The New Horizons Mission to Pluto: First Results

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 4:00pm

CTQM Seminar Type: 

  • Related Seminar Series

Speaker Name(s): 

Mihaly Horanyi

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

LASP, University of Colorado Boulder

Abstract, Event Details: 

New Horizons, the fastest spacecraft ever, reached Pluto on July 14, 2015, following a close to a decade-long journey.  It gathered high-resolution images, spectral data, plasma and dust measurements. The small fraction of the data that has been downloaded to date already prompted the need to revise our understanding about the outer most regions of our solar system. Contrary to our expectations, Pluto turned out to be geologically active, and shows an exceptionally wide variety of terrain, including possibly Rocky Mountain sized ice glaciers. The talk will discuss the scientific motivation for the mission, its instruments, and some of the preliminary results. One of the seven instruments onboard New Horizons is the Student Dust Counter that was designed, built, and operated by generations of students at the University of Colorado, many of them from our Department of Physics.