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Message 10251 - Posted: 28 Nov 2006, 5:49:19 UTC

November 22, 2006

A Season for Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving and I just want to wish everyone a great Thanksgiving holiday. We sure have no shortage of things to be thankful for on this project.

A year ago today we had a spacecraft on the ground in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, a booster rocket with RP-1 tank problems, an autonomy system that was considered fragile, and dozens of other like issues to deal with just to get to launch. In fact, exactly a year ago today, New Horizons project manager Glen Fountain and I were in Daytona and other central Florida locales with KSC folks and New Horizons Program Executive Kurt Lindstrom talking to the editorial board of the local paper to allay concerns about the upcoming January nuclear launch we were planning. Fueling the spacecraft with hydrazine was just around the corner, and we had an appointment at LC-41 just three weeks away. Everything about flight ops seemed impending but somehow theoretical with that big launch of a new Atlas V variant looming in our future.

Today we're 4.4 Astronomical Units from the Sun and 5.3 AU from the good Earth, speeding on to another appointment -- this one at Jupiter -- just under 100 days hence. Our spacecraft is right on course and in fine shape, as is its scientific payload. We have an operations team that has settled in and impressed people across the project and at NASA with their skills. We have more fuel aboard than anyone rightfully deserved to expect, and our spacecraft has flown 300-plus days without a single "Go Safe." And these things just scratch the surface of what we can be thankful for.

So, from the PI to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for all you have done and all you are doing to make this dream mission come true. I hope you all have a great, long weekend with family and friends while New Horizons quietly passes through solar conjunction.

Best Wishes,
Alan Stern

==========================================

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt of rocky, icy objects beyond. Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), leads a mission team that includes the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Ball Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, KinetX, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of other firms, NASA centers and university partners. For more information on the mission, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu
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Message 10301 - Posted: 30 Nov 2006, 2:30:13 UTC

November 28, 2006

New Horizons Gets First Glimpse of Pluto

The New Horizons team got a faint glimpse of the mission's distant, main planetary target when one of the spacecraft's telescopic cameras spotted Pluto for the first time. The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took the pictures during an optical navigation test on Sept. 21-24, and stored them on the spacecraft's data recorder until their recent transmission back to Earth.

Seen at a distance of about 4.2 billion kilometers (about 2.6 billion miles) from the spacecraft, Pluto is little more than a faint point of light in a dense field of stars. But the images prove that New Horizons can find and track long-range targets, a critical capability the team will use to navigate the spacecraft toward Pluto and, later, one or more Kuiper Belt objects.
Visit: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/112806.htm

==================================================

Popular Science: New Horizons Among Top Technologies of 2006

Popular Science magazine has put New Horizons on its annual "Best of What’s New" list, which honors the year’s most outstanding breakthrough products and technologies. The mission was among the 100 new products and innovations selected from hundreds examined by the magazine, and one of 12 selected in the Aviation & Space category.

"The New Horizons mission was a clear 'Best of What’s New' winner because it’s the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system with far too many questions and not enough answers," says Michael Moyer, Popular Science executive editor. "In addition, we were impressed by the sheer numbers of the attempt: 36,000 miles per hour [leaving Earth], and a flyby of Jupiter in just over a year after launch."

Read what the magazine has to say about New Horizons at http://www.popsci.com/popsci/flat/bown/2006/product_11.html

===================================================

Now Online: The Story of the New Horizons Student Dust Counter

It's a student-made movie about the first student-built instrument on a NASA planetary mission: University of Colorado journalism student David Tauchen documented the development of the New Horizons Student Dust Counter -- now known as "Venetia" -- and turned it into an award-winning short film.

The film, "Destination: Pluto and Beyond," captured a 2006 regional Emmy Award for Student Achievement. You can view it online from the New Horizons Web site at: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/videos.php

For more information about the instrument, developed by students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, visit: http://lasp.colorado.edu/sdc/
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Message 10336 - Posted: 1 Dec 2006, 15:06:02 UTC - in response to Message 10301.  

The New Horizons team got a faint glimpse of the mission's distant, main planetary target when one of the spacecraft's telescopic cameras spotted Pluto for the first time.

I'm pleased that Pluto is still being called a planet by some.

I for one am profoudly interested in what we will see on Pluto.

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Message 12158 - Posted: 29 Dec 2006, 2:02:22 UTC

Pluto Mission News
December 27, 2006
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

New Horizons Launch a Top Photo of 2006

The New Horizons team already knew it was one of the top events of the year, and MSNBC recently confirmed it: the Web site has selected a photo of New Horizons' spectacular January 19 launch as one of the top space images of 2006.

