Questions tagged [new-horizons]

New Horizons is NASA's space probe launched in early 2006 towards the dwarf planet Pluto as the first spacecraft to fly by and study this Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) and its moons, Charon, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx, in July 2015. Spacecraft's operational constraints permitting, it will be redirected to study another KBO, preferably a white body (icy plutoid) with its own moon(s) that's close on the path of New Horizon's current trajectory.

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9
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2answers
835 views

How (the heck) can 2014 MU69's orbit be know well enough for a close flyby by New Horizons?

The object 2014 MU69 is much smaller and dimmer than Pluto. Even as New Horizons approaches, it will be much harder for its 8.2 inch aperture, cooled CCD long range imager LORRI to get a fix on it ...
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4answers
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Requirements to orbit Pluto

I have seen this question posed often recently, without a satisfactory answer in my opinion: Why won’t New Horizons orbit Pluto? The answers I read are always along this line: too much fuel too ...
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6answers
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Why does data transfer rate decrease with distance

I read that the New Horizon's probe will send data to back to Earth at 3000 bits per second by the time it reaches Pluto. I don't understand why a spacecraft has to have a lower data tranfer rate ...
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2answers
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When will New Horizons overtake Voyager 1 in distance from the Sun?

Basically, what the title asks. To my understanding, New Horizons is currently the fastest spacecraft that's moving away from the Sun, with arguably only Helios-A and Helios-B possibly faster still, ...
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1answer
453 views

How are precision trajectory measurements made of trans-Neptunian spacecraft?

This question asks if Voyager suddenly encountered unexpected gravity from an unseen object, how would it be detected, and there are several answers. For the farthest probes - those now farther from ...
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1answer
582 views

Timing shadows from the Kuiper belt! Any news? Did it work?

update 24-Jun-2017: SOFIA Arrives in New Zealand to Observe Southern Skies There are plans to fly SOFIA through another predicted occultation path on July 17. SOFIA is a huge (2.5 meter dia.) infrared ...
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1answer
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Did New Horizons also demonstrate the “Pioneer Anomaly”?

In this short but very helpful answer @MikeH provides a link to this short item published in Nature:"...and farewell to the Pioneer Anomaly" which is well worth reading! It references a Physical ...
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1answer
469 views

Have deep-space spacecraft always used some form of spread-spectrum for data downlink?

tl;dr: Question: Have deep-space spacecraft always use some form of spread-spectrum for data downlink? note: I'm looking for some insight into why, and any possible exceptions, not just a "yes" or "...
19
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1answer
6k views

Operating system of New Horizons spacecraft

I've been doing some searching and I can find some technical details about the flight computer of the New Horizons spacecraft. What I've found is: It has a Mongoose-V 32-bit CPU (a radiation hardened ...
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2answers
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What powers New Horizons?

What does New Horizons use to keep itself traveling (so far), while keeping all of its monitoring and communication systems active? I did read that it leveraged force from a gravity sling shot from ...
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1answer
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What is a “Sailboat Island of Stability”?

The New Horizon's team, in response to an announcement of a press conference from the Hubble team, posted some speculations as to what the press conference might be about. On the list includes "Small ...
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3answers
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Why doesn't the New Horizons probe fly any nearer than 10,000 km from Pluto?

New Horizons is intended to pass within 10,000 km of Pluto on its flyby on July 14. This will give a maximum resolution on the surface of 50m per pixel. This seems to me a bit of a waste, when it ...
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1answer
302 views

Will the upcoming observations of occultation by Arrokoth (2014 MU69) be of a single object, or two?

According to Phys.org's New Horizons team prepares for stellar occultation ahead of Ultima Thule flyby: "Gathering occultation data is an incredibly difficult task," said New Horizons ...
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1answer
130 views

Does JPL's Horizons have better MU69 state vectors for the New Horizons flyby somewhere?

Today I downloaded the state vectors for New Horizons and MU69 Arrokoth and subtracted their positions. The two new get closer than about 596,000 kilometers. The New Horizons output header says: <...
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1answer
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At what approximate distance will the New Horizons spacecraft resolve Pluto better than the Hubble Space Telescope?

As of July 2013, the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) can resolve Pluto and Charon as separate objects. From what I've read, it will still be some time until the spacecraft is ...
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2answers
22k views

How are New Horizons images sent back to Earth?

I'd like to understand how does New Horizons space craft send its data back to Earth, billions miles away from it. I read in a Time article: "Also, at the distance of Pluto, we can only send data ...
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1answer
1k views

Did the Pluto flyby give New Horizons any significant gravitational boost?

Last week New Horizons passed within 14,000 km of the center of Pluto. I assume this will have put New Horizons within the gravitational influence of Pluto. Pluto's average orbital speed is 4.7 km/s....
7
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1answer
560 views

What angular resolution is expected during New Horizon's flyby of Ultima Thule?

Ultima Thule is thought to be about 20 miles (30 km) across. However, I can't seem to find any information about approach distance or typical image resolution of New Horizons in regards to this second ...
4
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1answer
302 views

How to calculate New Horizons' MVIC camera max resolution at Pluto and Ultima Thule?

I am in trouble calculating the ground resolution of MVIC instrument onboard New Horizons; I found several documents about MVIC specs, like this one: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/pkb/ssr/ssr-payload-...
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3answers
257 views

Did New Horizons use its smaller medium-gain antenna for most/all downlinking of Pluto and Arrokoth flyby data?

Brian May's New Horizons video (below) was released at about the same time that the New Horizons spacecraft passed 2014 MU69 Arrokoth and includes a lot of technically meaningful graphics. One item ...
13
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1answer
593 views

How long have we known Pluto is red?

