As NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sped towards Pluto, the historic flyby was celebrated at a special event featuring a live viewing of accurate-to-the-second scientific visualizations and running commentary from New Horizons mission control scientists.
Hosted in New York at the American Museum of Natural History by Curator Denton Ebel, Astrovisualization Director Carter Emmart, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, this Hangout included participants from New Horizons mission control at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and science museums and planetariums around the world to view and discuss the latest flyby visualizations.
On-screen participants included:
From Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, USA:
Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, producer
Orkan Umurhan, NASA post-doc
David Grinspoon, writer and astrobiologist
Fran Bagenal, New Horizons co-investigator
Cathy Olkin, New Horizons deputy project scientist
Joel Parker, New Horizons co-investigator
Randy Gladsone, New Horizons co-investigator
David Gruber, Planetarium Südtirol Alto Adige in Balzano, Italy
Mark Rigby, curator of the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium in Toowong, Australia
Amertey Godfred Noble and Sarah Abosti Masters in Ghana Planterium in Accra, Ghana
Thomas W. Kraupe of Planetarium Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany
Mike Smail at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, USA
Anders Ynnerman at Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden
Launched on January 19, 2006, to explore the edges of our solar system, New Horizons passed the moon in just nine hours—a sprint compared to the three days of flight undertaken by the Apollo 11 astronauts. The spacecraft is on course for Pluto and now traveling 8 miles per second.
Detailed visualizations, produced by the Museum in collaboration with Sweden’s Linkoping University and NASA, will show what observations are being conducted leading up to the spacecraft’s closest approach at 7:50 AM (EDT) on July 14 and onward as New Horizons plunges into Pluto’s shadow to gather data about its mysterious, thin atmosphere.