The PI’s Perspective: One-Third Down March 25, 2009Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
Tags: Alan Stern, artist's illustration, ESO, L. Calcada, New Horizons, Pluto
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.)