Recently the New Horizon's satellite has given us some lovely color images of Pluto. When did we first discover that Pluto is red? Secondly, did we suspect its color was red before we were able to ...
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Why did New Horizons have to be spin-balanced to grams-level precision? (With quarters!)

This story about receiving a roll of Space-Themed Florida State commemorative quarters from the Governor of Florida mentions that the New Horizons spacecraft had to be "spin-balanced" to ...
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1answer
701 views

What caused New Horizon's so-called “40-year glitch”?

The Discover Magazine article How New Horizons Survived the 40-Year-Glitch and Made it to Pluto is a little confusing. It wraps NASA history together with several different space missions to get the "...
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1answer
185 views

What's next for New Horizons?

Five years ago What's after Pluto for New Horizons? was asked, and the answer turned out to be at first 'something in the Kuiper belt if we can find a good candidate' and finally 2014 MU69. But now ...
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Will the Pluto flyby by New Horizons be broadcast online?

Obviously, there is a 4.5 hour time lag so we can't expect live video, but will they have a telecast of some sort showing images as they come in, along with the latest telemetry? Will there be a ...
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2answers
368 views

How close to 2014 MU₆₉ can New Horizons get?

New Horizons is en-route to 2014 MU₆₉, where it is planned to fly by 1 January 2019. Considering fuel and other considerations, how close to 2014 MU₆₉ can it get? (At the time of writing, October ...
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Why can't New Horizons send data and do observations at the same time?

The Voyager probes have a scan platform, which allowed them to point their cameras independently of the orientation of the spacecraft. New Horizons doesn't have a scan platform, so the entire ...
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How does New Horizons control its attitude?

I used NASA's eyes tool to see what's going at the time of New Horizon's closest approach to Pluto. I realized that in the programmed sequence, New Horizons is rotated on its axis by more than 90° ...
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2answers
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How much longer would New Horizons take to reach Pluto without the Jupiter slingshot?

A recent answer by PearsonArtPhoto claims: New Horizons was launched at Solar System Escape Velocity, meaning it could have visited anywhere beyond Earth without stopping. It did visit Jupiter, ...
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1answer
561 views

Did New Horizons capture enough of Pluto's surface to create its global map?

Given the short amount of time that New Horizons focused on Pluto, did it capture enough of its surface to create a global map of it?
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1answer
284 views

New Horizons - Orientation in space

How does the New Horizons probe know it's close to Pluto and turn its science instruments towards Pluto and other targets of its observations during the flyby?
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421 views

Use Pluto's gravitation to reach the next dwarf planet

Why doesn't New Horizons fly by nearer to Pluto so the gravitational pull would slingshot the probe to one of the next dwarf planets in the outer solar system (Eris, Haumea, Makemake,...)? I would ...
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3answers
224 views

How does New Horizons handle unexpected gravitational effects near Ultima Thule?

What are the navigation techniques used to handle the aggregated unknown effect of gravity from local and distant matter for the New Horizons space probe when it intercepted Ultima-Thule ? I am ...
4
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1answer
755 views

When New Horizons is closest to Pluto, how fast will it be going (km/s)?

I've been googling this question because I haven't seen the answer anywhere, yet I know it must be calculated with a high degree of precision. Anyone know if it will be faster or slower than its 13.8 ...
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4answers
932 views

Could one of the interstellar probes discover Planet IX by accident?

Could one or some of the spacecraft sent beyond the Kuiper belt discover (or even disprove) the hypothetical Planet IX? That doesn't necessarily mean coming so close you'd recognize the planet in ...
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1answer
336 views

How tall are Pluto's mountains? Are they the tallest ice features in the Solar System?

The Gizmodo article It Looks Like Pluto Has a Liquid Water Ocean shows a large image of pluto with obliquely lit peaks near both the terminator and the edge of the disk where the topography is really ...
8
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2answers
990 views

Can New Horizons be turned into an orbiter for the Pluto system?

If the New Horizons team doesn't find a KBO target for the probe, can they turn it into an orbiter for the Pluto system? I know entering orbit right now would be impossible, but would it be possible ...
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0answers
167 views

Having deep space probes use AI to decide where to point their cameras?

With New Horizons on final approach to Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) it has been stated that some or all of the images returned may end up being blank due to the camera being pointed incorrectly because of ...
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0answers
47 views

What determined the closest-approach distance between New Horizons and Pluto? [duplicate]

New Horizons passed 7,750 mi (12,472 km) from the surface of Pluto at its closest approach, limiting the image resolution to about 600 feet (183 m). What set the specific closest-approach distance? ...
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3answers
186 views

Could a spacecraft fly in a direct line from the outer solar system to Earth?

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory website depicts the New Horizons flight path as almost a straight line after the Jupiter flyby. Could a spacecraft travel from the outer solar ...
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1answer
108 views

Function and nature of the RHC/LCH pair of cables to New Horizons's dish antenna secondary mirror?

Spaceflight 101's New Horizons Spacecraft Overview is full of interesting information and shows this RF Comm System Block Diagram. The thin (red) lines to the dish antenna area are coaxial cables and ...
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1answer
127 views

What do all these vectors point to in this New Horizons trajectory/operations simulation?

Sir Brian May's New Horizons music video (below) shows an animation of the spacecraft and its launch vehicle from countdown to MU69 Ultima Thule. Part way through the video at about ...
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0answers
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How is New Horizons powered? [duplicate]

My understanding is that New Horizons has an RTG on board, which generates electricity for it's systems. How and when was the RTG manufactured, and how does it work? How exactly does New Horizons ...
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0answers
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Could outer system probes detect lasers shone at them from earth (orbit)?

Does the Voyager spacecraft have instruments capable of detecting laser light if shone at them? New Horizons certainly does. Any other probes? Is there any laser capable of accuracy and power enough ...