JUL 03, 2016 11:41 AM PDT

NASA Announces Destiny of New Horizons & Dawn Spacecrafts

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA has announced the destiny of two major spacecraft that are exploring the solar system this week – Dawn and New Horizons.
 

An artist's impression of the Dawn spacecraft.

 Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/McREL

New Horizons, which is best known for having flown past Pluto last year and grabbing some crystal-clear photographs of the dwarf planet, is continuing to rocket out of our solar system.
 
Beyond Pluto is the Kuiper Belt, and since New Horizons will be heading out there, NASA has long expressed its interest in continuing exploration into the unknown and continuing to make use of New Horizons.
 
Now it’s official; New Horizons is going to meet up with a Kuiper Belt Object named KBO 2014 MU69. It’s a very cold and rocky little body in the Kuiper Belt that scientists think studying may help us better understand the formation of our solar system.
 
New Horizons will reach and tango with the object on January 1st, 2019.
 
“The New Horizons mission to Pluto exceeded our expectations and even today the data from the spacecraft continue to surprise,” said NASA’s Director of Planetary Science Jim Green. “We’re excited to continue onward into the dark depths of the outer solar system to a science target that wasn’t even discovered when the spacecraft launched.”
 
But New Horizons isn’t the only spacecraft in the solar system that got attention from NASA recently; the American space agency has also made the decision that the Dawn spacecraft, which has been monitoring the dwarf planet Ceres and recently completed its primary mission, is going to stay where it is rather than move away from Ceres to monitor another destination.
 
NASA’s team has decided that as the dwarf planet gets into the part of its orbit where it’s going to be the closest to the Sun, there is potentially more important data that could be collected.
 
“The long-term monitoring of Ceres, particularly as it gets closer to perihelion – the part of its orbit with the shortest distance to the sun -- has the potential to provide more significant science discoveries than a flyby of Adeona,” Green said.
 
With the latest mission objectives now revealed for New Horizons and Dawn, it’s also worth noting that the Juno spacecraft is set to reach its destination at Jupiter this Independence Day. Juno will collect data on Jupiter’s atmosphere and the conditions there so we can better understand the largest planet in our solar system.

Source: NASA via Wired

About the Author
Other
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 25, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Verify New Building Block for Life on Enceladus
Researchers Verify New Building Block for Life on Enceladus
In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers ...
OCT 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Supercomputer Divulges Immediate Formation of Moon
Supercomputer Divulges Immediate Formation of Moon
Numerous theories have evolved over the years as to how the Earth’s Moon came to be, with one early theory suggest ...
DEC 02, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, an international team of researchers led by the Albert Einstein ...
DEC 14, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Solar System Wonders: Olympus Mons on Mars
Solar System Wonders: Olympus Mons on Mars
When we think of large mountains or volcanoes, we often think of Mount Everest, which holds the distinction as being the ...
DEC 14, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Labroots' Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2022
Labroots' Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2022
2022 was a big year for science, so let’s take a look at some of the most interesting -and important- scientific d ...
JAN 22, 2023
Space & Astronomy
Gaia Discovers a Planet Undergoing Fusion
Gaia Discovers a Planet Undergoing Fusion
An international team of scientists led by Sasha Hinkley at the University of Exeter have used the European Space Agency ...
Loading Comments...