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July 13-19, 2015 / Vol 34, No 28 / Hawai`i Island, USA

10 Jul 2015, 20:08 UTC
July 13-19, 2015 / Vol 34, No 28 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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New Horizons Encountering New Worlds

New Horizons on the brink of discovery, traveling farther and faster than any spacecraft ever before, with advanced technologies and 21st century capabilities, is set for its close approach of Pluto and Charon as it continues onward toward the ‘true’ Outer Solar System – the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons’ 9.5 year, 5 billion kilometer journey to Pluto will culminate in a 12,500-km altitude flyby at 49,000 kph on July 14, 11:49:59 UT. Seven science payloads will make visible / infrared / ultraviolet observations and measure atmospheric composition, temperature, solar wind, plasma and energetic particles. New Pluto moons may be revealed, along with astrobiological potential, evidence of an ocean, icy geysers and rings. The New Horizons science team and Principal Investigator Alan Stern expect to continue collecting data on Pluto and its complicated satellite system for at least another year following the flyby. The journey into the unknown will continue until at least the 2020s to the unexplored Kuiper Belt, the largest zone and largest structure in the Solar System. By August the team will decide which of the two Kuiper Belt Objects, Potential Target 1 (40 to 70-km wide) or Potential Target 3 (a little ...

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