Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Horizons spacecraft sets new milestone

From Wired is a report on the status of the New Horizons probe. The craft is now closer to Pluto than it is to Earth, plus it reached that historic point in less than four years.

New Horizons is the fastest space-craft ever built. At present it is traveling at 31,000 miles an hour and is located about 1.527 billion miles from Earth.

From the article:
  • The spacecraft will be the first to flyby Pluto and on to the other objects lurking in the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the solar system.
New Horizons is not an orbiter. It will do a flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015. In the nine day period as the probe approaches, flies by and continues on, it is planned to acquire almost 5 gigabytes of data that will take months to transmit back to Earth. Due to the extreme distances it takes a signal over four hours to reach Earth from Pluto.

read complete Wired article here

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