28 PM
Pluto Spacecraft Planning? New Map Of Neptune’s Icy Triton Could Prepare For 2015 Encounter.

Quote
Talk about recycling! Twenty-five years after Voyager 2 zinged past Neptune’s moon Triton, scientists have put together a new map of the icy moon’s surface using the old data. The information has special relevance right now because the New Horizons spacecraft is approaching Pluto fast, getting to the dwarf planet in less than a year. And it’s quite possible that Pluto and Triton will look similar.

Triton has an exciting history. Scientists believed it used to be a lone wanderer until Neptune captured it, causing tidal heating that in turn created fractures, volcanoes and other features on the surface. While Triton and Pluto aren’t twins — this certainly didn’t happen to Pluto — Pluto also has frozen volatiles on its surface such as carbon monoxide, methane and nitrogen.

http://www.universetoday.com/114069/pluto-spacecraft-planning-new-map-of-neptunes-icy-triton-could-prepare-for-2015-encounter/#more-114069
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 08/25/2014 07:09 PM

August 25, 2014

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Crosses Neptune Orbit En Route to Historic Pluto Encounter

NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft has traversed the orbit of Neptune. This is its last major crossing en route to becoming the first probe to make a close encounter with distant Pluto on July 14, 2015.

The sophisticated piano-sized spacecraft, which launched in January 2006, reached Neptune’s orbit -- nearly 2.75 billion miles from Earth -- in a record eight years and eight months. New Horizons’ milestone matches precisely the 25th anniversary of the historic encounter of NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft with Neptune on Aug. 25, 1989.

“It’s a cosmic coincidence that connects one of NASA’s iconic past outer solar system explorers, with our next outer solar system explorer,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Exactly 25 years ago at Neptune, Voyager 2 delivered our ‘first’ look at an unexplored planet. Now it will be New Horizons' turn to reveal the unexplored Pluto and its moons in stunning detail next summer on its way into the vast outer reaches of the solar system.”

New Horizons now is about 2.48 billion miles from Neptune -- nearly 27 times the distance between the Earth and our sun -- as it crosses the giant planet’s orbit at 10:04 p.m. EDT Monday. Although the spacecraft will be much farther from the planet than Voyager 2’s closest approach, New Horizons' telescopic camera was able to obtain several long-distance “approach” shots of Neptune on July 10.

“NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 explored the entire middle zone of the solar system where the giant planets orbit,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Now we stand on Voyager’s broad shoulders to explore the even more distant and mysterious Pluto system.”

Several senior members of the New Horizons science team were young members of Voyager’s science team in 1989. Many remember how Voyager 2’s approach images of Neptune and its planet-sized moon Triton fueled anticipation of the discoveries to come. They share a similar, growing excitement as New Horizons begins its approach to Pluto.

“The feeling 25 years ago was that this was really cool, because we’re going to see Neptune and Triton up-close for the first time,” said Ralph McNutt of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, who leads the New Horizons energetic-particle investigation and served on the Voyager plasma-analysis team. “The same is happening for New Horizons. Even this summer, when we’re still a year out and our cameras can only spot Pluto and its largest moon as dots, we know we’re in for something incredible ahead.”

Voyager’s visit to the Neptune system revealed previously unseen features of Neptune itself, such as the Great Dark Spot, a massive storm similar to, but not as long-lived, as Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Voyager also, for the first time, captured clear images of the ice giant’s ring system, too faint to be clearly viewed from Earth. “There were surprises at Neptune and there were surprises at Triton,” said Ed Stone, Voyager’s long-standing project scientist from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “I’m sure that will continue at Pluto.”

Many researchers feel the 1989 Neptune flyby -- Voyager’s final planetary encounter -- might have offered a preview of what’s to come next summer. Scientists suggest that Triton, with its icy surface, bright poles, varied terrain and cryovolcanoes, is a Pluto-like object that Neptune pulled into orbit. Scientists recently restored Voyager’s footage of Triton and used it to construct the best global color map of that strange moon yet -- further whetting appetites for a Pluto close-up.

“There is a lot of speculation over whether Pluto will look like Triton, and how well they’ll match up,” McNutt said. “That’s the great thing about first-time encounters like this -- we don’t know exactly what we’ll see, but we know from decades of experience in first-time exploration of new planets that we will be very surprised.”

Similar to Voyager 1 and 2's historic observations, New Horizons also is on a path toward potential discoveries in the Kuiper Belt, which is a disc-shaped region of icy objects past the orbit of Neptune, and other unexplored realms of the outer solar system and beyond.

“No country except the United States has the demonstrated capability to explore so far away,” said Stern. “The U.S. has led the exploration of the planets and space to a degree no other nation has, and continues to do so with New Horizons. We’re incredibly proud that New Horizons represents the nation again as NASA breaks records with its newest, farthest and very capable planetary exploration spacecraft.”

Voyager 1 and 2 were launched 16 days apart in 1977, and one of the spacecraft visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 1 now is the most distant human-made object, about 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) away from the sun. In 2012, it became the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. Voyager 2, the longest continuously operated spacecraft, is about 9 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) away from our sun.

New Horizons is the first mission in NASA’s New Frontiers program. APL manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. APL also built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft.

The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The Voyager missions are part of NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate.

To view the Neptune images taken by New Horizons and learn more about the mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 08/25/2014 07:24 PM
Anyone have a link to a recording of today's (Aug 25) NASA press conference with Jim Green, Ed Stone, and Alan Stern?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: theonlyspace on 08/25/2014 10:00 PM
Did anyone get a transcript of todays meeting?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Scylla on 08/25/2014 10:20 PM
Anyone have a link to a recording of today's (Aug 25) NASA press conference with Jim Green, Ed Stone, and Alan Stern?

Ask and you shall receive.

NASA's New Horizons Mission Continuing Voyager's Legacy of Exploration
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3ekr2CXlK0&feature=youtube_gdata
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 08/26/2014 11:32 AM
A couple pictures from the postdoc peanut gallery (and the precious NASA shuttle bus sign).
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: PahTo on 08/26/2014 03:09 PM

Thanks for the personal touch, simonbp.  I saw the whole presser yesterday on NTV (a replay) and it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm and energy.  I really liked the perspective of the fact this is the first outer planet encounter in a generation.  I have so taken for granted Viking, then Voyagers.  Been a long time coming, and it should be (already is) awesome!  On to the Kuiper Belt!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 08/28/2014 09:04 PM
Supposedly, there should have been a NASA press release about this project during the Neptune flyby anniversary last Monday, but oh well.

The One Earth: New Horizons Message website was updated with more info...can't wait for it to start taking submissions for this project

http://oneearthmessage.org/
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Vultur on 08/29/2014 04:28 AM
I really liked the perspective of the fact this is the first outer planet encounter in a generation.

What about Cassini?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: PahTo on 08/29/2014 03:29 PM
I really liked the perspective of the fact this is the first outer planet encounter in a generation.

What about Cassini?

Good call!  I was about to reply to TheFallen's point about Neptune, and remembered Cassini.  Not sure why they didn't pick up on that during the presser (and of course I spaced, sorry for the pun).  Anyway, at the presser they did celebrate the anniversary of Neptune, so perhaps that is what they considered the "press release"--it was a good five or 10 minutes of noting the anniversary, including before/after pics to demonstrate why it is so important to actually go to these places/bodies in the solar system.
As for Cassini, it/they arrived July 2004, so certainly can be considered this generation.  I suppose what they mean (or I should have said) is that this will be the FIRST encounter with a yet-to-be-visited outer solar system celestial body in a generation...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 08/29/2014 05:01 PM
Good call!  I was about to reply to TheFallen's point about Neptune, and remembered Cassini.  Not sure why they didn't pick up on that during the presser (and of course I spaced, sorry for the pun).  Anyway, at the presser they did celebrate the anniversary of Neptune, so perhaps that is what they considered the "press release"--it was a good five or 10 minutes of noting the anniversary, including before/after pics to demonstrate why it is so important to actually go to these places/bodies in the solar system.

Oh, I meant that there was suppose to be a big announcement on the One Earth project itself...based on what the project members said when they announced that NASA officially approved the message back in Spring. Perhaps the website is not yet fully active...and NASA will finally post a release about the project once it begins receiving submissions

On another note: New Horizons entered hibernation for the final time today! It will be awaken on December 6 to begin 2 years of good ol' Pluto activities :)

https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/505380036346535936
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Scylla on 09/12/2014 11:05 PM
New Horizons Makes its First Detection of Pluto’s Moon Hydra
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20140912.php

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 09/18/2014 02:31 PM
This detection of was kind of a surprise. We actually didn't think that LORRI was sensitive enough to detect Hydra at this distance, but some clever work by John Spencer (on his hammock, on Labor Day!) was able to pull it out. That bodes well for the search for new faint moons during the approach phase.

(The picture Scylla posted is an animated gif; make sure to click on it to see the animation!)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AJA on 10/06/2014 04:59 PM
The team's AMA on Reddit (live as of the time of this post): http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2igklm/hi_i_am_alan_stern_head_of_nasas_new_horizons/
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 10/06/2014 08:55 PM
I see some are trying to make Pluto a planet again.

http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2014-25
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: simonbp on 10/07/2014 05:28 AM
The team's AMA on Reddit (live as of the time of this post): http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2igklm/hi_i_am_alan_stern_head_of_nasas_new_horizons/

Yeah, I should have posted a heads-up here, but forgot!

We will probably do a few more AMAs, so watch out!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Chris Bergin on 10/15/2014 05:17 PM
I felt this deserved a link here

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/06/hubble-recruited-new-horizons-pluto-target/

Chris G. & Chris B.'s article on the New Horizons' new partner in space.

   
October 15, 2014
NASA’s Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission

    This is an artist’s impression of a Kuiper Belt object (KBO), located on the outer rim of our solar system at a staggering distance of 4 billion miles from the Sun.

This is an artist’s impression of a Kuiper Belt object (KBO), located on the outer rim of our solar system at a staggering distance of 4 billion miles from the Sun. A HST survey uncovered three KBOs that are potentially reachable by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft after it passes by Pluto in mid-2015

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
   

Peering out to the dim, outer reaches of our solar system, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto in July 2015.

The KBOs were detected through a dedicated Hubble observing program by a New Horizons search team that was awarded telescope time for this purpose.

“This has been a very challenging search and it’s great that in the end Hubble could accomplish a detection – one NASA mission helping another,” said Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission.

The Kuiper Belt is a vast rim of primordial debris encircling our solar system. KBOs belong to a unique class of solar system objects that has never been visited by spacecraft and which contain clues to the origin of our solar system.

The KBOs Hubble found are each about 10 times larger than typical comets, but only about 1-2 percent of the size of Pluto. Unlike asteroids, KBOs have not been heated by the sun and are thought to represent a pristine, well preserved deep-freeze sample of what the outer solar system was like following its birth 4.6 billion years ago. The KBOs found in the Hubble data are thought to be the building blocks of dwarf planets such as Pluto.

The New Horizons team started to look for suitable KBOs in 2011 using some of the largest ground-based telescopes on Earth. They found several dozen KBOs, but none was reachable within the fuel supply available aboard the New Horizons spacecraft.

“We started to get worried that we could not find anything suitable, even with Hubble, but in the end the space telescope came to the rescue,” said New Horizons science team member John Spencer of SwRI. “There was a huge sigh of relief when we found suitable KBOs; we are ‘over the moon’ about this detection.”

Following an initial proof of concept of the Hubble pilot observing program in June, the New Horizons Team was awarded telescope time by the Space Telescope Science Institute for a wider survey in July. When the search was completed in early September, the team identified one KBO that is considered “definitely reachable,” and two other potentially accessible KBOs that will require more tracking over several months to know whether they too are accessible by the New Horizons spacecraft.

This was a needle-in-haystack search for the New Horizons team because the elusive KBOs are extremely small, faint, and difficult to pick out against a myriad background of stars in the constellation Sagittarius, which is in the present direction of Pluto. The three KBOs identified each are a whopping 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. Two of the KBOs are estimated to be as large as 34 miles (55 kilometers) across, and the third is perhaps as small as 15 miles (25 kilometers).

The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in 2006 from Florida, is the first mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. Once a NASA mission completes its prime mission, the agency conducts an extensive science and technical review to determine whether extended operations are warranted.

