New Horizons is a lean, speedy space machine, but mission managers did tuck in nine mementos. The data will travel billions of miles over radiowaves and then undergo processing.
Verbiscer and Howard will join a multitude of other scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to be on hand Tuesday’s flyby.
She said there are two options for where New Horizons will go next.
As for “the whale”, it’s a darkened area located along the ex- planet’s equator.
“We’re so far away that we know next to nothing about its geology and geography”, she said. The probe has already shown unexplained dark features on the Pluto’s surface, as well as the hint of a polar ice cap.
The public talk and the explanation of the Pluto mission will be held Thursday, July 16 at 7 p.m.at the Clark Planetarium in the Advanced Technology Center building.
Bagenal, a faculty member in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and LASP affiliate, said the interactions of the solar wind with Pluto’s tenuous atmosphere, which is leaking into space, is of high interest. But only the global Astronomical Union has the authority to label celestial objects and Pluto remains technically a dwarf moon.
New Horizons has seven instruments on board to help scientists better understand how Pluto and its moons fit in with the rest of the planets in our solar system. But Pluto is different: Even though it is out beyond the gas giants, it has a solid, icy surface.
In much the same way, New Horizons will give us a close-up view of Pluto for the first time next week.
The probe has always been barreling to the brownie mother earth and also its particular principal celestial body overhead, Charon, taking into consideration that January 2006. Pluto also has four smaller moons: Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx.
New Horizons looks like a gold foil-covered grand piano. It weighed 1,054 pounds (478 kilograms) at launch. In Pluto’s case, it crosses the orbit of Neptune and if they ever collided, Neptune wouldn’t care, and Pluto wouldn’t be around anymore. Instead, it will keep flying, heading deeper into the Kuiper Belt, a region that scientists think is filled with hundreds of small, icy objects. “I think we are in for a good ride, and it’s going to be lots of fun”.
For every astronomer that speculates on what is likely to be found on faraway planets, there is also many new discoveries that leave them scratching their heads.