In mid-July of 2015, this probe will have arrived to the system Pluto.
The scientific team of the New Horizons probe introduced the first plans to build an orbital platform in orbit of Pluto, which will simultaneously study all his companions because of the unique “gravity” engine. About it tells the press service of the southwest research Institute (SwRI).
“In the past, NASA and we thought that we have to choose where we go – whether we more deeply explore Pluto and its moon, or switch to other dwarf planets. We showed that it is possible to do both in one mission,” said Alan stern, Vice-President of the Institute and head of the New Horizons mission.
In mid-July 2015, the probe arrived at the Pluto system, flying just 13 thousand kilometers from the dwarf planet and received a lot of detailed pictures of its surface and its moons. These pictures show humanity for the first time saw the famous “heart” of Pluto, the plain Companion, and traces a kind of icy rivers and volcanoes.
These images and data forever changed our ideas about Pluto – it was extremely complex and “alive” world, whose surface is constantly being updated and changing, and it is not a lifeless piece of ice on the edge of the Solar system, as scientists previously believed.
In January last year, stern said, summing up the intermediate results of the mission that these discoveries have forced his team to think about sending another machine on Pluto, which this time would not just flew past the dwarf planet and studied it with a stable orbit. Ideally, as was noted planetary scientist, NASA needs to send not only the probe but also the “plutonium” similar to the Mars Rover Curiosity.
These proposals found understanding at NASA, but no “official” plans to create such probes have not yet been announced. Stern and his team decided not to wait for approval from the officials and started to develop these ideas at your own expense.
At the time of their formulation, according to planetary scientists, specialists, SwRI was able to make a real breakthrough, allowing, as expressed by the researcher, “to kill all the birds in the Kuiper belt with one blow.”
It turned out that the unique orbit of Pluto, Charon and the Suite allow you to make maneuvers and to travel between individual moons, using only the force of gravity and a minimal amount of fuel.
Moreover, the same “natural” engine will allow the New Horizons heir to leave the system and go to the other dwarf planets, low-powered ion engine similar to that installed on the probe Dawn.
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