19 July 2015

New Horizons mission to Pluto. The moons of Pluto. Styx.

Image of the Plutonian System. The family portrait of Pluto
consists of Papa Pluto, Mama Charon and the 4 kids: Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. :)
Credit: HST jAPL SwRI NASA. 
Did you know that the last moon named Styx was discovered while looking for hazards to the New Horizons mission?

Keep reading.
The innermost and largest moon, Charon, was discovered by James Christy on June 22, 1978, nearly half a century after Pluto was discovered. This led to a substantial revision in estimates of Pluto's size, which had previously assumed that the observed mass and reflected light of the system were all attributable to Pluto alone.

Two additional moons were imaged by astronomers of the Pluto Companion Search Team preparing for the New Horizons mission and working with the Hubble Space Telescope on 15 May 2005, which received the provisional designations S/2005 P 1 and S/2005 P 2. The International Astronomical Union officially named Pluto's newest moons Nix (or Pluto II, the inner of the two moons, formerly P 2) and Hydra (Pluto III, the outer moon, formerly P 1), on 21 June 2006.

Kerberos, announced on 20 July 2011, was detected using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope during a survey searching for rings around Pluto. It was first seen in an image taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 on 28 June. It was confirmed in subsequent Hubble pictures taken on 3 and 18 July. Styx, announced on 7 July 2012, was discovered while looking for potential hazards for New Horizons.

16 July 2015

Raining outside! no worries, New Horizons mission to Pluto is on the internet.

Note the velocity Relative to Pluto (km/s): 13.78. Credit: NASA JAPL. New Horizons mission to Pluto 

Everybody is baffled by the New Horizons mission to Pluto.
It got me thinking and with the help from my mom i know now that the spacecraft that passed the Pluto system is going roughly 74,000 km/h. At this time, the spacecraft is traveling at 13.78 km/s relative to Pluto.

This is straight from Wikipedia, Ladies and Gentlemen.
After three years of construction, and several delays at the launch site, New Horizons was launched on January 19, 2006, from Cape Canaveral, directly into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory with an Earth-relative speed of about 16.26 kilometers per second (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph); it set the record for the highest launch speed of a human-made object from Earth.
After a brief encounter with asteroid 132524 APLNew Horizons proceeded to Jupiter, making its closest approach on February 28, 2007 at a distance of 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles). The Jupiter flyby provided a gravity assist that increased New Horizons‍ '​ speed by 4 km/s (14,000 km/h; 9,000 mph). The encounter was also used as a general test of New Horizons‍ '​ scientific capabilities, returning data about its atmospheremoons, and magnetosphere. Most of the post-Jupiter voyage was spent in hibernation mode to preserve on-board systems, except for brief annual checkouts.[5] On December 6, 2014, New Horizons was brought back online for the encounter, and instrument check-out began.[6] On January 15, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft began its approach phase to Pluto. On July 14, 2015 11:49 UTC (07:49 EDT), it flew 12,600 km (7,800 mi) above the surface of Pluto,[7][8] making it the first spacecraft to explore Pluto.[4][9] Hours later, at 00:52:37 UTC (20:52:37 EDT),[10] NASA received the first communication from the probe following flyby at the time expected. Engineering data indicated that the flyby was successful and the probe operated in all respects as expected.[11][12][13]
So lets see now! The Moon is at a 385,000 km from Earth.
The spacecraft is traveling at 60,000 km/h initially.
The Jupiter push increased the velocity by 4km/s. (14,000 km/h)
60,000 km/h + 14,000 km/h = 74,000 km/h
385,000 km % 74,000 km / gives us the hours it takes to make that distance (in hours).
385 % 60 =  5.20 hours.
So this means the New Horizons spacecraft every 5 hours and some minutes he makes the distance between Earth and the Moon.

Now at roughly 74,000 km/h "Where is he going?" my mom asked me. I frankly don't know the answer to that question, but surely to new horizons.

14 July 2015

Pluto! New Horizons gives us Pluto.

Pluto! New Horizons.NASA.JAPL

We arrived to Pluto!
Now we know why Clide Thoubaugh gave it that name.

WIKI: Pluto (
WIKI: New Horizons (
FB: New Horizons Government Organisation  (
WIKI: Clide Thoubaugh (

The Day Pluto Stood Still. Part:3

Pluto as seen from New Horizons on 11.07.2015.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Special Coverage: Pluto Closest Approach (online)

Be part of the historic moment of the encounter of the Dwarf planet Pluto and New Horizons spacecraft. Tune in to NASA TV and follow this exciting day. Truly new horizons for humankind.

Tune in to NASA TV here.

WIKI: Pluto (
WIKI: New Horizons (
FB: New Horizons Government Organisation  (

The Day Pluto Stood Still. Part:2

2 hours to go for the flyby of New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto.

The Flyby:

On July 14, at 11:49:59 UTC NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will make its historic closest approach to the dwarf planet Pluto, the most distant solid object to be visited by a spacecraft.

NASA will not be in contact with the spacecraft at closest approach since the spacecraft's instruments will be pointed at Pluto, an orientation that will take the spacecraft's fixed communications antenna off earth point. Earthlings will need to wait about 13 hours for a signal from the spacecraft to arrive at Earth.

Read more HERE on the Flyby schedule and download a PDF file of the activities of the mission.

PDF file:

WIKI: Pluto (
WIKI: New Horizons (
FB: New Horizons Government Organisation  (

The Day Pluto Stood Still. Part:1

New Horizons spacecraft instruments. Credit: NASA/ JAPL
The New Horizons science payload consists of seven instruments – three optical instruments, two plasma instruments, a dust sensor and a radio science receiver/radiometer. This payload was designed to investigate the global geology, surface composition and temperature, and the atmospheric pressure, temperature and escape rate of Pluto and its moons.

If an extended mission is approved, the instruments will probe additional Kuiper Belt Objects that the spacecraft can reach.

The payload is incredibly power efficient – with the instruments collectively drawing less than 28 watts – and represents a degree of miniaturization that is unprecedented in planetary exploration. The instruments were designed specifically to handle the cold conditions and low light levels at Pluto and in the Kuiper Belt beyond.

Continue reading on the New Horizons instruments HERE. (

This is truly new horizons for space exploration. Congratulations to all participants and follower of this historic moment.

WIKI: Pluto (
WIKI: New Horizons (
FB: New Horizons Government Organisation  (