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    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Pluto Probe - Boldly waiting

    Stardate 5179.2

    The NASA Pluto Probe "New Horizons" sits ready to launch for it's 9 year mission, but Mother Nature, as she often does, wreaks havoc with the plans of mortal men.

    The ship will arrive at the earliest in July of the year 2015, completing man's unmanned exploration of the solar system (well maybe not since space is so mindbogglingly big).

    Pluto is unique in the fact that it's orbit is so bizarre at times it is closer to the sun than Neptune. It spins on it's axis once for every 6 and a half Earth days, and takes 248 years to orbit the sun. It's average distance from the sun is 5.9 billion kilometers. Pluto has one moon called Charon.

    Pluto is much smaller than the Earth and has a very thin atmosphere of Methane and Nitrogen. It's surface gravity is 0.4 of Earth. The probe should launch this afternoon.

    You can watch the launch now on MSNBC video....

    *** Update ***

    T-3 minutes and all looks good. The probe will slingshot by Jupiter on it's 9 year trip.

    T-2 minutes and 34 seconds abort. Red line monitor fault.

    Scrubbing for the day.

    New launch time: 11:16 am MST on January 18th.

    *** Updated Again ***

    Due to weather causing power outages in Maryland where the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab is (they are managing the launch operations), NASA scrubbed the launch for a second day. Look for a launch between 11:08 am and 1:06 pm MST on Thursday the 19th.

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