New Horizons spacecraft reaches half the distance to its target

#NASA #science #space #NewHorizon #spacecraft #KuiperBelt #Pluto

No, no, it is just a science mission to collect information and explore faraway stars.

NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft has reached half the distance between Pluto and its next target – 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object (KBO). The probe is believed to pass by MU69 on January 1, 2019.

The spacecraft is currently 5.7 billion kms away from earth and 0.78245 billion kms from Pluto. Hence, a radio signal sent from Earth to the spacecraft, at the speed of light, will take 5 hours and 20 minutes. (Sunlight takes 8 minutes to reach from the Sun to the Earth).

New Horizons has traveled near Pluto and has relayed data back to earth for 16 months after that, and lately has made breakthrough, distant observations of a dozen Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO).

Read the full article here

New Horizons, our hope to see and understand the Solar System and beyond.

Is Pluto a planet?

#Pluto #space #planet #solarsystem #asteroids #IAU

Pluto should be defined as a planet, along with over 100 celestial bodies in the solar system, including the moons of Jupiter and Earth, according to scientists who argue that the icy dwarf had been wrongly demoted.

Some years back, Pluto was demoted to the ‘non-planet’ status, which dropped the number of planets in our Solar System to 8. Pluto is an icy rock, and is nearly a fifth of diameter of the Earth., but due to the fact that Pluto does not move alone through its orbits (as there are some asteroids as well), excludes Pluto from the planet status as per the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Including the fact that planets should move alone through their orbit, a planet is a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion, has enough gravitational heft to maintain a roughly round shape, even if it bulges at the equator because of a three-way squeezes of forces created by its gravity and the influence of both the sun and a nearby larger planet.

However, researchers also believe that according to the IAU definition, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune will also be excluded from the Planet category since they share their orbits with asteroids.

Read the full article here.