The historic space exploration moment is almost here. NASA will broadcast the New Horizons Pluto Flyby starting at 7:30am ET on NASA TV.
The NASA TV coverage of the New Horizons Pluto Flyby starts at 7:30am ET and lasts 30 minutes. At about 7:49am ET the New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to be as close as the spacecraft will get to Pluto, approximately 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface. This is the mission final goal after a journey of more than 9 years and 3 billion miles.
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The historic moment will be boring to watch as we cannot get live images from New Horizons. Downloading images from New Horizons takes hours because of the vast distance and slow data rate. New Horizons will be out of communication with mission control as it gathers data about Pluto and its moons for most of today.
The much more exciting NASA event is tomorrow at 3 to 4pm ET. This is when NASA will release close-up images of Pluto’s surface and moons, along with initial science team reactions.
NASA TV is available online on the NASA site.
Interesting fact. New Horizons carries ashes of astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh who discovered Pluto in 1930.
To get educated on Pluto watch NASA's Pluto in a minute video series below.
New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe that was launched as part of NASA's New Frontiers program. Built by the Applied Physics Laboratory and the Southwest Research Institute, with a team led by S. Alan Stern, the spacecraft was launched to study Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt, performing flybys of the Pluto system and one or more Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs). The goal of the mission is to understand the formation of the Pluto system, the Kuiper Belt, and the transformation of the early Solar System.
The spacecraft will study the atmospheres, surfaces, interiors and environments of Pluto and its moons. It will also study other objects in the Kuiper Belt. Find more on the historic space mission background on Wikipedia and on the New Horizons Mission page on NASA.
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What is New Horizons doing after the Pluto Flyby? It might just keep on going and visit other objects in the Kuiper Belt.