Home » News & Blogs » Exploring Pluto and a Billion Miles Beyond
Bookmark and Share
Pluto New Horizons Blog

Exploring Pluto and a Billion Miles Beyond

22 Dec 2016, 16:34 UTC
Exploring Pluto and a Billion Miles Beyond
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Today’s blog is from Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado—principal investigator for NASA’s New Horizons mission.
New Horizons is on its way to a new flyby, where it will study an ancient building block of small planets like Pluto, on New Year’s Day 2019. Credit: Alex Parker
As 2016 ends, I can’t help but point out an interesting symmetry in where the mission has recently been and where we are going. Exactly two years ago we had just taken New Horizons out of cruise hibernation to begin preparations for the Pluto flyby. And exactly two years from now we will be on final approach to our next flyby, which will culminate with a very close approach to a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) called 2014 MU69 – a billion miles farther out than Pluto – on Jan. 1, 2019. Just now, as 2016 ends, we are at the halfway point between those two milestones.
During this phase between flyby operations, all of the systems and scientific instruments aboard New Horizons are healthy. In October, we completed the 16-month-long transmission of all Pluto flyby data to Earth. Our science team is now steadily analyzing those data, ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod