Tuesday, July 14, 2015


From BBC News:
Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft has begun the most intense period of its encounter with Pluto.

The probe is set to hurtle past the dwarf world on Tuesday, grabbing a mass of pictures and other science data.

Controllers got a last health status report, before the robotic craft turned its antenna away from the Earth to concentrate on its target.

Only when New Horizons has its trove of images safely in its onboard memory will it call home again.

This is not expected to happen until just after midnight (GMT) into Wednesday.

It means there will be a long, anxious wait for everyone connected with the mission, as they hold out for a signal that will be coming from almost five billion km away.

New Horizons has been returning a steady stream of information on approach to the dwarf word in recent days, but this will be as nothing compared to the huge number of observations it plans to acquire when passing just 12,500km from the surface.

This is timed to occur at 11:50 GMT (12:50 BST).

The probe will investigate not only Pluto but also its five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra.

Okay, I admit it.  This was basically just an excuse to share a memory of a show I enjoyed for all of its eight years on the air......


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