The New Horizons team expects to submit such a proposal to NASA in late 2016 for an extended mission to fly by one of the newly identified KBOs. Hurtling across the solar system, the New Horizons spacecraft would reach the distance of 4 billion miles from the sun at its farthest point roughly three to four years after its July 2015 Pluto encounter. Accomplishing such a KBO flyby would substantially increase the science return from the New Horizons mission as laid out by the 2003 Planetary Science Decadal Survey.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. APL also built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 10/15/2014 05:27 PM
Thanks for that Chris that's excellent news that they have found some further targets for it to potentially visit.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: leovinus on 10/16/2014 12:13 AM
Some more details on the potential new KBO target(s)
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2014/10151024-finally-new-horizons-has-a-kbo.html (http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2014/10151024-finally-new-horizons-has-a-kbo.html)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 12/05/2014 02:56 PM
http://www.planetary.org/get-involved/events/2014/waking-up-on-pluto.html

Waking Up on Pluto's Doorstep: New Horizons Comes Out of Hibernation
December 6, 2014, 6 to 7 p.m. PT (December 7, 2014, 2 to 3 a.m. GMT)

A Live Planetary Society Webcast on YouTube

After nearly nine years in space, with most of that time spent in hibernation, the New Horizons spacecraft is about to awaken for its historic flyby of Pluto and Charon. Join Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan for a special conversation originating at Planetary Society headquarters.  Guests include:

Bonnie Buratti
New Horizons Co-Investigator
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Hal Weaver (Tentative)
New Horizons Project Scientist
John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Felicia Sanders
Deep Space Network New Horizons Liaison
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

And an exclusive, recorded conversation with Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

As we wait for New Horizons to phone home we’ll talk about this ambitious, exciting mission and what lies ahead. The spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015. Unprecedented images and science will start arriving much sooner. New Horizons will use Pluto’s gravity to slingshot itself toward an even more distant object at the edge of the solar system.

Watch it on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

Ask us questions throughout the livestream using #AskMat.

Details

Waking Up on Pluto's Doorstep: New Horizons Comes Out of Hibernation
December 6, 2014, 6 to 7 p.m. PT (December 7, 2014, 2 to 3 a.m. GMT)
http://youtube.com/planetarysociety
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/06/2014 08:05 PM
New Horizons should now be awake. We will find out soon!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/06/2014 11:03 PM
Under two hours until the live stream begins.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Zed_Noir on 12/07/2014 12:07 AM
Radio transmissions takes 266 minutes to be transmitted from New Horizon to Earth as of now.



Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 12:30 AM
Now just 30 minutes until the live stream begins.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 12:54 AM
Now only 5 minutes!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/07/2014 12:55 AM
Five minutes.  Hopefully, this is the correct link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQL_cjI66C8
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:01 AM
The coverage has started but currently only a black screen.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:04 AM
And we have live video. Didn't catch their names. Should find out whether or not New Horizons has woken up at around 9:30 EST.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:10 AM
Their names are Matt Kaplan from Planetary Radio and Bonnie Buratti. Now a recorded Skype interview with Alan Stern, the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:14 AM
Alan Stern says it will take roughly 4 and a half hours for the signal to reach Earth even though the signal is travelling at the speed of light. Expected signal to arrive between 9:30 and 10:00PM EST and the first messaged will be a long series of health status checks with a transmission rate at 10bits/second and increasing over time.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:18 AM
On July 14 (closest approach) the pictures of Pluto will be roughly 70-90 meters per pixel. The have a point called BTH - Better than Hubble which is when the picture quality of Pluto will be greater than that of Hubble.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:26 AM
Alan Stern's favorite bumper sticker. :) Wake up song will be announced this weekend.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:29 AM
Now an interview with Felicia Sanders but no audio. :(
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:30 AM
Audio came back for a second and then disappeared.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:34 AM
New Horizons twitter page is showing New Horizons is awake.

"We have data! She's awake!" and "All swell! Now we're playing our hibernation wake up song. Specially sung for us by Rusell Watson. Faith if the Heart! We will post later."

Audio came back and they talked about the lack of audio.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:36 AM
Felicia Sanders network connection is terrible, it keeps freezing.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:43 AM
They finally mentioned that New Horizon's signal has been acquired and is in good health. Saying good bye to Felicia.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 01:56 AM
Question about whether any data shown during the mission can overturn the decision to demote Pluto. The answer was it really doesn't matter but that the mission team would have no say as it is up to the international committee.

Instruments include B&W cameras, color cameras, spectrometer, a dust detector built by students, and a few others.

"It's ALIVE! The @NASANewHorizons mission control just received full confirmation at 9:53 p.m ET! Pluto get ready!"
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Blackstar on 12/07/2014 02:04 AM
Question about whether any data shown during the mission can overturn the decision to demote Pluto. The answer was it really doesn't matter but that the mission team would have no say as it is up to the international committee.


A couple of thoughts:

-the existing definition that "demoted" Pluto is flawed. It's full of holes. At some point is it going to be changed. Whether or not that affects Pluto's status I don't know, but it will happen. My suspicion is that the Pluto flyby will prompt scientists to look at the definition again.

-science is always changing, and the definition of things is always changing. Other objects were originally classified as planets and then got re-labeled. So you can almost guarantee that 100 years from now, or even 10 years from now, we may have a different number of planets, or a different definition of what is a planet.

A final thought: this is a great opportunity to teach lessons about science itself, not simply the planets or Pluto.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: AndrewM on 12/07/2014 02:06 AM
They were unable to reach their final interviewee, Hal Weaver who is the project scientist at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, so they are signing off. If you want to watch the replay of the broadcast it is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQL_cjI66C8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQL_cjI66C8).
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: TheFallen on 12/07/2014 02:45 AM
The DSN antenna (DSS43) in Canberra is currently tracking New Horizons

http://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/07/2014 02:54 AM
Question about whether any data shown during the mission can overturn the decision to demote Pluto. The answer was it really doesn't matter but that the mission team would have no say as it is up to the international committee.


A couple of thoughts:

-the existing definition that "demoted" Pluto is flawed. It's full of holes. At some point is it going to be changed. Whether or not that affects Pluto's status I don't know, but it will happen. My suspicion is that the Pluto flyby will prompt scientists to look at the definition again.

-science is always changing, and the definition of things is always changing. Other objects were originally classified as planets and then got re-labeled. So you can almost guarantee that 100 years from now, or even 10 years from now, we may have a different number of planets, or a different definition of what is a planet.

A final thought: this is a great opportunity to teach lessons about science itself, not simply the planets or Pluto.

If you're right, then our 8-planet system is really a 1000+ planet system.

The eight inner planets are all in about the same plane, have roughly circular orbits, and have pretty much cleared their entire orbital area of objects aside from themselves and their moons.  Pluto and the other KBOs meet none of those criteria, so at the very least, they are a different type of planet than the eight inner planets.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 12/07/2014 03:33 AM
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/20141206.php

After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles – the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation today for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system.

New Horizons joins the astronauts on four space shuttle missions who “woke up” to English tenor Russell Watson’s inspirational "Where My Heart Will Take Me" – in fact, Watson himself recorded a special greeting and version of the song to honor New Horizons! The song was played in New Horizons mission operations upon confirmation of the spacecraft’s wake-up on Dec. 6. Listen to it here.

“This is a watershed event that signals the end of New Horizons crossing of a vast ocean of space to the very frontier of our solar system, and the beginning of the mission’s primary objective: the exploration of Pluto and its many moons in 2015,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.

Since launching on January 19, 2006, New Horizons has spent 1,873 days — about two-thirds of its flight time — in hibernation. Its 18 separate hibernation periods, from mid-2007 to late 2014, ranged from 36 days to 202 days in length. The team used hibernation to save wear and tear on spacecraft components and reduce the risk of system failures.

“Technically, this was routine, since the wake-up was a procedure that we’d done many times before,” said Glen Fountain, New Horizons project manager at APL. “Symbolically, however, this is a big deal. It means the start of our pre-encounter operations.”

The wake-up sequence had been programmed into New Horizons' onboard computer in August, and started aboard the spacecraft at 3 p.m. EST on Dec. 6. About 90 minutes later, New Horizons began transmitting word to Earth on its condition, including the report that it is back in "active" mode.

The Sleeping Spacecraft: How Hibernation Worked

During hibernation mode, much of the New Horizons spacecraft was unpowered. The onboard flight computer monitored system health and broadcast a weekly beacon-status tone back to Earth. Onboard sequences sent in advance by mission controllers woke New Horizons two or three times each year to check out critical systems, calibrate instruments, gather some science data, rehearse Pluto-encounter activities, and perform course corrections.

New Horizons pioneered routine cruise-flight hibernation for NASA. Not only has hibernation reduced wear and tear on the spacecraft's electronics, it also lowered operations costs and freed up NASA Deep Space Network tracking and communication resources for other missions.

The New Horizons team will spend the next several weeks checking out the spacecraft, making sure its systems and science instruments are operating properly. They’ll also continue to build and test the computer-command sequences that will guide New Horizons through its flight to and reconnaissance of the Pluto system.

With a seven-instrument science payload that includes advanced imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a compact multicolor camera, a high-resolution telescopic camera, two powerful particle spectrometers and a space-dust detector, New Horizons will begin observing the Pluto system on Jan. 15.

New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto will occur on July 14, but plenty of highlights are expected before then, including, by mid-May, views of the Pluto system better than what the mighty Hubble Space Telescope can provide of the dwarf planet and its moons.

“New Horizons is on a journey to a new class of planets we’ve never seen, in a place we’ve never been before,” says New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of APL. “For decades we thought Pluto was this odd little body on the planetary outskirts; now we know it’s really a gateway to an entire region of new worlds in the Kuiper Belt, and New Horizons is going to provide the first close-up look at them.”

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is the principal investigator and leads the mission; SwRI 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, Ala. APL designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 01/11/2015 03:22 PM
For those complaining about cold weather :)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 01/15/2015 09:42 PM
January 15, 2015
RELEASE 15-011
NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Begins First Stages of Pluto Encounter

Quote
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft recently began its long-awaited, historic encounter with Pluto. The spacecraft is entering the first of several approach phases that culminate July 14 with the first close-up flyby of the dwarf planet, 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) from Earth.

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/january/nasa-s-new-horizons-spacecraft-begins-first-stages-of-pluto-encounter/#.VLhCFEfF-kE
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Zed_Noir on 02/18/2015 04:51 PM
News article from Feb 18th on the John Hoplins APL New Horizon web site.

Quote
...
The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in a series of images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft from Jan. 27-Feb. 8, at distances ranging from about 125 million to 115 million miles (201 million to 186 million kilometers). The long-exposure images offer New Horizons’ best view yet of these two small moons circling Pluto,...

 JHUAPL article link (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150218)

There are pictures and GIFs of Nix and Hydra dated about 10 days ago.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: redliox on 04/05/2015 07:55 AM
Any news on the Kuiper object to come after the Pluto encounter?  I heard it was narrowed down to 2 now: one large and bright and another dark but closer.  I understand the fuel economics of targeting the closer one but the larger one may present better opportunities not to mention easier to track from Earth.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 04/14/2015 07:53 PM
NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft: Seeing Pluto as Never Before

Published on Apr 14, 2015
In NASA first of two televised briefings on Tuesday, April 14, plans and upcoming activities about the agency’s mission to Pluto that will make the first-ever close flyby of the dwarf planet on July 14 were discussed.

Briefers described the mission’s goals and context, scientific objectives and encounter plans – including what images can be expected and when.

New Horizons already has covered more than 3 billion miles since it launched on Jan. 19, 2006. The spacecraft will pass Pluto at a speed of 31,000 mph taking thousands of images and making a wide range of science observations. At a distance of nearly 4 billion miles from Earth at flyby, it will take approximately 4.5 hours for data to reach Earth.

Participants for 1-2 p.m. discussion were:

- John Grunsfeld, astronaut and Science Mission Directorate associate administrator, NASA Headquarters, Washington
- James Green, director of Planetary Science, NASA Headquarters
- Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado
- William McKinnon, New Horizons Co-Investigator, Washington University in St. Louis
- Cathy Olkin, New Horizons Deputy Project Scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej3HUvLw_sA
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: tea monster on 04/16/2015 08:19 PM
New Horizon colour photo of Pluto and Charon.

http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32311907
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: redliox on 04/24/2015 07:59 PM
The vote for names on Pluto's features is coming to an end tonight: http://www.ourpluto.org/vote (http://www.ourpluto.org/vote)

I like how they gave a wide and meritable range of categories with exploration and the underworld as the main themes.  Part of me hopes there's a Grand Canyon/Valles Marineris on Pluto worthy of a great name, although most likely the vast majority of features will be craters and scarpes.  It's been too long since we had a fresh planet to look at!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 04/29/2015 06:37 AM
NASA to Hold Media Call on Latest Images of Pluto from New Horizons Spacecraft
NASA will host a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 29 to discuss recent images returned from the New Horizons spacecraft as it nears its historic July 14 encounter with Pluto. Officials also will provide an update on the timeline and significance of images the mission team will receive in the coming weeks.

