Features Monday, January 19, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | January 18, 2015 | 9:35 am IST The New Horizons spacecraft which is headed to Pluto, planning to reach in July, 2015. On January 25 it will begin to capture long-range images of the Pluto system that will give scientists a better look at Pluto's moons and help them navigate the spacecraft, the rest of the way. In addition to Pluto and its many moons, New Horizons will explore the "Kuiper Belt" - an unexplored asteroid-rich region of our solar system that might have thousands of small, icy, rocky planets similar to Pluto.  If the spacecraft is still up and running in the year 2038, New Horizons will be around 100 AU (astronomical units) from the sun - a little before interstellar space, and might be able to send data to help us better understand the sun's outer heliosphere. Released in 2008, the team at NASA behind the project, revealed nine objects that were attached and sent along on the ten-year journey to the outer reaches of our Solar System.  Here’s the full list, released by NASA: 1. A portion of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh’s ashes were put in a container and attached to the underside of the spacecraft. The Astronomer had discovered Pluto in 1930.  The inscription on the container: “Interned herein are remains of American Clyde W. Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto and the solar system’s ‘third zone’ Adelle and Muron’s boy, Patricia’s husband, Annette and Alden’s father, astronomer, teacher, punster, and friend: Clyde W. Tombaugh (1906-1997).” (Picture Credits - JHU/APL) 2. The spacecraft also has a CD-ROM with more than over four hundred thousand names of people who wanted to participate in this journey of space exploration as part of the â€œSend Your Name to Pluto” program.  3. Another CD-ROM with pictures of New Horizons project personnel. 4. A Florida state quarter, as that was the state from where New Horizons was launched. 5. A Maryland state quarter, for the state where New Horizons was built. 6. A small piece cut from SpaceShip One (Pictured above) - a suborbital air-launched space plane that completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004, is installed on New Horizons’ lower inside deck, with a two-sided inscription. The front says: “To commemorate its historic role in the advancement of spaceflight, this piece of SpaceShip One is being flown on another historic spacecraft: New Horizons. New Horizons is Earth’s first mission to Pluto, the farthest known planet in our solar system.”  The back adds: “SpaceShip One was Earth’s first privately funded manned spacecraft. SpaceShip One flew from the United States of America in 2004.” (Picture Credits - JHU/APL) 7. A U.S. Flag. 8. Another version of a U.S. Flag. 9. Probably the most unique item on New Horizon is a 1991 U.S. stamp proclaiming, “Pluto: Not Yet Explored” (Picture Credits - JHU/APL) The New Horizon spacecraft wishes to do to Pluto, what the Mariner missions did to Mars, Venus, and Mercury for the first time and the Voyager missions did for us, with regard to Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus and is considered a giant leap forward, in the age of space exploration. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute Also Read - All you need to know about the first ever man made object to enter interstellar space - The Voyager 1
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