It’s Time for Pluto

In consideration of the historic exploration of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft, the Phoenix Chapter of NSS (and the Moon Society) will have the July meeting on Tuesday, July 14 at Arizona State University instead of the usual third Saturday schedule. ASU will be hosting public events for the close encounter with Pluto late in the afternoon of July 14 so we will join them and make it a Pluto Palooza!

The overall encounter and data download schedule is below. Note that due to spacecraft orientation constraints, we won’t be getting the best photos back until Wednesday and later. In fact, it will take over a year to download all of the high resolution data that New Horizons is collecting. But Tuesday is the encounter day, and considering the historic nature of this (the last time we will see the surface of one of the “classical” planets for the first time) we will have an event on July 14.

Basically the events at ASU start around 4 pm and will wrap up by around 7 pm. We will have handouts (stickers, data cards, etc) from NASA and Johns Hopkins University so it should be a lot of fun! I hope to see many of you there.

Mike Mackowski

President, Phoenix Chapter National Space Society

New Horizons event time line

ASU Pluto Palooza events (all at ISTB4 and Marston Exploration Theater)

Ariz Time (MST=PDT) Event Comment
Monday July 13
8:00 am NASA TV briefing on mission status
9:24 am Complete Fail Safe D LORRI and MVIC image download 170 pixels across Pluto
8:15 pm Complete download best pre-encounter LORRI image.Last image download until Wednesday morning. 630 pixels across Pluto
Tuesday July 14
4:30 am NASA TV briefing
4:50 am Closest approach
3:30 pm Meet ‘n Greet in ISTB4 lobby gallery
4:00 pm Dave Williams presentation on Dawn at Ceres and Pluto preview
5:00 pm NASA TV briefing: Phone Home, from APL mission control Watch at ASU
6:02 pm Expected time of arrival of “Phone Home” signal
6:15 pm Steve Desch presentation on Pluto and Charon
Wednesday July 15
2:30 am Begin 90 minute download of close up images
12:25 pm Complete download of selected best images
TBD NASA TV briefing with release of images

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