Nasa’s JPL launches an app to watch a live computer simulation of New Horizons as it flies part Pluto
Users of Mac and PC can now watch a live computer simulation of New Horizons’ approach with the new app known as ‘Eyes on the Solar System’.
The Jet Propulsion Lab of NASA has released its new app known as ‘Eyes on the Solar System’ exclusively for the Mac and PC users.
With the help of this app users can view a computer simulation of New Horizons Pluto Flyby.
It was in 2006 when the New Horizons spacecraft was launched by NASA with the aim of performing the closest flyby of Pluto.
On Tuesday, exactly at 7:49 am, the unmanned New Horizon spacecraft would fly within 7,750 miles of Pluto and it will take the high resolution photos of the planet’s surface as well as collect all the required scientific data.
NASA officials say that the photos will be available to us only by Wednesday afternoon because the spacecraft will only concentrate on collecting the data during its brief flyby and it will not transmit the data.
Let us get to know certain important aspects of the New Horizon spacecraft and its engineering:
Scientists have managed to get New Horizons all the way to Pluto in less than a decade which is pretty impressive and reasonable; however to achieve this engineers had to increase the speed of the spacecraft which is thus moving at a speed of 31,000 miles per hour. To achieve this speed engineers had to work on the weight of this spacecraft and hence they have made it very light so that it can attain the required velocity at its 1,000 pounds.
Further, the spacecraft was not able to carry much fuel due to its weight aspect and hence it would be ending its nine years journey shortly. New Horizons would traverse Pluto’s diameter in less than three minutes, thank to its extremely high speed. Then, after fourteen minutes, the New Horizon would make its closest approach to Pluto’s moon, Charon and further take the photographs of all the other four moons as well.
In this short interval of time, the probe is expected to take around 150 utmost detailed and sharper images of Pluto, ever taken till date.
The spacecraft is expected to gather scientific data regarding Pluto’s atmosphere, geology and temperature.
Now, all this has to happen in the autopilot mode of the probe because it would happen in some minutes whereas it takes around 4.5 hours for any signal that has been sent from Earth to reach the spacecraft.
Since there is a huge distance between Earth and Pluto, the photos will take a very long time to reach Earth. NASA officials say that it would take around 42 minutes to completely transmit an image around 1024 pixels wide from the New Horizons to Earth.
The photos would thus be released publicly around 3 p.m. ET Wednesday and that would be the earliest. The spacecraft will keep sending some of the most appealing images over the next few days.
It seems scientist would have to wait for a period of 16 months to get all the scientific data and photos from the probe, as it would take a long time for data to reach from Pluto.
As per Nextweb, users can get the view of what all the New Horizon spacecraft sees and also get to know how it maneuvers and what all it has scanned.
The only drawback is that users can enjoy only a computer simulation and not a live stream as it is not possible to actually get a live stream from a probe located that far from Earth.
Anyways, we should be thankful to NASA for their thoughtfulness that we can actually view these rare images!