Participants will be:

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado
Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist, Long Range Reconnaissance Imager telescopic camera instrument team, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland
To participate by phone, media must contact Laurie Cantillo at 202-358-1077 or [email protected] and provide their media affiliation no later than 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

For information about NASA's New Horizons mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

-end-

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726
[email protected]

Mike Buckley
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
240-228-7536
[email protected]

Last Updated: April 29, 2015
Editor: Karen Northon

http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-hold-media-call-on-latest-images-of-pluto-from-new-horizons-spacecraft
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:26 PM
New images loaded ahead of the conference.  No new color ones

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: dsmillman on 04/29/2015 07:36 PM
Can someone capture an archive of the teleconference?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:38 PM
Hasn't started yet and I think NASA usually posts these online
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:38 PM
teleconference started
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:43 PM
John Grunsfeld up first.  Mentions imagery better than Hubble and notes the same's 25th launch anniversary.  US is the first to flyby numerous planets :)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:46 PM
opening with history of the mission, the vehicle, and the scientific payloads
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ehb on 04/29/2015 07:47 PM
Can someone capture an archive of the teleconference?
Making a recording, will post mp3 here.

-ehb
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:48 PM
briefing graphics  http://www.nasa.gov/pluto042915
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:49 PM
images revealing surface features for the first time
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:51 PM
possible polar cap
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: redliox on 04/29/2015 07:58 PM
possible polar cap

Yeah, there's mention of a polar cap and a bright spot near the equator.  Commonality with Ceres?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 07:59 PM
imaging plan
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 08:03 PM
color imagery movies in mid-june
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 08:06 PM
no new moons yet but can't even see the faint ones detected by Hubble
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 08:07 PM
higher resolution than Hubble but not as sensitive to dim objects yet
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 08:08 PM
Irene Klotz now with Discovery channel...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Targeteer on 04/29/2015 08:25 PM
teleconference apparently over as Grunsfeld was cut off mid sentence...
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 04/29/2015 08:30 PM
NASA's New Horizons Detects Pluto Surface Features, Including Possible Polar Cap

These "movies" show a series of New Horizons images of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, taken at 13 different times spanning 6.5 days, starting on April 12 and ending on April 18, 2015. During that time, the NASA spacecraft's distance from Pluto decreased from about 69 million miles (93 million kilometers) to 64 million miles (104 million kilometers).

The pictures were taken with the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI. Pluto and Charon rotate around a center-of-mass (also called the "barycenter") once every 6.4 Earth days, and these LORRI images capture one complete rotation of the system. The direction of the rotation axis is shown in the figure. In one of these movies, the center of Pluto is kept fixed in the frame, while the other movie is fixed on the center of mass (accounting for the "wobble" in the system as Charon orbits Pluto).

In the annotated versions of the movies, a 3x-magnified view of Pluto is displayed in the inset to the lower right, highlighting the changing brightness across the disk of Pluto as it rotates. Because Pluto is tipped on its side (like Uranus), when observing Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft, one primarily sees one pole of Pluto, which appears to be brighter than the rest of the disk in all the images. Scientists suggest this brightening in Pluto's polar region might be caused by a "cap" of highly reflective snow on the surface. The "snow" in this case is likely to be frozen molecular nitrogen ice. New Horizons observations in July will determine definitively whether or not this hypothesis is correct.

In addition to the polar cap, these images reveal changing brightness patterns from place to place as Pluto rotates, presumably caused by large-scale dark and bright patches at different longitudes on Pluto's surface. In all of these images, a mathematical technique called "deconvolution" is used to improve the resolution of the raw LORRI images, restoring nearly the full resolution allowed by the camera's optics and detector.

http://www.nasa.gov/pluto042915
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ehb on 04/29/2015 08:37 PM
mp3 of teleconference
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 04/29/2015 09:09 PM
It's kind of weird but it suddenly occurred to me that the nearly-featureless blob that I've just seen is the best image of Pluto that humans have ever seen. I guess it just shows how space exploration has progressed.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: mcgyver on 04/30/2015 06:06 AM


restoring nearly the full resolution allowed by the camera's optics and detector.

"Restoring"? Why is it reduced?

Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 04/30/2015 08:08 AM
Because every real-world telescope has what's called a point spread function where, due to the finite diameter of the telescope and optical imperfections, a point-like source is spread out over a larger area, effectively blurring the image.

This effect can be removed to a large extent via deconvolution ("smart" sharpening, if you will) when you know that PSF, although the process is sensitive to noise in the images and can introduce artifacts. I assume that's why they're not yet calling the potential polar cap a slam dunk case.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jacqmans on 05/29/2015 06:15 AM
May 28, 2015
MEDIA ADVISORY M15-085

NASA to Hold Media Call to Discuss Surprising Observations of Pluto’s Moons

NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 3, to discuss the Hubble Space Telescope’s surprising observations of how Pluto’s moons behave, and how these new discoveries are being used in the planning for the New Horizons Pluto flyby in July.

Participants in the teleconference will be:
•John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington
•Mark Showalter, senior research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California
•Douglas Hamilton, professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park
•John Spencer, scientist at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado
•Heidi Hammel, executive vice president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington

To participate by phone, reporters must contact Felicia Chou at 202-358-0257 or [email protected] and provide their media affiliation no later than 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

For information about NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

For information about Pluto and NASA’s New Horizons mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: pitcapuozzo on 06/06/2015 05:10 PM
In case anyone's interested, this is a plot of New Horizon's trajectory through the Pluto system. I produced it with a couple of New Horizons mission team members, so all the data you find here is 100% reliable/verified. The visual representation obviously isn't realistic, as I had to enlarge each body to make it visible and tweak a few other things, however it shold be pretty good unless you actually had to drive through the Pluto system.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 06/09/2015 11:39 PM
Mission Updates: Countdown to Pluto - Part 1: Mission Overview

Published on Jun 9, 2015
Follow New Horizons on its incredible journey as it nears the edge of the planetary system and speeds toward a historic July 14 flyby of Pluto. We don’t know what we’ll learn about Pluto and its moons—all the science team is predicting is to “expect to be surprised.” In this four-part series you’ll hear from the scientists and engineers behind New Horizons, as they set the stage for encounter. Topics include a mission and science overviews, a look at the spacecraft and its seven science instruments, and what we know about Pluto to date.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpHhxAg8pog
 
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 06/12/2015 02:28 AM
Pluto visitor New Horizons will shed more light into the mysterious world than ever before

Published on Jun 11, 2015
The New Horizons mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyMzPnoUmBk
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: John44 on 06/12/2015 08:46 PM
The Year of Pluto - a Documentary
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9453
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: MattMason on 06/23/2015 04:43 PM
You folks have been too quiet, or debating too much on whether Pluto's a planet or not.

To Hades with planet debate! Let's go to Pluto! (See what I did there?)

NASA's released a color composite of Pluto and its larger moon, Charon as an animated GIF, both centered and barycentric.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150622

There should be a higher resolution LORRI image that shows detailed features of the planet to where it has a "person in Pluto" illusion. Surprisingly I can only find this on an NBC News article.

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/nasas-new-horizons-probe-gives-us-our-first-look-person-n379781

July 14 is coming up fast.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Antilope7724 on 06/24/2015 09:11 PM
Great pictures coming in. I liked the recent video released showing Pluto and Chiron revolving around a common point. Newton was right after all. :-)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rtphokie on 06/27/2015 01:31 PM
In case anyone's interested, this is a plot of New Horizon's trajectory through the Pluto system. I produced it with a couple of New Horizons mission team members, so all the data you find here is 100% reliable/verified. The visual representation obviously isn't realistic, as I had to enlarge each body to make it visible and tweak a few other things, however it shold be pretty good unless you actually had to drive through the Pluto system.

Is there more detailed information available?  Something showing a timeline during the encounter, what instrument will be active and its target.  This event is going to brief, it would be nice to see it broken down like this.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Phil Stooke on 06/27/2015 01:42 PM
Yes - go to the Planetary Society website for this.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: dsmillman on 06/27/2015 01:43 PM
I would suggest these sources to get more details:
1. NASA's "Eyes on the Solar System"  - Is a downloaded application - pick New Horizons Pluto flyby.
2. The Planetary Society website.
3. The mission web site: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: rtphokie on 06/27/2015 02:44 PM
I would suggest these sources to get more details:
1. NASA's "Eyes on the Solar System"  - Is a downloaded application - pick New Horizons Pluto flyby.
2. The Planetary Society website.
3. The mission web site: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php

Those are great resources, but I'm looking for something more specific.

The Pluto module in EotSS is easily the best public resource on the subject out there, but it still leaves me wondering about the science goal of each instrument pass.

Emily's blog on the subject has great information on imaging but there will be so much more science going on than just imaging: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/03101637-pluto-image-expectations.html

The FlyBy press kit is very high level: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Resources/Press-Kits/NHPlutoFlybyPressKitJuly2015.pdf

The timeline published by APL is similarly high level: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/The-Path-to-Pluto/Mission-Timeline.php

Alan Stern's 2008 paper in Space Science Review "New Horizons: Anticipated Scientific Investigations at the Pluto System" is an excellent resource but it is 7 years old and doesn't speak to what is being done when.

Dep Project Scientist Lesliie Young's talk at the 2013 Pluto Science conference may be the closest thing I'll find.
https://blogs.nasa.gov/mission-ames/2013/07/22/the-architecture-of-the-pluto-fly-by-sequence/

Somewhere there's a paper, presentation or something detailing the encounter plan, but I've not been able to put my finger on it.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: hop on 07/05/2015 02:44 AM
New Horizons Team Responds to Spacecraft Anomaly
http://www.nasa.gov/nh/new-horizons-responds-spacecraft-anomaly/
Quote
The New Horizons spacecraft experienced an anomaly the afternoon of July 4 that led to a loss of communication with Earth. Communication has since been reestablished and the spacecraft is healthy.

The mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, lost contact with the unmanned spacecraft -- now 10 days from arrival at Pluto -- at 1:54 p.m. EDT, and regained communications with New Horizons at 3:15 p.m. EDT, through NASA’s Deep Space Network.

During that time the autonomous autopilot on board the spacecraft recognized a problem and – as it’s programmed to do in such a situation - switched from the main to the backup computer. The autopilot placed the spacecraft in “safe mode,” and commanded the backup computer to reinitiate communication with Earth. New Horizons then began to transmit telemetry to help engineers diagnose the problem. 

A New Horizons Anomaly Review Board (ARB) was convened at 4 p.m. EDT to gather information on the problem and initiate a recovery plan. The team is now working to return New Horizons to its original flight plan. Due to the 9-hour, round trip communication delay that results from operating a spacecraft almost 3 billion miles (4.9 million kilometers) from Earth, full recovery is expected to take from one to several days; New Horizons will be temporarily unable to collect science data during that time.

Status updates will be issued as new information is available.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/05/2015 02:35 PM
This apparently just happened overnight. Apparently it cannot collect any data/do science in its present state, but it can communicate again so they think they can restore the previous functionality. Appears to be on backup computer.

http://news.yahoo.com/pluto-probe-suffers-glitch-10-days-epic-flyby-084847573.html (http://news.yahoo.com/pluto-probe-suffers-glitch-10-days-epic-flyby-084847573.html)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ugordan on 07/05/2015 02:52 PM
They always planned to disable much of the safe mode triggering logic around closest approach.

The fact this safing event occured at a time when spacecraft activity and observations started picking up suggests to me it's not a cosmic ray hit that triggered it, but possibly some s/c health parameter (temp, voltage...)  it didn't like.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Jeff Lerner on 07/05/2015 03:03 PM
Alan Stern confirms NH is communicating nominally..

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=8047&view=findpost&p=222280



Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: FinalFrontier on 07/05/2015 04:04 PM
Alan Stern confirms NH is communicating nominally..

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=8047&view=findpost&p=222280

Good. Can it use its instruments again?
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Jeff Lerner on 07/05/2015 04:52 PM
Emily Lakdawalla has a very good explanation ..

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/07042044-new-horizons-enters-safe-mode.html
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: hop on 07/06/2015 02:17 AM
Looks like a quick recovery http://www.nasa.gov/nh/new-horizons-plans-july-7-return-to-normal-science-operations
Quote
NASA’s New Horizons Plans July 7 Return to Normal Science Operations

NASA’s New Horizons mission is returning to normal science operations after a July 4 anomaly and remains on track for its July 14 flyby of Pluto.

The investigation into the anomaly that caused New Horizons to enter “safe mode” on July 4 has concluded that no hardware or software fault occurred on the spacecraft. The underlying cause of the incident was a hard-to-detect timing flaw in the spacecraft command sequence that occurred during an operation to prepare for the close flyby. No similar operations are planned for the remainder of the Pluto encounter.

“I’m pleased that our mission team quickly identified the problem and assured the health of the spacecraft,” said Jim Green, NASA’s Director of Planetary Science. “Now – with Pluto in our sights – we’re on the verge of returning to normal operations and going for the gold.” 

