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This Week at NASA | Pluto Flyby on 50th Anniv. of First Mars Flyby; more

Uploaded 07/17/2015

Pluto Flyby on 50th Anniv. of First Mars Flyby; more

After a nearly decade-long journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft arrived at Pluto on July 14 – passing by at a mere 7,750 miles above the surface … resulting in an absolutely breathtaking image – the closest ever of Pluto. Initial congratulations included a Twitter post from the White House … and from iconic figures in the scientific community. The so-called “data waterfall” released by New Horizons contains so many astounding images and detailed information about Pluto that investigators anticipate it will take about 16 months to send it all back to Earth. Also, Mariner 4 Mars flyby anniversary, Newman sworn-in, New wildfire detection tool, Expedition 44/45 prepares for launch and 40th anniversary of Apollo-Soyuz.

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

New Horizons arrives at Pluto

“3-2-1 … applause.”

After a nearly decade-long journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft arrived at Pluto on July 14 – passing by at a mere 7,750 miles above the surface … resulting in this absolutely breathtaking image – the closest ever of Pluto. Initial congratulations included a Twitter post from the White House … and from iconic figures in the scientific community.

Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist:
“Now the solar system will be further opened up to us, revealing the secrets of distant Pluto.”

But before that could happen, the New Horizons team knew they still needed to hear from the spacecraft with one last critical piece of data …

Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator:
“Whether it survived the passage through the Pluto system. Hopefully it did.”

That wait ended when New Horizons phoned home, just before 9 p.m. EDT …

Alice Bowman, New Horizons Mission Operations Manager:
“We have a healthy spacecraft. We’ve recorded data from the Pluto system and we’re outbound from Pluto … [applause]”

Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator:
“Today’s mission was just one more step on the journey of getting humans to Mars, because it gives us one more piece of the puzzle about our solar system.”

John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator for Science:
“As a team, we all have made history. This will never be repeated. This is in the history books!”

Alice Bowman, New Horizons Mission Operations Manager: 
“I have to pinch myself, look what we accomplished! It’s truly amazing.”

The so-called “data waterfall” released by New Horizons contains so many astounding images and detailed information about Pluto that investigators anticipate it will take about 16 months to send it all back to Earth.

Mariner 4 Mars flyby anniversary

New Horizons historic flyby happened 50 years to the day after NASA’s Mariner 4 became the first spacecraft to successfully fly by Mars. Mariner 4’s photos of Mars, the first ever captured of another planet from space, provided a better understanding of the Martian atmosphere – which helped plan landings for future missions to Mars.

Newman sworn-in

Also on July 14, NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman was ceremonially sworn in to her job by Administrator Bolden at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines hosted the event for Newman, who is a Montana native. The Deputy Administrator officially began her duties with the agency on May 18.

New wildfire detection tool

Data from the NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite is helping the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service detect smaller wildfires in more detail than previous space-based products. The high-resolution data have been used with a cutting-edge computer model to predict how a fire will change direction based on weather and land conditions.

Expedition 44/45 prepares for launch

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Expedition 44/45 crew, including NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, continues preparations for its upcoming trip to the International Space Station. Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Japan’s Kimiya Yui are scheduled for launch on July 22.

40th anniversary of Apollo-Soyuz

July 15 marked the 40-year anniversary of the start of the Apollo-Soyuz mission. The landmark mission saw a Soyuz spacecraft launched from Russia and an Apollo spacecraft launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida complete the first ever international docking between two space vehicles. Apollo-Soyuz was an important precursor to cooperation between the two countries and construction of the International Space Station.

And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.

 

 

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