New Horizons Pluto/KBO Mission Status Report for SBAG. Hal Weaver JHU Applied Physics Laboratory

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1 New Horizons Pluto/KBO Mission Status Report for SBAG Hal Weaver JHU Applied Physics Laboratory

2 New Horizons: To Pluto and Beyond The Initial Reconnaissance of The Solar System s Third Zone KBOs Pluto-Charon July 2015 Jupiter System Feb-March 2007 Launch Jan 2006 PI: Alan Stern (SwRI) Lead PS: Hal Weaver (JHU/APL) New Horizons is NASA s first New Frontiers Mission

3 The Frontier of Planetary Science Exploring the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt New Horizons gives the first close-up view of these newly discovered worlds.

4 New Horizons Now (overhead view for January 2014) Crossed Uranus orbit 2011-March-18 Cross Neptune orbit 2014-August-25 (25 years after Voyager 2) Pluto Closest Approach 2015-July-14

5 NH Spacecraft & Instruments *All instruments performing nominally 2.1 meters Science Team: New CoIs (2013): Marc Buie Heather Elliott Matt Hill Joel Parker Paul Schenk Mark Showalter PI: Alan Stern Fran Bagenal Rick Binzel Bonnie Buratti Andy Cheng Dale Cruikshank Randy Gladstone Will Grundy Dave Hinson Mihaly Horanyi Don Jennings Ivan Linscott Jeff Moore Dave McComas Bill McKinnon Ralph McNutt Scott Murchie Cathy Olkin Carolyn Porco Harold Reitsema Dennis Reuter John Spencer Darrell Strobel Mike Summers Len Tyler Hal Weaver Leslie Young

6 Pluto System Science Goals Specified by NASA or Added by New Horizons *Observations of Kerberos and Styx recently added

7 The Pluto System : At Least Six Objects Hydra Nix Kerberos Styx Charon Pluto Styx Kerberos Left : Composite Hubble WFC3 image (102 min total exposure time) showing the complex Pluto satellite system. Styx is ~150,000 times fainter than Pluto. Right : Cartoon showing satellite orbits, whose periods are approximately 1:3:4:5:6 (Charon:Styx:Nix:Kerberos:Hydra).

8 New Horizons Resolution on Pluto (Simulations of MVIC context imaging vs LORRI high-resolution "noodles ) The Best We Can Do Now 0.1 km/pix (LORRI) HST/ACS-PC: 540 km/pix 0.6 km/pix (MVIC)

9 New Horizons Activities in 2013 Plasma and Dust Cruise Science during hibernations Solar Wind Variations, Interstellar Pickup Ions, Dust densities beyond Saturn s orbit Annual Checkout #7 (ACO-7) in May-July 2013 Check instrument and spacecraft performance : All is well First Pluto Science LORRI detection of Charon separate from Pluto enables measurement of phase functions at solar phase angle of 11 Rehearsal of entire P-7 to P+2 Core Sequence in July Sequence ran w/o interruption with no major surprises Pluto Science Conference in late July Continued planning for Pluto Encounter Finalize baseline Core Sequence Design SHBOT sequences for Core (dust hazard mitigation) Work on sequences outside the Core (build outward from Core)

10 LORRI Resolves Pluto and Charon Composite from 2013 July 1, 3 *We re getting closer!

11 Science conference at APL on July 2013 : Brought together NH scientists and wider planetary community to: Ø Assess our understanding of the Pluto System and KBOs and make predictions for what NH will see Origin & Context, Dynamics, Interiors, Geomorphology, Composition, Atmosphere, Dust, Rings, Plasma, Ø Educate community on NH capabilities and NH observing plans Prepare for NASA ROSES in 2015 Encourage community participation ~150 Scientists participated 106 Oral, 31 Poster Presentations ~30 papers for Icarus Special Volume

12 New Horizons Science Status New Horizons remains on track to deliver the goods The science objectives specified by NASA and the Planetary Community should be achieved, or exceeded Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx added (new discoveries) More data collected than originally anticipated (~7x larger) Only exception is direct measurement of Pluto s magnetic field, which was a Group 3 objective Robust timeline with built-in redundancy to ensure success *All systems and instruments are GO.

13 New Horizons Concerns Loss of mission (LOM) by high velocity (~14 km/s) impact of Pluto system dust on the NH spacecraft Largely mitigated: Estimated probability of LOM is < 0.3% (95% confidence); Deep searches for satellites and debris during Pluto approach with two backup encounters planned in case new information increases risk estimate. Pluto heliocentric ephemeris error Pluto observed for < 1/3 of its heliocentric orbit Recent analysis shows systematic error in ephemeris derived from visible light astrometry Reanalysis of Lowell Observatory historical plates should help Unlike previous planetary flybys, Pluto is too small to enable use of spacecraft trajectory perturbations Use ALMA to measure Pluto s position relative to quasars Completely independent of visible light measurements and could cut Pluto ephemeris error in half. KBO targets for NH Extended Mission Intense ground observing campaign using the best facilities have not yet discovered KBOs that can be reached by NH spacecraft with available delta-v Hubble to the rescue?

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