Preparations are ongoing to resume the originally planned science operations on July 7 and to conduct the entire close flyby sequence as planned. The mission science team and principal investigator have concluded that the science observations lost during the anomaly recovery do not affect any primary objectives of the mission, with a minimal effect on lesser objectives. “In terms of science, it won’t change an A-plus even into an A,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder.

Adding to the challenge of recovery is the spacecraft’s extreme distance from Earth. New Horizons is almost 3 billion miles away, where radio signals, even traveling at light speed, need 4.5 hours to reach home. Two-way communication between the spacecraft and its operators requires a nine-hour round trip. 

Status updates will be issued as new information is available.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Orbiter on 07/06/2015 02:43 AM
A sigh of relief! Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: ApolloStarbuck on 07/07/2015 05:59 AM
So excited over the Pluto encounter and, like so many others, relieved that NH seems to be back up and running as it should.

I am wondering if there are there any details about something like close-in contingency images and/or observations taken and transmitted back just before the closest point of the flyby.

Or does the orientation of NH or some other factor prevent this until it has passed Pluto

Keeping my fingers crossed for the next week (which does make typing this somewhat difficult)  :)
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Damon Hill on 07/07/2015 06:45 AM
During closest encounter, the spacecraft will be too busy taking pictures and measurements; I think the spacecraft has to be oriented in multiple directions during the flyby, so aiming the communications antenna will be impossible for the lengthy period it now takes to transmit even single images.  We'll be waiting months for all the data to be downloaded.

It may be a bit nerve-wracking.  I know I've been waiting for this mission nearly all my life, to finally see the face of Pluto.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jgoldader on 07/07/2015 10:54 AM
The instruments on NH are fixed on the spacecraft body, not on a moveable platform. To point the cameras, the whole probe has to turn, and so NH can't take images and transmit data at the same time.  Since the encounter is so short, taking data means NH will not talk to Earth much at close approach.

Emily Lakdawalla has a very good summary here
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/06240556-what-to-expect-new-horizons-pluto.html

She also has a very nice set of "what to expect" images using outer planer satellites as stand-ins for Pluto and its family.  However, the dates in her article don't match precisely with the ones in the images, but it's close.

TL;DR: there will be a few "contingency" images sent back late on the 13th, a burst of telemetry on the 14th/15th, and a few images per day until the 20th.  At that point, no new images until September as real time data are returned from particles/fields instruments.  Then a lossy compressed "browse" set of all images down by the end of the year, and full lossless data set by next summer.

There's good info on unmannedspaceflight.com, but note that the rules and mod there are quite strict.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 07/07/2015 03:09 PM

The instruments on NH are fixed on the spacecraft body, not on a moveable platform. To point the cameras, the whole probe has to turn, and so NH can't take images and transmit data at the same time.  Since the encounter is so short, taking data means NH will not talk to Earth much at close approach.

Emily Lakdawalla has a very good summary here
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/06240556-what-to-expect-new-horizons-pluto.html

She also has a very nice set of "what to expect" images using outer planer satellites as stand-ins for Pluto and its family.  However, the dates in her article don't match precisely with the ones in the images, but it's close.

TL;DR: there will be a few "contingency" images sent back late on the 13th, a burst of telemetry on the 14th/15th, and a few images per day until the 20th.  At that point, no new images until September as real time data are returned from particles/fields instruments.  Then a lossy compressed "browse" set of all images down by the end of the year, and full lossless data set by next summer.

There's good info on unmannedspaceflight.com, but note that the rules and mod there are quite strict.

What does a "browse" set mean, could you expand on that a little?

Thanks.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: JH on 07/07/2015 03:18 PM
It means suitable for looking through to get an idea of what to expect but not suitable for true analysis.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: jgoldader on 07/07/2015 03:45 PM
As JH said, think of lossy compression JPEGs.  There will be artifacts and such. At the great distance from Earth, NH sends down about 1000 bits per second.  Figure 16 bits per pixel on a 1024x1024 CCD and you can see sending back the raw data will take a long time, several hours per raw image.  The data return plan makes a lot of sense.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Star One on 07/07/2015 05:57 PM
Thank you both for the explanation.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Comga on 07/07/2015 07:30 PM
As JH said, think of lossy compression JPEGs.  There will be artifacts and such. At the great distance from Earth, NH sends down about 1000 bits per second.  Figure 16 bits per pixel on a 1024x1024 CCD and you can see sending back the raw data will take a long time, several hours per raw image.  The data return plan makes a lot of sense.

Nit:  LORRI (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0709/0709.4278.pdf) uses a 12 bit ADC and lossless compression so that a full image can be sent down in only 42 minutes.  Check out Emily Lakdawala's article (http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2015/01300800-talking-to-pluto-is-hard.html)  on the downlink bottleneck.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Scylla on 07/08/2015 07:27 PM
NASA Announces Updated Television Coverage, Media Activities for Pluto Flyby
NASA is inviting media to cover the New Horizons spacecraft’s closest approach and July 14 Pluto flyby from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, site of the mission operations center.

NASA will provide flyby coverage on NASA Television, the agency’s website and its social media accounts as the spacecraft closes in on Pluto in the coming days. The schedule for event coverage is subject to change, with daily updates posted online and in the New Horizons Media Center at APL.

On-site media registration is now closed, however, walk-in media representatives may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

The New Horizons Media Center opens at APL from 1 to 7 p.m. EDT on July 12. Accredited media may pick up credentials during those hours and Monday and Tuesday morning. Credentials must be picked up in person and valid photo identification must be shown. Non-US citizens must bring their passport and visa or a permanent resident alien registration card. The media center number is 240-228-8532.

The media center also will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight on July 13, 5 a.m. to midnight on July 14, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 15, and 7 a.m. to noon on July 16. Hours of operation are subject to change.

Visitor and logistics information is available online at:

http://www.jhuapl.edu/MediaResources/

Highlights of the current coverage schedule, all in Eastern time, include:

July 8 - 10
11:30 a.m. – Final approach to Pluto; daily mission updates on NASA TV

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

Monday, July 13
11 a.m. to noon – Media briefing: Mission Status and What to Expect; live on NASA TV

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

Tuesday, July 14
7:30 to 8 a.m. – Arrival at Pluto Countdown Program; live on NASA TV

At approximately 7:49 a.m., New Horizons is scheduled to be as close as the spacecraft will get to Pluto, approximately 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface, after a journey of more than nine years and three billion miles. For much of the day, New Horizons will be out of communication with mission control as it gathers data about Pluto and its moons.

The moment of closest approach will be marked during the live NASA TV broadcast that includes a countdown and discussion of what’s expected next as New Horizons makes its way past Pluto and potentially dangerous debris.

8 to 9 a.m. – Media briefing, image release; live on NASA TV

9 a.m. to 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. Media may call into the media center for phone interviews during newsroom hours.

Noon to 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
8:30 to 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 closest approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal by about 9:02 p.m. When New Horizons “phones home,” there will be a celebration of its successful flyby and the anticipation of data to come in the days and months ahead. 

9:30 to 10 p.m. – Media Briefing: New Horizons Health and Mission Status; live on NASA TV

Wednesday, July 15
Noon to 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. Media may call into the media center for phone interviews during newsroom hours.

3 to 4 p.m. – 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.

For NASA TV schedules, satellite coordinates, and links to streaming video, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

The public can follow the path of the spacecraft in coming days in real time with a visualization of the actual trajectory data, using NASA’s online Eyes on Pluto.

Follow the New Horizons mission on Twitter and use the hashtag #PlutoFlyby to join the conversation. Live updates will be available on the mission Facebook page.

For more information on the New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, schedules, video and images, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

or

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

-end-

Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077
[email protected] / [email protected]

Mike Buckley
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
240-228-7536
[email protected]

Maria Stothoff
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio
210-522-3305
[email protected]
Last Updated: July 8, 2015
Editor: Karen Northon
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: catdlr on 07/08/2015 07:48 PM
July 8th Daily Briefing for New Horizons/Pluto Mission Pre-Flyby

Published on Jul 8, 2015
July 8th daily pre-flyby overview of the New Horizons mission, the spacecraft and its suite of instruments and a summary of Pluto science to date from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, site of the mission operations center.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3zbyzuFA6I
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: IRobot on 07/08/2015 09:27 PM
As JH said, think of lossy compression JPEGs.  There will be artifacts and such. At the great distance from Earth, NH sends down about 1000 bits per second.  Figure 16 bits per pixel on a 1024x1024 CCD and you can see sending back the raw data will take a long time, several hours per raw image.  The data return plan makes a lot of sense.
If you are not interested in very faint moons, you could do a smart algorithm that would detect bright moons and Pluto and transmit only those pixels, with respective coordinates for surrounding box.

So you assume everything is black except for the regions of interest.

That would reduce data some 10-100x, depending on Pluto size on the image.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Sam Ho on 07/08/2015 10:01 PM
As JH said, think of lossy compression JPEGs.  There will be artifacts and such. At the great distance from Earth, NH sends down about 1000 bits per second.  Figure 16 bits per pixel on a 1024x1024 CCD and you can see sending back the raw data will take a long time, several hours per raw image.  The data return plan makes a lot of sense.
If you are not interested in very faint moons, you could do a smart algorithm that would detect bright moons and Pluto and transmit only those pixels, with respective coordinates for surrounding box.

So you assume everything is black except for the regions of interest.

That would reduce data some 10-100x, depending on Pluto size on the image.

Yes, but faint moons are important for approach imaging.  Hazard avoidance is all about looking for dust and faint moons.  For post-encounter downlink, you have time, so you want to get the most complete data set possible, and of course any undiscovered moons are likely to be faint.

The lossless compression mode gets about 5x compression, depending on how much black is in the image.
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: pitcapuozzo on 07/09/2015 04:23 PM
Hubble was pretty precise!
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: John44 on 07/09/2015 04:27 PM
Daily Update on the New Horizons/Pluto Pre-Flyby Mission - July 9
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9494
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: John44 on 07/10/2015 04:14 PM
Daily Update on the New Horizons/Pluto Pre-Flyby Mission - July 10
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9496
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: John44 on 07/11/2015 04:19 PM
Daily Update on the New Horizons/Pluto Pre-Flyby Mission - July 11
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9500
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: John44 on 07/12/2015 04:15 PM
Daily Update on the New Horizons/Pluto Pre-Flyby Mission - July 12
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9502
Title: Re: New Horizons update
Post by: Scylla on 07/12/2015 05:56 PM
NASA Pluto New Horizons July 13 Media Briefing Time Change, Media Center Open

NASA will provide comprehensive television, Internet and social media coverage this week of the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft historic July 14 flyby of Pluto. The time for the flyby preview news briefing on NASA Television Monday, July 13 has moved up 30 minutes, and now will start at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

The schedule for events coverage is subject to change based on real-time operations. The list of additional news briefings is available online.

NASA’s Pluto New Horizons media center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, is open from 1-7 p.m. today for media to obtain credentials for this week’s coming activities. APL is the mission control center for New Horizons. The media center number is 240-228-8532.

The media center also will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight on Monday; 5 a.m. to midnight on Tuesday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15; and 7 a.m. to noon on Thursday, July 16. Hours of operation are subject to change.

Credentials must be picked up in person and valid photo identification must be shown. Non-US citizens must bring their passport and visa or a permanent resident alien registration card.

Visitor and logistics information is available online at:

http://www.jhuapl.edu/MediaResources/

For NASA TV schedules, satellite coordinates, and links to streaming video, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

The public can follow the path of the spacecraft in coming days in real time with a visualization of the actual trajectory data, using NASA’s online site:

http://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/eyes-on-pluto.html

To enter where you live and tell you at your local time what the equivalent brightness is as noon on Pluto visit:

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/plutotime

To examine a 3-D model of the New Horizons spacecraft and download a .stl file for 3-D printing, visit:

http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/new-horizons

Follow the New Horizons mission on Twitter and use the hashtag #PlutoFlyby to join the conversation. Live updates will be available on the mission Facebook page.

For more information on the New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, schedules, video and images, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

and

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/plutotoolkit.cfm
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: John44 on 07/13/2015 04:07 PM
NASA News Briefing on New Horizon - Mission Status and What to Expect
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9504
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Hog on 07/14/2015 11:29 AM
20 minutes to go until closest approach!
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Hog on 07/14/2015 11:54 AM
And there we have it, New Horizons is now as close to Pluto as she will ever be.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Hog on 07/14/2015 12:30 PM
Q&A session underway on NTV.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Hog on 07/14/2015 12:37 PM
202 watts of energy currently being outputted by the vehicles RTG, with a power decay rate of 3% annually.

IIRC 20 years of operable power available.

New Horizons is powered by Plutonium, an element named after the planet Pluto.

Last data transmit scheduled for October-November 2016.  Currently transmitting at 1000 bits/second.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: John44 on 07/14/2015 01:24 PM
NASA News Briefing on New Horizon Mission
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9506

New Horizons Mission Celebration – Arrival at Pluto
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9505
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: davey142 on 07/14/2015 08:15 PM
202 watts of energy currently being outputted by the vehicles RTG, with a power decay rate of 3% annually.

