Author Topic: New Horizons Makes Pluto Flyby  (Read 397 times)

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Offline Ultimate Paragon

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New Horizons Makes Pluto Flyby
« on: July 14, 2015, 08:42:30 pm »

The first age of solar system exploration is in the books.

NASA's New Horizons probe flew by Pluto this morning (July 14), capturing history's first up-close looks at the far-flung world — if all went according to plan. (Mission team members won't declare success until they hear from New Horizons tonight.) Closest approach came at 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT), when the spacecraft whizzed within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto's frigid surface. To celebrate, NASA unveiled the latest photo of Pluto, showing a reddish world with a stunning heart-shaped feature on its face.

After today's close encounter, all nine of the solar system's traditionally recognized planets have now been visited by a robotic spacecraft — a massive undertaking begun in 1962 when NASA's Mariner 2 probe zoomed past Venus. More than 1,200 scientists, NASA guests and dignitaries - including 200 reporters - watched the flyby live at New Horizons' mission control center at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. They chanted a countdown to the closest approach, then cheered and waved American flags as the big moment occurred. [New Horizons' Epic Pluto Flyby: Complete Coverage]

New Horizons is "a capstone mission," Glen Fountain, mission project manager from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, told "It is the completion of this initial reconnaissance of our solar system. It's giving us a new perspective about how we as human beings fit into the universe."

In a coincidence of cosmic proportions, today's close approach fell on the 50th anniversary of the first flyby of Mars, which NASA's Mariner 4 spacecraft executed on July 14, 1965.

You know the box on your tax returns that asks if you'd like to contribute $1 to the presidential election fund?

I wish we had one that said "Would you like to contribute 1% of your taxes to NASA?"

Well done, ladies and gentlemen!

Offline Ironchew

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Re: New Horizons Makes Pluto Flyby
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 09:54:48 pm »
I wish we had Congresspeople who understood the value of space exploration and who would accept NASA's proposed budget each year without slashing it -- similar to their capitulations to the DoD and the military-industrial complex.

This is an impressive mission. To think nobody's touched it for over nine years and it did what it was supposed to do.
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Offline Tolpuddle Martyr

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