Visit the multimedia show at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16094279/ -- and don't forget to vote for the image as the year's best! Results of the poll will be announced on December 29.

===============================================================

New Horizons in the News

New Horizons continues to make news as the spacecraft speeds toward Jupiter; check out the New Horizons News Center at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/index.html for links to the latest coverage of the mission.

===============================================================

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt of rocky, icy objects beyond. Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), leads a mission team that includes the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Ball Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, KinetX, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of other firms, NASA centers and university partners. For more information on the mission, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu
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Message 12832 - Posted: 6 Jan 2007, 2:49:03 UTC

Pluto Mission News
January 5, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

The PI's Perspective: New Horizons in 2007

After a memorable 2006, the New Horizons team has much to look forward to in 2007 — starting with a trip past the solar system's largest planet! In his latest column, New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern reflects a bit on the amazing year that was, and looks ahead to the major milestones on this year's mission calendar.
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php

===============================================================

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt of rocky, icy objects beyond. Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), leads a mission team that includes the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Ball Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, KinetX, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of other firms, NASA centers and university partners. For more information on the mission, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu.
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Message 13160 - Posted: 13 Jan 2007, 2:38:47 UTC

Pluto Mission News
January 12, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

NASA Briefing to Preview New Horizons' Jupiter Flyby

NASA will host a news briefing at 1 p.m. EST, Thursday, Jan. 18, to preview the flight of the New Horizons spacecraft through the Jupiter system. Media can attend the briefing in the NASA Headquarters auditorium, 300 E St., S.W., Washington. The briefing will also air live on NASA Television.

New Horizons will use Jupiter's gravity to boost its speed toward the outer solar system, while training its cameras and sensors on the giant planet and its moons during a six-month encounter.

Briefing participants:
-- James Green, acting director, Solar System Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.
-- John Spencer, New Horizons Jupiter Encounter Science Team deputy lead, Southwest Research Institute
-- Glen Fountain, New Horizons project manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
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Message 13507 - Posted: 19 Jan 2007, 6:40:45 UTC

Zooming to Pluto, New Horizons Closes in on Jupiter

Just a year after it was dispatched on the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is on the doorstep of the solar system’s largest planet — about to swing past Jupiter and pick up even more speed on its voyage toward the unexplored regions of the planetary frontier.

New Horizons will make its closest pass to Jupiter on Feb. 28, threading its path through an “aim point” 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) from the center of Jupiter. Jupiter’s gravity will accelerate New Horizons away from the Sun by an additional 9,000 miles per hour — half the speed of a space shuttle in orbit — pushing it past 52,000 mph and hurling it toward a pass through the Pluto system in July 2015.

At the same time, the New Horizons mission team is taking the spacecraft on the ultimate test drive — using the flyby to put the probe’s systems and seven science instruments through the paces of a planetary encounter.

“We designed the Jupiter encounter to prove out our planning tools, our simulation capabilities, our spacecraft and our instrument sensors on a real planetary target, well before the Pluto encounter,” says Glen Fountain, New Horizons project manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., which built and operates the spacecraft. “If the team needs to adjust anything before Pluto, we’ll find out about it now.”

For the full story, including a look at New Horizons’ first images from the Jupiter encounter, visit: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/011807.htm
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Message 13688 - Posted: 24 Jan 2007, 1:51:41 UTC

Pluto Mission News
January 23, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

The PI's Perspective: One Year Down, Eight to Go, on the Road to Pluto

After a busy year on the ground and on the New Horizons spacecraft, the Jupiter approach observations are in full swing. In this installment of the "PI's Perspective," Principal Investigator Alan Stern looks at some of the early, exciting returns from the solar system's largest planet.

Click here for the full story

===============================================================

The Gallery Grows . . .

New images from New Horizons' flight toward Jupiter have been posted in the "Mission Photos" section of the Web Gallery.
Click here to take a look

===============================================================

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt of rocky, icy objects beyond. Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), leads a mission team that includes the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Ball Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, KinetX, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of other firms, NASA centers and university partners. For more information on the mission, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu
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Message 14537 - Posted: 11 Feb 2007, 1:56:32 UTC

Pluto Mission News
February 9, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

SWAP Observes Solar Wind Interactions at Jupiter

A little over a year since launch, with its sights firmly on Jupiter, the New Horizons spacecraft is testing its science payload and making observations as it rounds the planet for a gravity assist that will speed its journey to the edge of the solar system. The Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument is already generating data that will help answer questions about the interactions between the solar wind, the million-mile-per-hour stream of ionized gas flowing out from the Sun, and Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the magnetic bubble that surrounds the planet and encloses ionized gas.