IIRC 20 years of operable power available.

New Horizons is powered by Plutonium, an element named after the planet Pluto.

Last data transmit scheduled for October-November 2016.  Currently transmitting at 1000 bits/second.
Should be 3 watts of power lower every year. 3% would mean no more power would be left after 30 + years (not sure if my math is 100% right, but close enough), and Plutonium-238 has a half-life of 87 years. I don't think that would make sense.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: John44 on 07/15/2015 01:38 AM
New Horizons Phones Home - Mission Update
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9507

NASA News Briefing on New Horizon Mission
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9508
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Damon Hill on 07/15/2015 01:45 AM
202 watts of energy currently being outputted by the vehicles RTG, with a power decay rate of 3% annually.

IIRC 20 years of operable power available.

New Horizons is powered by Plutonium, an element named after the planet Pluto.

Last data transmit scheduled for October-November 2016.  Currently transmitting at 1000 bits/second.
Should be 3 watts of power lower every year. 3% would mean no more power would be left after 30 + years (not sure if my math is 100% right, but close enough), and Plutonium-238 has a half-life of 87 years. I don't think that would make sense.

Radiation damage to the thermocouples that actually generate the electricity is also a factor in the declining power level, probably more so than the half-life of the Pu-238.

--Damon
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: ReaperX on 07/15/2015 04:25 AM
Should be 3 watts of power lower every year. 3% would mean no more power would be left after 30 + years (not sure if my math is 100% right, but close enough), and Plutonium-238 has a half-life of 87 years. I don't think that would make sense.

You are confusing exponential with linear decay. Each year, power goes down by 3% of what's left, so after 30 years, power has not declined by 3*30% = 90%, but only by 1- (0.97)^30 = 60%. So power levels will be down to 40% of the original power level after 30 years.

The quoted 3% per year figure must be a combination of the two effects of the decay of PU-238 and the decline in efficiency of the thermocouples. The power loss from the radioactive decay alone is 0.8% annually.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 07/15/2015 07:14 AM
Last data transmit scheduled for October-November 2016.  Currently transmitting at 1000 bits/second.

Personally, I'd leave its transmitter on as a homing beacon. That way, you've got three spacecraft heading into the outer solar system whose movements will let you get an idea of the dynamic conditions out there.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 07/15/2015 10:18 AM

Last data transmit scheduled for October-November 2016.  Currently transmitting at 1000 bits/second.

Personally, I'd leave its transmitter on as a homing beacon. That way, you've got three spacecraft heading into the outer solar system whose movements will let you get an idea of the dynamic conditions out there.

That's not likely to be the actual end date as I don't doubt the extended mission will now be funded.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 07/15/2015 07:46 PM
The first features are getting named. The 'heart' is to be named Tombagh Regio an Charon's dark polar cap is going to be named Mordor.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: catdlr on 07/15/2015 07:50 PM
Mountains on Pluto

Published on Jul 15, 2015
This movie zooms into the base of the heart-shaped feature on Pluto to highlight a new image captured by NASA's New Horizons. The new image, seen in black and white against a previously released color image of Pluto, shows a mountain range with peaks jutting as high as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iyd-gh2rhM
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: catdlr on 07/15/2015 07:51 PM
The Icy Mountains of Pluto

http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/the-icy-mountains-of-pluto

Image Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI
Title: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 07/15/2015 07:54 PM
The whale is now Cthulhu Regio.

Here's the paper Alan Stern was referencing.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1506.00913
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: John44 on 07/15/2015 08:47 PM
New Horizon Mission News Conference - July 15
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9510
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: John44 on 07/17/2015 06:44 PM
NASA Post Flyby News Conference on the New Horizons Mission -- July 17
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9516
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 07/21/2015 05:45 PM
New Horizons Captures Two of Pluto's Smaller Moons Nix & Hydra

http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/new-horizons-captures-two-of-plutos-smaller-moons

Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: John44 on 07/24/2015 08:14 PM
NASA News Conference – Update on Pluto - July 24
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9531
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Hop_David on 09/30/2015 04:40 PM
In 2012 Buie, Tholen and Grundy wrote a paper The Orbit of Charon Is Circular (http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0004-6256/144/1/15).

Their models of tidal evolution predicted the Pluto/Charon would have a nearly circular orbit, an eccentricity very close to zero. There has also been speculation that obliquity is close to zero. Their models were somewhat supported by Hubble observations. But as we all know, Hubble images of Pluto and Charon are pretty low res. I am wondering if data from New Horizons has verified their predictions.

If so, this would make for a neat science fiction setting. With 0 eccentricity and 0 obliquity, the Pluto-Charon Lagrange 1 would hang motionless in the sky of Puto as well as Charon. Just as a Clarke tower would extend up and down from geostationary orbit, a Pluto-Charon elevator could extend Pluto-ward and Charon-ward from the Pluto-Charon L1. With 0 eccentricity and 0 obliquity, a beanstalk linking Pluto and Charon would not be flexed, stretched or bent by orbital motion.

The two dwarf planets could be linked. It would be a setting somewhat like Robert Forward's Rocheworld.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/22/2015 08:32 AM
Per New Horizons Twitter account (https://twitter.com/NewHorizons2015/status/655938180370141184):

This week, the spacecraft is scheduled to carry out the first of four course correction burns to bring it onto intercept trajectory with KBO 2014 MU69... Which, IMO, ought to be given some kind of name before the probe arrives.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: catdlr on 01/10/2016 05:18 AM
Flying over Charon

Published on Jan 9, 2016
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Roman Tkachenko

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NewHorizonsIMG

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asXsLhhBq1s
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: catdlr on 03/07/2016 06:18 PM
How we flew a spacecraft 3 billion miles to Pluto | Katie Bechtold | TEDxMidAtlantic

Published on Mar 7, 2016
Katie Bechtold was a flight controller on NASA's New Horizons mission, which sent a spacecraft to Pluto. Katie shares the story behind the 9-year epic journey, which gave us the first detailed images of the planet, along with performing scientific experiments that will help us better understand Pluto's makeup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWXQIOUaqnk
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Chris Bergin on 01/03/2017 07:42 PM
Article by Chris Gebhardt:

New Horizons prepares for New Year’s Day 2019 Kuiper Belt Object encounter
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/01/new-horizons-2019-kuiper-belt-encounter/
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/04/2017 08:17 PM
New Horizons’ target a “science bonanza”, potential close or contact binary - by Chris Gebhardt:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/08/new-horizons-science-bonanza-binary/
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Blackstar on 08/04/2017 08:54 PM
So a couple of weeks ago my coworker was in New Zealand. She was visiting her sister there. Her sister is one of the SOFIA 747 pilots, and the pilots had just celebrated some flight where they did an occultation. She didn't know the details, but apparently they had precisely hit the observing time and location and were very proud of that fact. A day after talking to her I saw an article indicating that the occultation flight that SOFIA did was to observe this object.

I work in the space business, but sometimes it's a really small world, huh?
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: grythumn on 08/29/2017 03:48 PM
Looking for possible 3rd flyby after Mu69 (Apr 26):

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/04/26/search-new-horizons-next-target/

Quote
Stern, the New Horizons mission lead, says the odds of finding yet another target are “small, but not zero.” That isn’t stopping scientists from searching. “We’re working on that right now,” Stern says. And they’ve turned to the Hubble Space Telescope once again.

New Horizons co-investigator Simon Porter, also from SwRI, says that the search that turned up 2014 MU69 only looked for cold classical Kuiper Belt objects, which have distinct orbital characteristics. He’s now expanding the search to include other worlds, which expands the potential targets. Porter says he hopes to find something called a scattered disk object. These worlds are remnants of the original Kuiper Belt that Neptune’s massive gravity flung all across the outer solar system. No one’s ever seen a scattered disk object up close.
[...]
Either way, this time it shouldn’t take a decade to find out if New Horizons has one more flyby left. “I actually hope to know by mid-year if there’s anything in that (Hubble Space Telescope) data,” Stern says.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 09/06/2017 11:49 AM
Quote
Green Beacon JUST received from @NewHorizons for this week! Next Monday we wake her up from hibernation for some SCIENCE! #PlutoFlyby

https://twitter.com/AlanStern/status/905202144046919680
Title: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 09/06/2017 06:58 PM
New Horizons Files Flight Plan for 2019 Flyby

NASA’s New Horizons mission has set the distance for its New Year’s Day 2019 flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, aiming to come three times closer to MU69 than it famously flew past Pluto in 2015.

That milestone will mark the farthest planetary encounter in history – some one billion miles (1.5 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto and more than four billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. If all goes as planned, New Horizons will come to within just 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) of MU69 at closest approach, peering down on it from celestial north. The alternate plan, to be employed in certain contingency situations such as the discovery of debris near MU69, would take New Horizons within 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers)— still closer than the 7,800-mile (12,500-kilometer) flyby distance to Pluto.

NASA’s New Horizons mission has set the distance for its New Year’s Day 2019 flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, aiming to come three times closer to MU69 than it famously flew past Pluto in 2015.

That milestone will mark the farthest planetary encounter in history – some one billion miles (1.5 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto and more than four billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. If all goes as planned, New Horizons will come to within just 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) of MU69 at closest approach, peering down on it from celestial north. The alternate plan, to be employed in certain contingency situations such as the discovery of debris near MU69, would take New Horizons within 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers)— still closer than the 7,800-mile (12,500-kilometer) flyby distance to Pluto.

Artist's concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flying by a possible binary 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019. Early observations of MU69 hint at the Kuiper Belt object being either a binary orbiting pair or a contact (stuck together) pair of nearly like-sized bodies with diameters near 20 and 18 kilometers (12 and 11 miles).

“I couldn’t be more excited about this encore performance from New Horizons,” said NASA Planetary Science Director Jim Green at Headquarters in Washington. “This mission keeps pushing the limits of what’s possible, and I’m looking forward to the images and data of the most distant object any spacecraft has ever explored.” 

If the closer approach is executed, the highest-resolution camera on New Horizons, the telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) should be able to spot details as small as 230 feet (70 meters) across, for example, compared to nearly 600 feet (183 meters) on Pluto.

“We’re planning to fly closer to MU69 than Pluto to get even higher resolution imagery and other datasets,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “The science should be spectacular.”

The team weighed numerous factors in making its choice, said science team member and flyby planning lead John Spencer, also of SwRI. “The considerations included what is known about MU69’s size, shape  and the likelihood of hazards near it, the challenges of navigating close to MU69 while obtaining sharp and well-exposed images, and other spacecraft resources and capabilities,” he said.

Using all seven onboard science instruments, New Horizons will obtain extensive geological, geophysical, compositional, and other data on MU69; it will also search for an atmosphere and moons.

“Reaching 2014 MU69, and seeing it as an actual new world, will be another historic exploration achievement,” said Helene Winters, the New Horizons project manager from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.  “We are truly going where no one has gone before. Our whole team is excited about the challenges and opportunities of a voyage to this faraway frontier.”

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-files-flight-plan-for-2019-flyby
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 09/06/2017 07:04 PM
Here's the time of closest approach.

Quote
AlanStern @AlanStern
Replying to @RealAntonioM and @NASA
05:33 UT on 1 Jan 2019
Title: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 09/07/2017 07:08 PM
Pluto Features Given First Official Names

It’s official: Pluto’s “heart” now bears the name of pioneering American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. And a crater on Pluto is now officially named after Venetia Burney, the British schoolgirl who in 1930 suggested the name “Pluto,” Roman god of the underworld, for Tombaugh’s newly-discovered planet.

Tombaugh Regio and Burney crater are among the first set of official Pluto feature names approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.

These and other names were proposed by NASA’s New Horizons team following the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. The New Horizons science team had been using these and other place names informally to describe the many regions, mountain ranges, plains, valleys and craters discovered during the first close-up look at the surfaces of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

A total of 14 Pluto place names have now been made official by the IAU; many more will soon be proposed to the IAU, both on Pluto and on its moons. “The approved designations honor many people and space missions who paved the way for the historic exploration of Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, the farthest worlds ever explored,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

It’s official: Pluto’s “heart” now bears the name of pioneering American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. And a crater on Pluto is now officially named after Venetia Burney, the British schoolgirl who in 1930 suggested the name “Pluto,” Roman god of the underworld, for Tombaugh’s newly-discovered planet.

Tombaugh Regio and Burney crater are among the first set of official Pluto feature names approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.

