Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Horizons Nears Pluto

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is approaching Pluto at about 31,000 miles per hour (51,000 kph), headed toward a closest approach on July 14. Above is the most recent image I could find on the mission web site, posted on May 27.

Imagine of Pluto and Charon, its largest moon, from early May. Pluto's other moons are much smaller and rather than orbiting Pluto they orbit the Pluto-Charon system in a bizarrely complex dance. The latest news from the  project team is that their search for dangerous space junk in the spaceship's path turned up nothing threatening, so it will continue on its current course. This should take it within about 6,000 miles (10,000 km) of Pluto's surface.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

I'm curious why they don't go closer. Do they lack the means to alter course sufficiently to do so at this point?