Click here for the full story, http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/news_center/news/020907.htm

===============================================================

Now Playing: New Horizons Podcasts

They’re “flying” the fastest spacecraft ever launched – and about to buzz the solar system’s largest planet just 13 months after liftoff. How are New Horizons scientists and engineers tackling the technical challenges of the Jupiter encounter? Find out in the latest New Horizons podcasts, now playing in the Gallery section of the New Horizons Web site.

Recap the team's activities since launch in “From Earth to Jupiter,” then go inside the planning and preparations for the Jupiter Gravity Assist in "The Jupiter Flyby." And coming soon: “Encounter with Jupiter: Science Never Sleeps,” a look at the images and other science data New Horizons will gather in the Jupiter system.

To view the podcasts, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/videos/podcast.php

===============================================================

Featured Image: A Moving Map of Jupiter

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) has gathered six global maps of Jupiter during the spacecraft’s approach to the giant planet – and the LORRI team has combined these maps into a “movie” of the clouds and storm features in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Check out this latest “Featured Image” on the New Horizons Web site at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/020707_1.html

For a full range of LORRI images, visit the New Horizons Science Operations Center site at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/soc/

===============================================================

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt of rocky, icy objects beyond. Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), leads a mission team that includes the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Ball Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, KinetX, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of other firms, NASA centers and university partners. For more information on the mission, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu
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Message 14842 - Posted: 17 Feb 2007, 2:18:39 UTC

Pluto Mission News
February 15, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

The PI's Perspective: Calm Before Close Approach

New Horizons is right on Jupiter's doorstep. In his latest update, mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern says that while there’s a current lull in science observations, the New Horizons team is gearing up for the storm of activity scheduled for the week around Jupiter close approach.

For the full story, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php.

===============================================================

Featured Image: Full Jupiter Mosaic

Check out the latest images from the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), including a full-disk mosaic of Jupiter taken when the spacecraft was 29 million kilometers (18 million miles) from the planet. At that distance Jupiter nearly fills the imager's entire field of view, and features as small as 290 kilometers (180 miles) are visible. Check out this latest “Featured Image” on the New Horizons Web site at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/021307_1.html.

For a full range of LORRI images, visit the New Horizons Science Operations Center site at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/soc/.

===============================================================

New Podcast: Science Never Sleeps

On the way to Pluto, New Horizons will provide a new look at the solar system's largest planet. What science is planned for the Jupiter encounter, and what does the New Horizons team hope to learn? Find out in the latest New Horizons podcast, "Encounter with Jupiter: Science Never Sleeps."

Visit the podcast section of the New Horizons Gallery at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/videos/podcast.php.
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Message 15141 - Posted: 23 Feb 2007, 1:54:24 UTC
Last modified: 23 Feb 2007, 2:00:23 UTC

Pluto Mission News
February 22, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

=================================================================

The PI's Perspective: Speeding to Zeus

A week from Jupiter closest approach, New Horizons is already accelerating because of Jupiter’s gravity. Although the effect is relatively small now, it will build dramatically in the coming days, giving the spacecraft a boost of approximately 9,000 miles per hour by the middle of next week. As mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern writes in his latest update, that’s half the speed of a space shuttle in Earth orbit — essentially for free!

For the full story, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php

===============================================================

Where Is New Horizons?

Just how close is New Horizons to Jupiter? Follow the spacecraft's approach to and path past the solar system's largest planet on the New Horizons Web site! Check in on the trajectory at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/whereis_nh_jupiter.php
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Message 15341 - Posted: 28 Feb 2007, 4:50:16 UTC

Pluto Mission News
February 26, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

=================================================================

The PI's Perspective: Picking up the Pace

Since early on Saturday, February 24, New Horizons has been executing its Jupiter close approach sequence, which contains 15 to 20 observations per day. In his latest Web posting, Principal Investigator Alan Stern says much of the science data is yet to come back to Earth, but the team is getting engineering data that shows the encounter is progressing nominally and the observations of Jupiter and its moons are happening right on schedule.

For the full story, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php
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Message 15402 - Posted: 1 Mar 2007, 6:04:59 UTC
Last modified: 1 Mar 2007, 6:05:10 UTC

Pluto Mission News
February 28, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

New Horizons Spacecraft Gets a Boost from Jupiter

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Jupiter early this morning, using the massive planet’s gravity to pick up speed on its 3-billion mile voyage to Pluto and the unexplored Kuiper Belt region beyond.

