NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is on its way to Pluto, and next week the ship will pass fairly close to the planet, providing images of the mysterious world on the outskirts of the solar system. In general, the device did a relatively quiet journey of 3 billion miles (4.83 billion kilometers) and 9, 5 years, despite the temporary loss of communication, restored in time by the NASA dispatchers, before flying over Pluto.
“We are on Pluto!” - assured journalists Jim Green, director of NASA.
“Due to the loss of contact with the ship, we lost 2, 5 days, and this is about 30 observations out of 500 planned. But more importantly, the connection was nevertheless managed to be restored than to regret the lost observations, ”commented Alan Stern, chief scientist at the South-West Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Data collection is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, a week before the long-awaited flight over Pluto,” he added. Pluto and its moon Charon are already surprising to most scientists. Stern, as well as other persons participating in the study, stated that they did not expect a break of communication with “New Horizons”, since the main computer was specially prepared for this important event. The spacecraft entered the so-called safe mode, and the contact was restored via a backup computer.
The device “New Horizons” - the size of a desk grand piano - was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2006. It was designed and built at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, specifically for the NASA mission.