It shows the side of the planet we’ll glimpse during July 14th’s flyby, as photographed from June 27 to July 3 by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).
NASA announced that the space probe New Horizons is expected to resume service on Tuesday after the probe’s computer crashed over the weekend, threatening to delay its planned Pluto flyby.
“We’re at the “man in the moon” stage of viewing Pluto“, said John Spencer of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado, deputy leader of the Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team.
This view is centered roughly on the area that will be seen close-up during New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach.
A new map of Pluto that scientists have constructed from images captured by the famed spacecraft New Horizons has just hit the proverbial press. New Horizons has traveled more than three billion miles to get there over a 9-year period.
The New Horizons spacecraft is now officially en route to Pluto. The probe will be zooming by at 31,000 miles per hour (14 kilometers per second) during the main encounter, which will last about eight to 10 hours, NASA predicts.
Despite a recent technical glitch, NASA’s big Pluto adventure is still on. A dark, whale-shaped feature is at left, and there’s a doughnut-shaped feature just above the whale’s tail at far left.
This IAU submission is categorized its proposed Pluto feature names into six themes that include Space Missions and Spacecraft, Underworld Beings, Scientists and Engineers, Historic Explorers and Underworlds and Underworld Locales with Travelers to the Underworld.
About 2 1/2 days of science observations were lost because of the problem.
The probe isn’t carrying enough fuel to slow down and orbit the dwarf planet, so instead will fly past it, and its moon Charon, and head for the Kuiper belt, a region beyond the planets that is thought to contain lots of icy moons.
The New Horizons team received the new photo early Wednesday morning. As said by the mission’s principal investigator Alan Stern, two and a half days of science data were lost, which amounted to six percent of the total number of information it collected during its 9-year mission.
The pictures accurately depict what you might see if you were riding on the New Horizons spacecraft yourself, according to a NASA news release.