Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The New Horizons Jupiter Mission

Although distant Pluto is the ultimate target for the New Horizons' spacecraft in 2015, it will fly close aboard giant Jupiter early in 2007. Much like the early Pioneer and Voyager fly-bys, the New Horizons spacecraft will have an opportunity to do some scientific studies while it flys by the gas giant and uses its gravity to assist it on its way to the outer limits of our solar system. Already the mission controllers have unpacked the spacecraft’s LORRI camera (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager), pointed it and took its best shot. The result is shown above with the shadows of Europa and Io featured in the image.

Quantum spoke with New Horizon’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Alan Stern and will feature the 35 minute interview in the next few days right here. Included in that interview are details of the fly-by, the New Horizon’s Mission and the very controversial decision by the International Astronomical Union to unceremoniously eject Pluto out of the solar system family as a planet. You don’t want to miss that Podcast right here!