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The Fastest Moving Artificial Object In History - On A Journey To Pluto PART 3

Read part 1 here.
Read part 2 here.

The Jupiter encounter gave the New Horizons team a plethora of scientific news, but it also provided a valuable dress rehearsal for Pluto. New Horizons team members began filling in the details of the Pluto encounter shortly after the dust settled from the Jupiter fly-by. Programmers will leave gaps in the chain of commands that the spacecraft will use to execute its fly-by. The gaps can be filled in nearer to the Pluto encounter, as more data becomes available.

The challenges at Pluto are unique. Aside from the low light levels at Pluto's orbit, data rate will be reduced by the spacecraft's great distance from home. While light - and radio - time from Jupiter during the encounter was about an hour and half, light time at Pluto is up to four hours. The amount of data the spacecraft can transmit drops significantly.

Fly-by speed at Pluto will be comparable to the speed at which Voyager 2 flew by Triton, a moon that may be similar to Pluto in many ways. Voyager was only able to obtain a handful of medium resolution images of Triton. In contrast, New Horizons will take thousands of images, beginning at 200 days out. Early images will be equivalent in resolution to those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Each time the resolution doubles, a new set will be taken and transmitted to Earth. The last few days will see resolutions down to the size of a football field.

The spacecraft will image both Pluto and Charon, and will also scrutinize Nix and Hydra, the two small moons discovered in 2005. The craft will search for other moons and rings. In the case of Jupiter, the rings are fed by debris from its small moons.

In New Horizons' field of vies, Pluto will pass by 134 times as fast as Jupiter did. To avoid smearing of images, the spacecraft will have to slew, or turn, while imaging the planet and its moons. This slewing was utilized at Jupiter with great success. At Pluto, the camera must slew down by another factor of 50. The craft will carry out compositional and infrared studies, as it did for some of the icy satellites at Jupiter.

Pluto has a lot of colour variation and the greatest contrast of any body in the Solar System. Additionally, New Horizons will study Charon up close, making global maps in as much detail as Pluto. The astrophysicist will orient the spacecraft to point toward the Earth as it passes behind Pluto to study the atmosphere. It will then turn again to study Charon within the next hour.

Pluto is a member of a cloud of icy debris at the edge of our Solar System called the Kuiper Belt. After the Pluto mission, New Horizons is designed to fly past at least one other member of the Kuiper Belt. No target has yet been chosen as the area of study lies against a background of many stars and has, in the past, not been search extensively.


syeriff kawanBaikmu said...

akhirnya lengkap gak en3 pasal NH ni. bravo2. hahaha
keep up your good work buddy. aku akan terus tolong baca blog ko, and tlg komen2 mana yg patut. ngeeeee

ateh said...

thanks la coz semenjak dua menjak ni rajin benar ko komen entry aku ni. sometimes komen2 ko tuh bg aku idea gak.

weel, NH adalah yg tercanggih dan terpantas setakat ni. tp, teknologi makin maju saban hari kan. mungkin sikit masa lagi akan ada kapal penjelajah antara galaksi yg lebih canggih, mana tau....kan? kan?

lately, kalau ko perasan malaysian dh makin lupakan pasal space semua ni. dh x sehangat masa mula2 Dr.Syed pi ISS.
bila la malaysia secara serius terokai bidang ni kan. huhuhu

patutkah aku wat entry special gak utk ni? hahahaa
maybe aku akan buat poll, let readers decide for me