NASA has plans to launch a mission to Pluto next month
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has announced that they plan to go ahead with their plans to launch a mission to planet Pluto next month. They would be launching a piano-sized spacecraft next month on a decade-long, 4.7-billion-mile journey to Pluto. This is also interestingly the first ever mission by the American space agency to the farthest planet in the solar system.
They have named this craft New Horizons and it would be taking off aboard an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is scheduled to reach Pluto for a five- month study in July 2015. The aim of this mission is to examine Pluto’s surface, its geology, its composition, and atmosphere. The craft is equipped with seven scientific instruments for this purpose.
Until now, no spacecraft has ever managed to visit the planet. In fact, it is so far away from the planet earth, that even the Hubble Space Telescope can see the details of its icy, rocky surface. NASA aims to bring their craft to within 6,200 miles of Pluto and take images of the surface of the planet. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado is the principal investigator for the mission and he said this in a televised briefing with reporters from NASA headquarters: â€œWe’re going to be like kids in a candy shop when we arrive at a system like thisâ€.
The mission to Pluto would cost around $700 million and it is a part of the President Bushâ€™s space exploration program.