These and other names were proposed by NASA’s New Horizons team following the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. The New Horizons science team had been using these and other place names informally to describe the many regions, mountain ranges, plains, valleys and craters discovered during the first close-up look at the surfaces of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

A total of 14 Pluto place names have now been made official by the IAU; many more will soon be proposed to the IAU, both on Pluto and on its moons. “The approved designations honor many people and space missions who paved the way for the historic exploration of Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, the farthest worlds ever explored,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

Pluto’s first official surface-feature names are marked on this map.
Pluto’s first official surface-feature names are marked on this map, compiled from images and data gathered by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its flight through the Pluto system in 2015.
Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Ross Beyer
“We’re very excited to approve names recognizing people of significance to Pluto and the pursuit of exploration as well as the mythology of the underworld. These names highlight the importance of pushing to the frontiers of discovery,” said Rita Schulz, chair of the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature. “We appreciate the contribution of the general public in the form of their naming suggestions and the New Horizons team for proposing these names to us.”

Stern applauded the work of the New Horizons Nomenclature Working Group, which along with Stern included science team members Mark Showalter -- the group’s chairman and liaison to the IAU -- Ross Beyer, Will Grundy, William McKinnon, Jeff Moore, Cathy Olkin, Paul Schenk and Amanda Zangari.

The team gathered many ideas during the “Our Pluto” online naming campaign in 2015. Following on Venetia Burney’s original suggestion, several place names on Pluto come from underworld mythology. “I’m delighted that most of the approved names were originally recommended by members of the public,” said Showalter, of the SETI Institute, Mountain View, California.

The approved Pluto surface feature names are listed below. The names pay homage to the underworld mythology, pioneering space missions, historic pioneers who crossed new horizons in exploration, and scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

Tombaugh Regio honors Clyde Tombaugh (1906–1997), the U.S. astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930 from Lowell Observatory in Arizona.

Burney crater honors Venetia Burney (1918-2009), who as an 11-year-old schoolgirl suggested the name "Pluto" for Clyde Tombaugh’s newly discovered planet. Later in life she taught mathematics and economics.

Sputnik Planitia is a large plain named for Sputnik 1, the first space satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957.

Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes are mountain ranges honoring Tenzing Norgay (1914–1986) and Sir Edmund Hillary (1919–2008), the Indian/Nepali Sherpa and New Zealand mountaineer were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return safely.

Al-Idrisi Montes honors Ash-Sharif al-Idrisi (1100–1165/66), a noted Arab mapmaker and geographer whose landmark work of medieval geography is sometimes translated as "The Pleasure of Him Who Longs to Cross the Horizons.”

Djanggawul Fossae defines a network of long, narrow depressions named for the Djanggawuls, three ancestral beings in indigenous Australian mythology who traveled between the island of the dead and Australia, creating the landscape and filling it with vegetation.

Sleipnir Fossa is named for the powerful, eight-legged horse of Norse mythology that carried the god Odin into the underworld.

Virgil Fossae honors Virgil, one of the greatest Roman poets and Dante's fictional guide through hell and purgatory in the Divine Comedy.

Adlivun Cavus is a deep depression named for Adlivun, the underworld in Inuit mythology.

Hayabusa Terra is a large land mass saluting the Japanese spacecraft and mission (2003-2010) that performed the first asteroid sample return.

Voyager Terra honors the pair of NASA spacecraft, launched in 1977, that performed the first "grand tour" of all four giant planets. The Voyager spacecraft are now probing the boundary between the Sun and interstellar space.

Tartarus Dorsa is a ridge named for Tartarus, the deepest, darkest pit of the underworld in Greek mythology.

Elliot crater recognizes James Elliot (1943-2011), an MIT researcher who pioneered the use of stellar occultations to study the solar system – leading to discoveries such as the rings of Uranus and the first detection of Pluto's thin atmosphere.

The New Horizons spacecraft – built and operated at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, with a payload and science investigation led by SwRI -- is speeding toward its next flyby, this one with the ancient Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, a billion miles beyond Pluto, on Jan. 1, 2019.

Last Updated: Sept. 7, 2017

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/pluto-features-given-first-official-names
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 09/08/2017 10:43 PM
That milestone will mark the farthest planetary encounter in history ...

Planetary encounter? I'm not sure a flyby of a smallish KBO qualifies as a planetary encounter! (Not even if they say it twice. ;) )
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: cscott on 09/09/2017 12:37 PM
That milestone will mark the farthest planetary encounter in history ...

Planetary encounter? I'm not sure a flyby of a smallish KBO qualifies as a planetary encounter! (Not even if they say it twice. ;) )
Alan Stern thinks everything is a planet, even our Moon.

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-geophysical-planet-definition.html
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 09/09/2017 12:48 PM
That milestone will mark the farthest planetary encounter in history ...

Planetary encounter? I'm not sure a flyby of a smallish KBO qualifies as a planetary encounter! (Not even if they say it twice. ;) )
Alan Stern thinks everything is a planet, even our Moon.

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-geophysical-planet-definition.html

Don't be opening that can of worms on here again.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 09/16/2017 02:15 PM
Wakened from its latest hibernation, New Horizons may visit additional Kuiper Belt Objects

Quote
New software will be uploaded to the probe’s computers in October in preparation for the MU69 flyby while the mission operations and science teams will plan the details of the probe’s trajectory. A course correction maneuver aimed at setting the exact flyby time will be conducted on Dec. 9, 2017.

Quote
One particular finding – a lack of variation in MU69’s brightness as it rotates – could result in New Horizons not needing to adjust its path during the flyby, resulting in less fuel being used. Stern said the lack of brightness variation either means the object is not presenting vastly different cross-sections to us as it rotates, or telescopes are looking down the barrel of the rotation axis.

“It doesn’t matter where in the rotation phase we show up,” Stern said. “We are going to see about the same amount of terrain.”

Quote
Fuel saved during the MU69 encounter could be used to send New Horizons to a third KBO, a move that would require yet another mission extension. In 2016, NASA approved an extended mission for the MU69 flyby through the year 2021.

On Sept. 6, Stern told members of NASA’s Outer Planets Assessment Group that mission scientists are already searching for an additional KBO target.

“We have a fighting chance of having a second [Kuiper Belt Object] flyby,” Stern said.

Approval of another mission extension will also provide more opportunities for New Horizons to continue its distant observations of KBOs, dwarf planets, and centaurs. Stern said he expects to request a second extension once the MU69 flyby is completed and the data collected from it returned to Earth.

Even that might not be the mission’s end. Stern foresees additional extensions beyond the one that would take it to a second KBO.

“There’s fuel and power on board the spacecraft to operate it for another 20 years,” Stern said. “That’s not going to be a concern even for a third or fourth extended mission.”

The probe will be put into another hibernation on Dec. 22, 2017, where it will remain until June 4, 2018, when it will be woken up in preparation for the MU69 encounter, which will officially begin in August 2018.

Read more at http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/missions/solar-system/wakened-from-its-latest-hibernation-new-horizons-may-visit-additional-kbos/#s3X7isVlGEPJ6Sbm.99
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/19/2017 11:28 PM
ARTICLE:
New Horizons might get more flyby targets; Pluto features get official names - by Chris Gebhardt:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/09/new-horizons-flyby-targets-pluto-official-names/

L2 Render via Nathan Koga.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: danielc56 on 09/21/2017 07:55 PM
Seriously awesome! The chance to explore that part of our Solar System again anytime soon is pretty small. So best to make use of the hardware that's already out there (and the team with all it's knowledge).

The mere possibility of visiting 3-4 more objects beyond Pluto has me super excited! I hope the team gets NASA's (and the federal government's) full support, and the little spacecraft can hold out long enough to provide us with amazing new science.

It's becoming more and more rare for there to be "firsts" in space exploration nowadays. The chance to explore a whole new section of space should definitely be taken advantage of.

danielc56 :)
Title: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 09/26/2017 07:30 PM
The New Horizons and Hubble Space Telescope Search For Rings, Dust, and Debris in the Pluto-Charon System

Quote
We searched for dust or debris rings in the Pluto-Charon system before, during, and after the New Horizons encounter. Methodologies included searching for back-scattered light during the approach to Pluto (phase ∼15∘), in situ detection of impacting particles, a search for stellar occultations near the time of closest approach, and by forward-scattered light during departure (phase ∼165∘). A search using HST prior to the encounter also contributed to the results. No rings, debris, or dust features were observed, but our detection limits provide an improved picture of the environment throughout the Pluto-Charon system. Searches for rings in back-scattered light covered 35,000-250,000 km from the system barycenter, a zone that starts interior to the orbit of Styx, and extends to four times the orbital radius of Hydra. We obtained our firmest limits using the NH LORRI camera in the inner half of this region. Our limits on the normal I/F of an unseen ring depends on the radial scale of the rings: 2×10−8 (3σ) for 1500 km wide rings, 1×10−8 for 6000 km rings, and 7×10−9 for 12,000 km rings. Beyond ∼100,000 km from Pluto, HST observations limit normal I/F to ∼8×10−8. Searches for dust from forward-scattered light extended from the surface of Pluto to the Pluto-Charon Hill sphere (rHill=6.4×106 km). No evidence for rings or dust was detected to normal I/F limits of ∼8.9×10−7 on ∼104 km scales. Four occulation observations also probed the space interior to Hydra, but again no dust or debris was detected. Elsewhere in the solar system, small moons commonly share their orbits with faint dust rings. Our results suggest that small grains are quickly lost from the system due to solar radiation pressure, whereas larger particles are unstable due to perturbations by the known moons.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.07981
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: catdlr on 09/26/2017 10:07 PM
Exotic Ice Formations Found on Pluto

NASA's Ames Research Center
Published on Sep 26, 2017

NASA’s New Horizons mission revolutionized our knowledge of Pluto when it flew past that distant world in July 2015. Among its many discoveries were images of strange formations (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/scientists-offer-sharper-insight-into-pluto-s-bladed-terrain) resembling giant blades of ice, whose origin had remained a mystery.

Now, scientists have turned up a fascinating explanation for this “bladed terrain”: the structures are made almost entirely of methane ice, and likely formed as a specific kind of erosion wore away their surfaces, leaving dramatic crests and sharp divides.

More info: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/solving-the-mystery-of-pluto-s-giant-blades-of-ice

Video credit: NASA's Ames Research Center

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSKQwwWehEs?T=001

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSKQwwWehEs
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 11/07/2017 06:46 AM
Someone please help NASA come up with a better name for New Horizons’ next space target

Quote
Now, you can suggest nicknames on a website hosted by the SETI Institute of Mountain View, California. But don’t worry, this won’t turn into another Boaty McBoatface situation. Members of the public can nominate names, and then officials will select their favorite submissions and put them up for vote. People can also check to see which names are getting the most love over the next month.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/6/16614722/nasa-new-horizons-spacecraft-pluto-2014-mu69-nickname-flyby
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Zed_Noir on 11/08/2017 02:45 AM
Someone please help NASA come up with a better name for New Horizons’ next space target

Quote
Now, you can suggest nicknames on a website hosted by the SETI Institute of Mountain View, California. But don’t worry, this won’t turn into another Boaty McBoatface situation. Members of the public can nominate names, and then officials will select their favorite submissions and put them up for vote. People can also check to see which names are getting the most love over the next month.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/6/16614722/nasa-new-horizons-spacecraft-pluto-2014-mu69-nickname-flyby

;D Colbert's Lair ;D
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: jebbo on 11/08/2017 07:22 AM
As it looks like it is probably a binary, Eric Berger has nominated "Carolyn & Eugene", which I think would be a fitting tribute to their immense contribution.

--- Tony
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 12/09/2017 09:11 PM
Quote
AlanStern
@AlanStern
BURN SUCCESSFUL! New Horizons has reported a good trajectory maneuver today in the Kuiper Belt— MU69, here we come! #PlutoFlyby

https://mobile.twitter.com/AlanStern/status/939568046053605376
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 12/12/2017 07:32 PM
Quote
Jeff Foust
@jeff_foust
Marc Buie, in New Horizons briefing at #AGU17: think MU69 is a contact binary, with a small moon orbiting it that was seen in SOFIA occultation but not in later Argentina observations.

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/940638473459060736
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 12/13/2017 10:56 AM
Write-up by BBC Science Correspondent, Jonathan Amos:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42333783 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42333783)
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: redliox on 12/13/2017 03:16 PM
Write-up by BBC Science Correspondent, Jonathan Amos:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42333783 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42333783)

I'm glad 'Horizons' next target is proving to be more interesting than expected.

Assuming the moonlet is confirmed at in indeed orbits between 200-300 km from MU69, would the 3500 km planned for the flyby still be sufficiently safe?
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Targeteer on 12/16/2017 10:39 PM
Quote
AlanStern
@AlanStern
BURN SUCCESSFUL! New Horizons has reported a good trajectory maneuver today in the Kuiper Belt— MU69, here we come! #PlutoFlyby

https://mobile.twitter.com/AlanStern/status/939568046053605376

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20171209


December 9, 2017

New Horizons Corrects Its Course in the Kuiper Belt

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft carried out a short, 2.5-minute engine burn on Saturday, Dec. 9 that refined its course toward 2014 MU69, the ancient Kuiper Belt object it will fly by a little more than a year from now.

