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January 19-25, 2015 / Vol 34, No 3 / Hawai`i Island, USA

16 Jan 2015, 20:30 UTC
January 19-25, 2015 / Vol 34, No 3 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Jupiter / Solar System Human Mission Design Project: 2013-2017

Solar System competence is a primary necessity for the evolution and survival of Humanity in the 21st Century. Along with the inner 4 (rocky worlds Mercury, Venus, Terra and Mars) and the outer 4 planets (gas giants Jupiter and Saturn with so many diverse and interesting satellites and ice giants Uranus and Neptune), is a massive and largely unknown major feature of the Solar System — the Kuiper Belt. Toroidal-shaped and encircling the Sun at about 30-50 AU, it is thought to be 20-200 times more massive than the main asteroid belt, consisting of small bodies, rocks and debris left over from the formation of the Solar System, an estimated 100,000 objects over 100 km in diameter and a trillion or more comets. New Horizons NASA mission will be the first earthly spacecraft to explore this unique area up close. It will fly by Pluto this year with closest approach (~9,600 km altitude) occurring July 14 and is then expected to conduct an extended mission to another KBO about 1.6 billion km beyond Pluto, taking the craft as far as 6.5 billion km from home. Pluto is the vanguard dwarf planet ...

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