Friday, 10 July 2015

Making history!



Pluto is the furtherest and the smallest planet in the solar system. Not much is known about it. NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft will soon fly-by this planet for the first time. With the pictures and data collected, we will come to know a lot about this planet.....

In almost seven days time, NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft will fly by Dwarf planet Pluto for the first time ever. 85 years ago Pluto was discovered by astronomer Clyde W Tombaugh.

In 2006, Pluto lost its planet tag, after the International Astronomical Union said it was too small to dominate its orbits neighborhood.

It is 2,350 km wide Pluto is smaller than Earth’s moon. 12,552 km from Pluto’s surface is the closest New Horizons will reach during fly-by. The first contact with earth will be four hours after fly-by. The first photograph will be sent the next day. Because of the sheer volume of the data, it will take a year-and-a-half for all information collected to be radioed back to Earth.

On July 4, an anomaly sent the spacecraft into safe mode. An investigation said, it was caused by an overload of the main computer. Spacecraft was restored to full operation on Tuesday, July 7.

Now it is about six million miles away or 25 times the distance from Earth to the Moon as on July 7. On board is Clyde W Tombaugh’s ashes, a CD-Rom with 4,34,000 names of people who responded to a – Send Your Name to Pluto request, along with coins from Maryland, where the spacecraft was built, and Florida from where it took off.

With the pictures and data transmitted to Earth, we will know more about this small and furtherest planet in the solar system. At present very little is known about it. ‘It’s very exciting to think that the dwarf planets could have astrobiological potential,’ says New Horizons lead scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest research Institute.

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Picture Post:

Kadri Manjunatha Temple at Kadri, Mangalore,
 Karnataka, India
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