Setting a record for the farthest spacecraft course correction to date, the engine burn also adjusted the arrival time at MU69 to optimize flyby science.

Telemetry confirming that the maneuver went as planned reached the New Horizons mission operations center around 1 p.m. EST at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, via NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) stations in Goldstone, California. The radio signals carrying the data traveled over 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers) and took five hours and 41 minutes to reach Earth at the speed of light.

Operating by timed commands stored on its computer, New Horizons fired its thrusters for 152 seconds, adjusting its velocity by about 151 centimeters per second, a little more than three miles per hour. The maneuver both refined the course toward and optimized the flyby arrival time at MU69, by setting closest approach to 12:33 a.m. EST (5:33 UTC) on Jan. 1, 2019. The prime flyby distance is set at 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers); the timing provides better visibility for DSN's powerful antennas to reflect radar waves off the surface of MU69 for New Horizons to receive – a difficult experiment that, if it succeeds, will help scientists determine the reflectivity and roughness of MU69's surface.

Today's maneuver was the last trajectory correction during the spacecraft's long "cruise" between Pluto, which it flew past in July 2015, and the MU69 flyby. New Horizons Mission Design Lead Yanping Guo, of APL, said the next course-correction opportunity comes in October 2018, at the start of the MU69 approach phase. The mission team is using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Gaia mission to hone its aim toward MU69, which was discovered in 2014.

"We are on course and getting more excited all the time; this flyby is now barely a year away!" said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

The mission team will put the New Horizons spacecraft into hibernation mode on Dec. 21, where it will stay until early next June. The spacecraft is healthy and speeding away from the Sun at 31,786 miles (51,156 kilometers) per hour, or over 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) per day.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 12/22/2017 12:14 PM
Quote
December 21, 2017
New Horizons Enters Last Hibernation Period Before Kuiper Belt Encounter

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has entered its last hibernation phase before its January 2019 encounter with Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69.

Mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, verified that New Horizons – acting on commands uplinked to its main computer the week before – went into its hibernation mode today at 9:31 a.m. EST. With the spacecraft now about 3.8 billion miles (nearly 6.2 billion kilometers) from Earth, the radio signals carrying that confirmation message from New Horizons needed five hours and 42 minutes – traveling at the speed of light – to reach the APL mission operations center through NASA's Deep Space Network station near Madrid, Spain.

This hibernation period will last until June 4, 2018. While the spacecraft hibernates the mission team will continue to plan the detailed sequences that will tell New Horizons how to make the many planned scientific observations of MU69 during its close-range pass in the days surrounding Jan. 1, 2019.

After June 4 the spacecraft will stay "awake" until late 2020, long after the MU69 flyby, when all of the data from that flyby have reached Earth.

Follow New Horizons' path through the Kuiper Belt at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/Where-is-New-Horizons/index.php.

A Hibernation Refresher:
During hibernation mode, much of the New Horizons spacecraft is unpowered. The onboard flight computer monitors system health and broadcasts a weekly beacon-status tone back to Earth, and about once a month sends home data on spacecraft health and safety. An onboard sequence sent in advance by mission controllers will eventually wake New Horizons to check out critical systems, gather new Kuiper Belt science data, and perform course corrections (if necessary).

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20171221 (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20171221)

Photo caption:

Quote
In the New Horizons Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, (from left) Anisha Hosadurga, Graeme Keleher and Daniel Hals watch for telemetry indicating the New Horizons spacecraft had successfully entered hibernation mode on Dec. 21. (Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Chris Bergin on 01/01/2018 04:55 PM
FEATURE ARTICLE: Year In Review 2017 (Part 4): One year to New Horizons’ flyby of MU69 - https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/01/yir-2017-part-4-one-year-new-horizons-flyby-mu69/ …

- By Chris Gebhardt

Lead Render by Nathan Koga for NSF L2
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 01/06/2018 04:26 PM
Quote
Homing in! Today New Horizons is crossing the 3 AU marker, inbound to intercept our KBO 2014 MU69 at New Years 2019! #PlutoFlyby

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/949637433028562945
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 08:06 PM
Plot thickens as New Horizons moves within year of next flyby

Quote
The final days before NASA’s New Horizons probe barrels in on its next destination on Jan. 1, 2019, should prove eventful, with scientists trying to sort out whether a distant mini-world detected by the Hubble Space Telescope more than three years ago may actually be a swarm of icy objects.

https://astronomynow.com/2018/01/06/plot-thickens-as-new-horizons-moves-within-year-of-next-flyby/
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 01/15/2018 08:13 PM
Quote
Just got word-- GREEN BEACON received from New Horizons! All's well in the Kuiper Belt! #PlutoFlyby

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/953010023457845249
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 01/16/2018 03:24 PM
Quote
The @NASAVoyager and @NewHorizons2015 teams are having a joint meeting today to see how we can best explore the deep heliosphere together! #NASA

https://twitter.com/AlanStern/status/953300982867341313
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 01/29/2018 07:57 PM
Gravity Assist: Pluto with Alan Stern

https://www.nasa.gov/mediacast/gravity-assist-pluto-with-alan-stern
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: leovinus on 02/01/2018 09:23 PM
"New Horizons prepares for encounter with 2014 MU69"
Update from Emily Lakdawalla @ The Planetary Society
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2018/0124-new-horizons-prepares-for-2014mu69.html (http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2018/0124-new-horizons-prepares-for-2014mu69.html)
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 02/09/2018 06:53 AM
New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images in the Kuiper Belt

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-captures-record-breaking-images-in-the-kuiper-belt

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/kbo_2102hz84_and_kbo_2102he85.jpg
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/19/2018 11:46 AM
Quote
THIS JUST IN! New Horizons has sent a green beacon back from the Kuiper Belt-- all's well aboard our intrepid explorer! #PlutoFlyby

https://twitter.com/AlanStern/status/965565898512777216
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/25/2018 07:33 AM
Great extended (over 35 mins) interview with Alan Stern on TMRO. Interview starts at about 25:40

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWSyo3YqzDI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWSyo3YqzDI)
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: flyright on 02/26/2018 12:04 AM
The interview with Alan Stern is fun to listen to. Its a good summary of all the complex and hard work that preceded the exciting discoveries at Pluto.
Now looking forward to New Years Day, 2019 and flyby of 2014 MU69.
(Dr Stern said they'll find a better name for 2014 MU69 before then)
 :)
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/13/2018 03:03 PM
Quote
March 13, 2018

New Horizons Chooses Nickname for ‘Ultimate’ Flyby Target

As NASA’s New Horizons mission continues exploring the unknown, the mission team has selected a highly appropriate nickname for its next flyby target in the outer reaches of the solar system.

With substantial public input, the team has chosen “Ultima Thule” (pronounced ultima thoo-lee”) for the Kuiper Belt object the New Horizons spacecraft will explore on Jan. 1, 2019. Officially known as 2014 MU69, the object, which orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto, will be the most primitive world ever observed by spacecraft – in the farthest planetary encounter in history.

Thule was a mythical, far-northern island in medieval literature and cartography. Ultima Thule means "beyond Thule"– beyond the borders of the known world—symbolizing the exploration of the distant Kuiper Belt and Kuiper Belt objects that New Horizons is performing, something never before done.

“MU69 is humanity's next Ultima Thule,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Our spacecraft is heading beyond the limits of the known worlds, to what will be this mission’s next achievement. Since this will be the farthest exploration of any object in space in history, I like to call our flyby target Ultima, for short, symbolizing this ultimate exploration by NASA and our team.”

Looking for a more inspirational albeit temporary moniker than the designator 2014 MU69, NASA and the New Horizons team launched the nickname campaign in early November. Hosted by the SETI Institute of Mountain View, California, and led by Mark Showalter, an institute fellow and member of the New Horizons science team, the online contest (http://frontierworlds.seti.org/) sought nominations from the public and stipulated that a nickname would be chosen from among the top vote-getters.

The popular campaign wrapped up on Dec. 6, after a five-day extension to accommodate more voting. The campaign involved 115,000 participants from around the world, who nominated some 34,000 names. Of those, 37 names reached the ballot for voting and were evaluated for popularity – this included eight names suggested by the New Horizons team and 29 nominated by the public.

The team then narrowed its selection to the 29 publicly nominated names and gave preference to names near the top of the polls. Ultima Thule was nominated by about 40 members of the public and one of the highest vote-getters among all name nominees. “We are grateful to those who proposed such an interesting and inspirational nickname,” Showalter said. “They deserve credit for capturing the true spirit of exploration that New Horizons embodies.”

The name was suggested to think of MU69 as a distant follow up to Pluto, which New Horizons historically and famously encountered in July 2015. Other names considered included Abeona, Pharos, Pangu, Rubicon, Olympus, Pinnacle and Tiramisu. The final tallies are posted at http://frontierworlds.seti.org/.

After the flyby, NASA and the New Horizons team will choose a formal name to submit to the International Astronomical Union, based in part on whether MU69 is found to be a single body, a binary pair, or perhaps a system of multiple objects.

Learn more about New Horizons, NASA's mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, at http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons and http://pluto.jhuapl.edu.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-chooses-nickname-for-ultimate-flyby-target

Picture caption:

Quote
Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object that orbits one billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto, on Jan. 1, 2019. With public input, the team has selected the nickname “Ultima Thule” for the object, which will be the most primitive and most distant world ever explored by spacecraft.
Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Steve Gribben
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: plutogno on 03/13/2018 04:00 PM
seriously? a press release about a nickname?
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: dsmillman on 03/13/2018 04:11 PM
seriously? a press release about a nickname?
New Horizons is in hibernate mode until June.  You use any excuse to get publicity.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 03/13/2018 08:15 PM
There was a planet called Ultima Thule in one episode of the first season of Space 1999.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: plutogno on 03/14/2018 05:35 AM
There was a planet called Ultima Thule in one episode of the first season of Space 1999.

and quite a gruesome episode!
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: AegeanBlue on 03/14/2018 08:18 PM
Pytheas of Massalia traveled in the Atlantic Ocean in the 4th century BC search for the tin islands, and discovered Britain. He then sailed northwest to an island twice the size of Britain which he called Thule, until he reached the ice barrier. Northeast of Britain lies Scandinavia which is twice the size of Britain, northwest is Iceland which is not. In any case we are talking about an era when the largest island in the Mediterranean was believed to be Sardinia rather than Sicily. Following Pytheas Thule took the connotation of far away and exotic northern location. Antonius Diogenes (2nd century AD) wrote a book, lost when the Crusaders of the 4th Crusade took and ransacked Constantinople in 1204, usually translated in English "On the wonders beyond Thule", which is likely the origin of the term Ultima Thule
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/09/2018 07:41 PM
Quote
The New Horizons Ultima Thule flyby hazards search team is at @JHUAPL this week conducting their third mission simulation in prep for the flyby late this year This morning I gave them all hard hats so they can look like a proper hazards team! #ScientistsInHardHats Like?

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/983379211133087744
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 04/11/2018 08:15 PM
Legendary explorers and visionaries, real and fictitious, are among those immortalized by the IAU in the first set of official surface-feature names for Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. The names were proposed by the New Horizons team and approved by IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features, recently approved a dozen names proposed by NASA's New Horizons team, which led the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons in 2015 with the New Horizons spacecraft. The New Horizons team had been using many of the chosen names informally to describe the many valleys, crevices and craters discovered during the first close-up look at the surface Charon.

Charon is one of the larger bodies in the Kuiper Belt, and has a wealth of geological features, as well as a collection of craters similar to those seen on most moons. These features and some of Charon’s craters have now been assigned official names by the IAU.

The New Horizons team was instrumental in moving the new names through approval, and included the leader of the New Horizons missions, Dr. Alan Stern, and science team members Mark Showalter — the group's chairman and liaison to the IAU — Ross Beyer, Will Grundy, William McKinnon, Jeff Moore, Cathy Olkin, Paul Schenk and Amanda Zangari. The team gathered most of their ideas during the Our Plutoonline public naming campaign in 2015.

The names approved by the IAU encompass the diverse range of recommendations the team received from around the world during the Our Pluto campaign. As well as the efforts of the New Horizons team, members of the public all over the world helped to name the features of Charon by contributing their suggestions for names of the features of this far-flung moon.

Honouring the epic exploration of Pluto that New Horizons accomplished, many of the feature names in the Pluto system pay homage to the spirit of human exploration, honouring travellers, explorers and scientists, pioneering journeys, and mysterious destinations. Rita Schulz, chair of the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature, commented that “I am pleased that the features on Charon have been named with international spirit.”

The approved Charon names focus on the literature and mythology of exploration. They are listed here:

Argo Chasma is named for the ship sailed by Jason and the Argonauts, in the epic Latin poem Argonautica, during their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Butler Mons honours Octavia E. Butler, the first science fiction writer to win a MacArthur fellowship, and whose Xenogenesis trilogy describes humankind’s departure from Earth and subsequent return.

