I love cool space news. After digging on the excitement surrounding the Philae comet landing last month (and perhaps even some good news regarding its batteries), I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out NASA's New Horizons spacecraft venture to Pluto.
After nine years in hibernation, New Horizons will be waking up for the last time this Saturday. In July, it will reach Pluto, and in the meantime will be taking lots of measurements and photographs of Pluto, its moons, and the Kuiper Belt.
If Horizons images of Jupiter (a composite of these shots is above) is anything to go by, then expect some of the best images of Pluto and its region of space in the coming months.
Kaleigh Rogers, for Motherboard, writes:
As it flies past Pluto this summer, New Horizons will also be able to collect detailed maps and data about the dwarf planet, from its geology to its atmosphere.
The spacecraft is loaded up with equipment: it will take infrared and ultraviolet images, analyze the composition and temperature of the atmosphere, take high resolution images of Pluto’s geology, and measure solar wind, plasma, and space dust.
When the mission was launched in 2006, Pluto was the only planet in the solar system that hadn’t been explored up close by a spacecraft. Though it’s no longer classified as a planet, arriving at Pluto still checks off a major space exploration bucket list item.
Check out the rest of Rogers' article.