Above: Images from new Horizons approach to Pluto.
There's so much going on with the New Horizons mission right now that it's hard to take it all in - there's a lot of data still to come home, and the ground control team are already thinking about the next world in the Kuiper belt they want to visit. But here're a few quick notes that I've been able to gather from the internet scuttlebutt:
- New Horizons has signalled Earth that it has made safely through Plutonian space without hitting any icebergs - a fear that was widespread after the late discovery of all the small icy moons orbiting Pluto.
- Data from the flyby will begin coming down today, and will include huge images of both Pluto and its biggest moon, Charon.
- The Hubble Space Telescope is still hunting for candidates for New Horizon's next targets, and will keep doing so until August, although there are already two frontrunners known only as 2014 MU69 and 2014 PN70.
- The 'heart' feature - the huge white feature - shows signs of carbon monoxide ice (according to Emily Lakdewalla via twitter.
- There will be a media event at about 1900 GMT where NASA will release some more data.
- Some data, from the PEPSSI instrument, has already come home.
|Above: one of the first attempts at a colour image of Pluto, using data from various new horizons instruments. Courtesy of ZLD on unmannedspaceflight.com|