The NASA New Horizons team is already carefully studying the observations that were delivered to Earth from a high-speed spacecraft. They came to the conclusion that, at least, there is now a free route for circling the dwarf planet Pluto.
Scientists were worried about the fact that space debris should be in a southerly direction, or there could be satellites that would have a dangerous effect on the delicate equipment of the probe, which rushes at the Kuiper Belt at a dizzying pace - about 750,000 miles a day, which is almost 10 miles per second! In that speed, even a grain of sand having a grain size can be a fatal factor. It can easily penetrate the lining of the spacecraft, and this particle will have enough energy to disable complex technology.
The mission used observations from 11 to 12 May in the range of about 47 million miles (76 million kilometers) from Pluto using the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager thermal imager (Lorry). One hundred forty-four 10-second observations were made by which the team attempted to detect danger in the form of any debris, dust clouds or tiny moons that could be present in the Pluto-Charon system. Since the launch of this research project in 2006, four additional Pluto satellites have been discovered. This finding caused fears that the Pluto area could be inhabited by bodies dangerous to any high-speed spacecraft. All known satellites of Pluto were taken into account, including Charon, Nyx, Styx, Kerber and Hydra, but no other satellites were detected in this direction.
A press release from NASA reports that the team at the Southwestern Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, led by John, determined that within a radius of 47 million miles from Pluto, small satellites with about half the brightness of the smallest known satellite of Pluto, Styx, can be detected. . This means that any of the still undiscovered moons must be less than 3-10 miles (5-15 km) in diameter and any rings around Pluto, if present, must be very weak or narrow.
At the moment, New Horizons has not yet completed research - further research will be conducted under the best possible visibility conditions - in July. This is good news, meaning that cosmic bodies can be discovered, posing a mortal danger for the first historical mission of a journey to Pluto.