NASA “New Horizons” spacecraft will sweep past the icy planet capturing new images of Pluto and exploring the planet. NASA confirms this mission to be the biggest planetary unveiling in the quarter century.
NASA Prepared for Showtime Pluto
New Horizons space craft has been travelling three billion miles, for nearly nine and half years to reach the historic point. This is the fastest spacecraft ever launched by NASA and it carries the most powerful science instruments ever sent in probing secrets of the Solar System. This spacecraft is similar in size of a baby Piano. The spacecraft will come closer to the Planet at 7.49am EDT on Tuesday morning. At this time ‘New Horizons’ is predicted to pass at 7767 miles nearby Pluto. After 14 minutes, the space Craft will record the pictures of Pluto’s Jumbo Moon “Charon”.
Scientists gathered at the Operations Center at Johns Hopkins University’s applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland have a reason to celebrate the event. The lab has designed and built the spacecraft for NASA and has been managing its travel path through the Solar system. A Planetary Scientist Stern from the South West Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado says that he has been waiting a very long time for the last picture show, by NASA using “New Horizons”. He adds that an image released last week showed a Copper colored Pluto with a large bright spot in the shape of a heart in the center.
This mission will be the last exploration of the Planet’s in our Solar System by NASA since exploring Planet Venus in the year 1962. This Pluto mission falls on the 5th anniversary of first ever, flyby of Mars, by Mariner 4. As we know that Pluto is no longer an official planet, but it enjoyed full planet status when “New Horizons” spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 2006.
The pictures featuring a sneak peak of Pluto are really amazing, says Johns Hopkins. He adds that the Science team is observing attentively the pictures of Pluto. Scientists, this time expect pictures of clear resolution as this would be the closest approach of the space craft with Pluto.
The weight of New Horizons Space Craft is 453 kgs approximately including fuel. This has seven instruments which will be in full force at the time of encounter. This spacecraft can collect data 5000 times when compared to Mariner 4.