Are you ready for New Horizons’ flyby of Pluto? The science and engineering team reports they are ready for action, with the spacecraft on track and all systems functioning, with closest approach on July 14, 2015.
To get the rest of us ready, the National Space Society has put together a stirring video of the New Horizons mission. It was directed and produced by Erik Wernquist, who created another stirring video last year, Wanderers, which looks to the future of solar system exploration. For this new video, New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern served as advisor.
“As both an NSS member and the Principal Investigator of New Horizons, I’m excited about this beautiful film – and very appreciative of the efforts of NSS and its sponsors to create this. It really is stirring; I hope you’ll think so too,” said Stern.
You can read the latest update from the New Horizons team here, which includes information about the third and final far encounter science phase, called Approach Phase 3, which runs until seven days before Pluto close approach. Additionally, the team is on the lookout for possible hazards for the spacecraft, e.i., new moons, rings or other space debris that might present hazards to the fast-moving spacecraft when it flies through the Pluto system. They’ve been analyzing the latest images from the spacecraft and so far it looks all clear.
“Every day we break a new distance record to Pluto, and every day our data get better,” said Stern. “Nothing like this kind of frontier, outer solar system exploration has happened since Voyager 2 was at Neptune way back in 1989. It’s exciting–come and watch as New Horizons turns points of light into a newly explored planetary system and its moons!”
Additionally, @NewHorizons2015 just tweeted out a great infographic about the encounter: