New Horizons Spacecraft: NASA Shuttle Awakens, Starts Pluto Mission




New Horizons Spacecraft NASA
New Horizons Spacecraft: NASA shuttle ends hibernation to start Pluto mission.

Image credit: SPACE.com

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft woke up after nine years in hibernation and set to start an extraordinary journey of 3 billion miles. The New Horizons spacecraft latest mission is to study Pluto and its sibling worlds in its Kuiper belt home.

According to SPACE.com, a pre-set alarm clock awakened New Horizons from its electronic slumber at 3 p.m. EST, though ground control teams didn’t receive confirmation until just after 9:30 p.m.

“It’s hard to underestimate the evolution that’s taking place in our view of the architecture and content of our solar system as a result of the discovery … of the Kuiper Belt,” Alan Stern, lead researcher mentioned in a statement.

According to NASA website (www.nasa.gov), Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was long considered the ninth planet of the solar system. But after the discovery of similar intriguing worlds deeper in the distant Kuiper Belt, icy Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet. This new class of worlds may offer some of the best evidence about the origins of the solar system. Pluto is also a member of a group of objects that orbit in a disc-like zone beyond the orbit of Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. This distant realm is populated with thousands of miniature icy worlds, which formed early in the history of our solar system. These icy, rocky bodies are called Kuiper Belt objects or trans Neptunian objects.

Moreover, NASA’s New Horizons will be the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. The spacecraft’s nine and a half year journey to the ice dwarf began in January 2006 and will reach Pluto in 2015.

Filed Under: SCIENCETECHNOLOGYWORLD

Tags: , , , , ,


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.