Pluto Flyby: The Final Countdown

Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft during its planned encounter with Pluto and its moon, Charon. The craft’s miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto’s atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft’s most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it would communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away. Image Credit: JHUAPL/SwRI

Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft during its planned encounter with Pluto
and its moon, Charon. The craft’s miniature cameras, radio science experiment,
ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize
the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface
compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto’s atmosphere in detail. The
spacecraft’s most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna,
through which it would communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5
billion kilometers) away. Image Credit: JHUAPL/SwRI

July 8, 2015 – NASA is providing a terrific opportunity for educators and students to learn about the New Horizons mission and next week’s Pluto fly-by. Chuck Tatro, Launch Site Integration branch chief for NASA’s Launch Services Program, will join NASA Education for a special live-streamed event from the Digital Learning Network on Thursday, July 9. The 90-minute event will be webcast on the NASA DLiNfo Channel beginning at 11 a.m. MDT (1 p.m. EDT.)

New Horizons, the fastest spacecraft ever launched, rocketed atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station more than nine years ago and has traveled more than three billion miles. New Horizons is currently preparing for its closest approach to the Pluto system on July 14 and the New Horizons team has been releasing a number of intriguing photos, providing our first look at the dwarf planet and its five known moons.

Nearly every person working in the space industry can point to the mission or event that got them excited about space – with Pluto on the horizon, it’s a great time to capture the imagination of your students and get them interested in science! Share the journey and count down to this historic visit to Pluto. Submit questions via Twitter using #askDLN or via email to DLiNfochannel@gmail.com.

NASA’s Digital Learning Network provides free, interactive video- and web-conferencing events for educators interested in enhancing their STEM classes by connecting directly with NASA education specialists and subject matter experts.

To learn more, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/dln/#.VZ2DJr7ZEUl