New Horizons came within 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) of Jupiter at 12:43 a.m. EST, threading an “aim point” that puts it on target to reach the Pluto system in July 2015. During closest approach the spacecraft was out of touch with Earth – busily gathering science data on the giant planet, its moons and atmosphere – but by 11:55 a.m. EST mission operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., had established contact with New Horizons through NASA’s Deep Space Network and confirmed its health and status.
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Message 15435 - Posted: 2 Mar 2007, 0:01:24 UTC

Pluto Mission News
March 1, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

The PI’s Perspective: Launch Complete

The eighth mission to the fifth planet has reached its crescendo – Jupiter is in the rearview mirror! Principal Investigator Alan Stern writes that with the Jupiter flyby completed, New Horizons is truly on the Pluto leg of its journey, having gained the speed boost and turn required for its date with scientific destiny in 2015.

For the full story, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php

===============================================================

New Image: Tvashtar’s Plume

Just after its closest approach to Jupiter, New Horizons snapped the best image yet of the enormous plume from the volcano Tvashtar, near Io's north pole. It's the last of a handful of images that New Horizons is sending “home” during its busy close encounter with Jupiter – the rest will be returned to Earth over the coming weeks and months as the spacecraft speeds along to Pluto.

For the image and a full caption, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/030107.html
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Message 15621 - Posted: 6 Mar 2007, 3:14:12 UTC

Pluto Mission News
March 5, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

The PI's Perspective: The Tip of the Iceberg

The intensive phase of Jupiter encounter operations is winding down, but it’s not yet over. In his latest "PI Perspective" posting, mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern discusses the science observations to come, and the incredible amount of data the New Horizons team expects them to yield.

For the full story, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php

===============================================================

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt of rocky, icy objects beyond. Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), leads a mission team that includes the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Ball Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, KinetX, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of other firms, NASA centers and university partners. For more information on the mission, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu
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Message 15837 - Posted: 10 Mar 2007, 2:30:35 UTC

Pluto Mission News
March 9, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

Featured Image: Jupiter’s Rings

Just a few days before New Horizons' closest approach to Jupiter, the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took aim at Jupiter’s ring system. Sent back to Earth just this week, the images show a narrow ring, about 1,000 kilometers wide, with a fainter sheet of material inside it.

"This is one of the clearest pictures ever taken of Jupiter's faint ring system,” says Dr. Mark Showalter, a planetary astronomer from the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who planned many of the ring images. "The ring looks different from what we expected – it has usually appeared much wider."

For the full story, visit: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/030907.html
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Message 16110 - Posted: 13 Mar 2007, 1:07:26 UTC

Pluto Mission News
March 12, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

=================================================================

The PI’s Perspective: Downlink Initiated

New Horizons’ final imaging and spectroscopy observations of targets in the Jupiter system wrapped up last week. Measurements of Jupiter’s magnetotail environment are still ahead, says mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, as is the task of downlinking and analyzing the science data from the Jupiter encounter.

For the full story, visit: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/overview/piPerspectives/piPerspective_current.php
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Message 16375 - Posted: 17 Mar 2007, 2:22:46 UTC

Pluto Mission News
March 16, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

=================================================================

A Look from LEISA

New photos from the LEISA infrared spectral imager, part of the New Horizons Ralph instrument, show Jupiter’s atmosphere in spectacular detail. Scientists will be able to use LEISA data to make three-dimensional maps of the composition and circulation of the Jovian atmosphere.

For the image and a full caption, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/031607.html
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Message 16701 - Posted: 20 Mar 2007, 22:59:44 UTC

Pluto Mission News
March 20, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

Alice Views Jupiter and Io

The Alice ultraviolet spectrometer made quite a few observations during New Horizons' recent encounter with Jupiter – a new graphic on the mission Web site illustrates the instrument’s pointing and shows data from a February 24 Alice scan of Jupiter and its volcanic moon, Io.

“These ultraviolet datasets are spectacular, simply spectacular,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, who also serves as PI of the Alice instrument. “The team is ecstatic over the richness of the spectral data and what that promises to reveal about Io's complex relationship with Jupiter.”

For the full story, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/032007.html
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Message 16922 - Posted: 23 Mar 2007, 2:05:47 UTC

Pluto Mission News
March 22, 2007
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

===============================================================

An Even Closer Look at the Little Red Spot

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) has returned stunning new images of Jupiter’s Little Red Spot, taken when the spacecraft was just 3 million kilometers (about 1.8 million miles) from the giant planet.

“These LORRI images of the Little Red Spot are amazing in their detail,” says New Horizons Project Scientist Dr. Hal Weaver, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where the spacecraft and LORRI camera were designed and built. “They show the early stages of this newly reddened storm system with a resolution that far surpasses anything available until now.”

For the full story and image, visit http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/gallery/missionPhotos/pages/032207.html
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