The Exploration of Pluto
Presented by S. Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute
Principal Investigator, New Horizons Mission
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
(Doors open at 7:00 p.m.)
Waterway Ballroom 4
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott
The Woodlands, Texas
New Horizons is NASA’s historic mission to explore the Pluto system and the Kuiper belt. The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons left Earth on January 19, 2006. It made the first exploration of the Pluto system, 3 billion miles from Earth, in 2015, culminating with a highly successful flyby inside the orbits of all five of Pluto’s moons on July 14. The spacecraft carries a sophisticated payload of imagers and other scientific instruments that were used to revolutionize our knowledge of Pluto and its five moons. Topics to be covered are the history of the mission, the science behind it, the capabilities of the instrument payload, the encounter with dwarf planet Pluto, and the major scientific discoveries made to date. Also briefly outlined will be the proposed New Horizons extended mission to fly across the Kuiper belt, exploring further into space.
The lecture is free and open to the public.