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The PI’s Perspective: One-Third Down March 25, 2009

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
Tags: , , , , ,

Our goal — closest approach to the Pluto system — will occur on July 14, 2015. This is an enchanting new artist’s conception of Pluto’s frosty surface, with Charon in the background. (ESO/L. Calçada)

ESO,L. Calçada, Alan Stern


We passed the milestone of being one-third of the distance to Pluto last year, but today — March 19, 2009 — after 38 months and almost 2 billion kilometers of flight, New Horizons has completed precisely one-third of the days in its journey to Pluto. That’s quite a milestone, and we on the mission team celebrate the closing of this chapter of our historic journey across the great expanse of our planetary system, and the opening of mid-cruise, as I described in my January posting

But you won’t have to wait another three years for our next significant distance and flight-time milestones — they come next year, when we cross the halfway point! But whenever quoting such milestones, I have to be careful about the meaning. So when will our spacecraft be halfway to Pluto? Well, that depends on which halfway you mean. (No, I am not kidding.)

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