Caleuche Chasma is named for the mythological ghost ship that travels the seas around the small island of Chiloé, off the coast of Chile; according to legend, the Caleuche explores the coastline collecting the dead, who then live aboard it forever.

Clarke Montes honours Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the prolific science fiction writer and futurist whose novels and short stories (including 2001: A Space Odyssey) were imaginative depictions of space exploration.

Dorothy Crater recognizes the protagonist in the series of children’s novels, by L. Frank Baum, that follows Dorothy Gale’s travels to and adventures in the magical world of Oz.

Kubrick Mons honours film director Stanley Kubrick, whose iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of humanity’s evolution from tool-using hominids to space explorers and beyond.

Mandjet Chasma is named for one of the boats in Egyptian mythology that carried the sun god Ra (Re) across the sky each day — making it one of the earliest mythological examples of a vessel of space travel.

Nasreddin Crater is named for the protagonist in thousands of humorous folktales told throughout the Middle East, southern Europe and parts of Asia.

Nemo Crater is named for the captain of the Nautilus, the submarine in Jules Verne’s novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and The Mysterious Island (1874).

Pirx Crater is named for the main character in a series of short stories by Stanislaw Lem, who travels between the Earth, Moon and Mars.

Revati Crater is named for the main character in the Hindu epic narrative Mahabharata — widely regarded as the first in history (circa 400 BC) to include the concept of time travel.

Sadko Crater recognizes the adventurer who travelled to the bottom of the sea in the medieval Russian epic Bylina.

https://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1803/
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 04/11/2018 08:35 PM
The nitrogen cycles on Pluto over seasonal and astronomical timescales

Quote
Pluto's landscape is shaped by the cycles of the volatile ices covering its surface. In particular, the Sputnik Planitia (SP) ice sheet displays a large diversity of terrains, with bright and dark plains, pits, topographic depressions and evidences of recent and past glacial flows. Outside SP, New Horizons also revealed numerous N2 ice deposits, in Tombaugh Regio and at mid-northern latitudes. These observations suggest a complex history involving volatile and glacial processes on different timescales. We present numerical simulations of volatile transport on Pluto performed with a model able to simulate the N2 cycle over millions of years (Myrs), taking into account the changes of obliquity and orbital parameters as experienced by Pluto. Results show that over one obliquity cycle, the latitudes of SP between 25{\deg}S-30{\deg}N are dominated by N2 condensation, while the latitudes between 30-50{\deg}N are dominated by N2 sublimation. We find that a net amount of 1 km of ice has sublimed at the northern edge of SP during the last 2 Myrs. By comparing these results with the observed geology of SP, we can relate the formation of the pits and the brightness of the ice to the ice flux occurring at the annual timescale, while the glacial flows at its eastern edge and the erosion of the water ice mountains all around the ice sheet are related to the astronomical timescale. We also perform simulations with a glacial flow scheme which shows that SP is currently at its minimum extent. We also explore the stability of N2 ice outside SP. Results show that it is not stable at the poles but rather in the equatorial regions, in particular in depressions, where thick deposits may persist over tens of Myrs, before being trapped in SP. Finally, another key result is that the minimum and maximum surface pressures obtained over the simulated Myrs remain in the range of mm-Pa and Pa, respectively.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.02434
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/18/2018 08:57 PM
Good interview with Alan Stern on TheSpaceShow at the weekend:

http://www.thespaceshow.com/show/15-apr-2018/broadcast-3100-dr.-alan-stern (http://www.thespaceshow.com/show/15-apr-2018/broadcast-3100-dr.-alan-stern)
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/29/2018 03:32 PM
Quote
CANNOT WAIT! We’re doing a Reddit AMA about our new book, Chasing New Horizons (see read.macmillan.com/lp/chasing-new… ) on May 9th, 10 am Eastern! Ask me anything abut the book, the mission, Pluto, or even space exploration!

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/990613660606255104
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/06/2018 03:51 PM
Quote
AS OF TODAY, New Horizons is just 2 Astronomical Units to our next flyby target Ultima Thule--arrival on 1 Jan 2019!

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/993081889639616512
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/08/2018 09:58 AM
Quote
GREEN BEACON! Overnight New Horizons reported in that all is well with it in hibernation out in the Kuiper Belt! Waking up for active ops soon— on June 4th! #PlutoFlyby

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/993779801533149184
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 05/25/2018 07:58 PM
Pluto May Have Formed from 1 Billion Comets

https://amp.space.com/40687-pluto-formation-1-billion-comets.html
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/28/2018 07:17 PM
Quote
JUST GOT WORD FROM THE KUIPER BELT, New Horizons sent a GREEN BEACON! All’s well way out there. And this was our last beacon until long after flyby when downlink finishes in 2020. We wake the bird up from hibernation to start flyby preps next week! GO NEW HORIZONS!

https://twitter.com/alanstern/status/1001175445696638979
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 05/31/2018 07:52 PM
Dunes on Pluto

Quote
Dunes decorate many bodies in the solar system — not only our familiar Earth, but also Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and maybe even the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Using the spectacular data that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back of Pluto’s surface after its 2015 flyby, researchers decided to look for dunes on that world, too. Reporting in the June 1st Science, Matt Telfer (University of Plymouth, UK) and colleagues think they’ve found them.

The team discovered a wide swath of parallel ripples on the western edge of Sputnik Planitia, the vast plain of molecular nitrogen (N2) at Pluto’s equator. This edge abuts the cordilleran Al-Idrisi Montes, which reach some 5 km (3 mi) into the Plutonian sky. The series of ripples runs largely parallel to the mountain-plain boundary and extend out from it for 75 km, eventually becoming gentler and fading out. This pattern is just what you’d expect if the ridges are dunes formed by wind coming off the mountains and sweeping across Sputnik Planitia.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/dunes-on-pluto-3106201823/
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Chris Bergin on 06/04/2018 06:14 PM
ARTICLE: New Horizons about to leave hibernation ahead of January MU69 flyby -

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/06/new-horizons-leave-hibernation-january-mu69-flyby/

- By Ian Atkinson
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Star One on 06/05/2018 07:38 PM
New Horizons Wakes for Historic Kuiper Belt Flyby

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is back "awake" and being prepared for the farthest planetary encounter in history – a New Year's Day 2019 flyby of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule.

Cruising through the Kuiper Belt more than 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) from Earth, New Horizons had been in resource-saving hibernation mode since Dec. 21. Radio signals confirming that New Horizons had executed on-board computer commands to exit hibernation reached mission operations at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, via NASA's Deep Space Network at 2:12 a.m. EDT on June 5.

Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman of APL reported that the spacecraft was in good health and operating normally, with all systems coming back online as expected.

Over the next three days, the mission team will collect navigation tracking data (using signals from the Deep Space Network) and send the first of many commands to New Horizons' onboard computers to begin preparations for the Ultima flyby; lasting about two months, those flyby preparations include memory updates, Kuiper Belt science data retrieval, and a series of subsystem and science-instrument checkouts. In August, the team will command New Horizons to begin making distant observations of Ultima, images that will help the team refine the spacecraft's course to fly by the object.

"Our team is already deep into planning and simulations of our upcoming flyby of Ultima Thule and excited that New Horizons is now back in an active state to ready the bird for flyby operations, which will begin in late August," said mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

New Horizons made a historic flight past Pluto and its moons on July 14, 2015, returning data that has transformed our view of these intriguing worlds near the inner edge of the Kuiper Belt. Since then, New Horizons has been speeding deeper into this distant region, observing other Kuiper Belt objects and measuring the properties of the heliosphere while heading toward the flyby of Ultima Thule -- about a billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto – on Jan. 1, 2019.

New Horizons is now approximately 162 million miles (262 million kilometers) – less than twice the distance between Earth and the Sun – from Ultima, speeding 760,200 miles (1,223,420 kilometers closer each day. Follow New Horizons on its voyage at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/Where-is-New-Horizons/index.php (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/Where-is-New-Horizons/index.php).

Long-Distance Numbers

On June 5, 2018, New Horizons was nearly 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers) from Earth. From there – more than 40 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun – a radio signal sent from the spacecraft at light speed reached Earth 5 hours and 40 minutes later.

The 165-day hibernation that ended June 4 was the second of two such "rest" periods for the spacecraft before the Ultima Thule flyby. The spacecraft will now remain active until late 2020, after it has transmitted all data from the Ultima encounter back to Earth and completed other Kuiper Belt science observations.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 06/11/2018 03:23 PM
Quote
Here's something SWEEEET & NEW about @NewHorizons: Looks like our latest fuel budget predicts a couple of extra kilograms for future extended mission proposals to study the Kuiper Belt!

https://twitter.com/AlanStern/status/1005892595006955520
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 06/18/2018 06:26 PM
I'm genuinely surprised and impressed that NH even has any propellent left after the burn to intercept MU69!
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: cscott on 06/19/2018 07:15 PM
I'm genuinely surprised and impressed that NH even has any propellent left after the burn to intercept MU69!

IIRC when they were evaluating the two possible post-Pluto targets, they chose this one specifically because it gave them better fuel margins for contingencies.  So the fact that they have fuel left over is "by design".
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: Nomadd on 06/19/2018 07:19 PM
I'm genuinely surprised and impressed that NH even has any propellent left after the burn to intercept MU69!

IIRC when they were evaluating the two possible post-Pluto targets, they chose this one specifically because it gave them better fuel margins for contingencies.  So the fact that they have fuel left over is "by design".
Yep. One the other targets was larger, but there was something like a 5% chance they'd have fuel issues there.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: IanThePineapple on 06/19/2018 07:55 PM
I'm genuinely surprised and impressed that NH even has any propellent left after the burn to intercept MU69!

IIRC when they were evaluating the two possible post-Pluto targets, they chose this one specifically because it gave them better fuel margins for contingencies.  So the fact that they have fuel left over is "by design".
Yep. One the other targets was larger, but there was something like a 5% chance they'd have fuel issues there.

It also could give them the possibility to flyby one or more targets after MU69 since they have extra fuel left.
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 06/25/2018 12:42 PM
Quote
The New Horizons Kuiper Belt Extended Mission
S.A. Stern, H.A. Weaver, J.R. Spencer, H.A. Elliott, the New Horizons Team
(Submitted on 21 Jun 2018)

The central objective of the New Horizons prime mission was to make the first exploration of Pluto and its system of moons. Following that, New Horizons has been approved for its first extended mission, which has the objectives of extensively studying the Kuiper Belt environment, observing numerous Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and Centaurs in unique ways, and making the first close flyby of the KBO 486958 2014 MU69. This review summarizes the objectives and plans for this approved mission extension, and briefly looks forward to potential objectives for subsequent extended missions by New Horizons.

Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
DOI:    10.1007/s11214-018-0507-4
Cite as:    arXiv:1806.08393 [astro-ph.EP]
     (or arXiv:1806.08393v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.08393
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 08/04/2018 02:27 PM
Quote
August 4, 2018
New Horizons Team Reports Initial Success in Observing Ultima Thule

Using telescopes to watch the distant Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule pass in front of star on Aug. 3-4, observing teams in Senegal and Colombia report that they've gathered data on New Horizons' next flyby target.

Observing the object is a crucial step, but only the first. The team has weeks of data analysis ahead. "We have lots of work to do," said Marc Buie, the New Horizons co-investigator from Southwest Research Institute who leads the observation campaign. "We all fought weather issues [in Senegal and Colombia] but prevailed anyway. The observing teams are due a huge amount of thanks for their efforts."

The New Horizons team is using stellar occultation observations to gather information about the size, shape, environment and other conditions around Ultima Thule. These data are critical to planning the mission's flyby of the object on Jan. 1, 2019.

Read here about the preparations for the observation campaign. (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20180731)

Watch this timelapse video of observation rehearsals from New Horizons team member Simon Porter. (https://twitter.com/i/status/1024989820404285440)

Gathering occultation data is a difficult task. Read here about the successful campaign to gather initial data on Ultima in 2017. (http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/KBO-Chasers.php)

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20180804
Title: Re: New Horizons updates
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 08/12/2018 06:32 AM
Quote
New Horizons Spacecraft Sees Possible Hydrogen Wall at the End of the Solar System

Ryan F. Mandelbaum
Friday 4:42pm

As it speeds away from the Sun, the New Horizons mission may be approaching a “wall.”

The New Horizons spacecraft, now at a distance nearly four billion miles from Earth and already far beyond Pluto, has measured what appears to be a signature of the furthest reaches of the Sun’s energy—a wall of hydrogen. It nearly matches the same measurement made by the Voyager mission 30 years ago, and offers more information as to the furthest limits of our Sun’s reach.

https://gizmodo.com/new-horizons-spacecraft-sees-hydrogen-wall-at-the-end-o-1828258683