Monday, 13 July 2015

New Horizons Hiccup won't Affect Pluto Mission Science


Pluto_Mission
Now space scientists are planning to return New Horizons on the normal science operations, just before its historic Pluto flyby because scientists have figure out that what was the reason for its weekend glitch, says NASA.

As per the statement of Jim Green, who is Director of planetary science in NASA, “I am pleased to inform that our mission teams have quickly identified the problem which assured the health and proper operation of the spacecraft”. According to Jim, with these insights of Pluto, we are on the verge to return on the normal operations and now going for the gold.

On last Saturday, team of New Horizons traced the reasons for failure and they found that it’s hard to detect the timing flaw when it comes spacecraft command sequence which occurred during the operations preparation for the flyby of July 14. However; it is well known fact that due to the flaw spacecraft went out of communication for the duration of more than 90 minutes.

But again it comes back in protective safe mode communication when they switched control from its primary backup computer. According to Glen Nagle, spokesman of Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, “Now again spacecraft is fully operation and we are able to download data and receive the commands”.

This spacecraft, which is of piano-size, let the scientists and engineers to know that it was good enough to receive and transmit the messages and commands. However; team members of New Horizons went through the routine troubleshooting to track down that particular glitch. Now scientists are putting all efforts to bringing the spacecraft in normal mode, but the whole process need few days meanwhile; for signals it takes four and a half hours to reach the probe when it travels with speed of light and it again takes four and a half hours to receive the response from spacecraft.

The operation triggered that same flaw will not happen again in future as currently New Horizons is 9.9 million kilometers or 6 million miles away from Pluto and in its flyby; it is traveling with the speed of 50,000 kilometers per hour or 30,000 mph.

According to NASA this outage will not affect the mission ability (cost of mission is $ 728 million) to meet its primary objectives. According to Alan Stern, who is mission's principal investigator and from Southwest Research Institute, “In terms of output it will not change A into A-plus”.

New Horizons was launched before nine years with sole objective to study the environment of Pluto and its moon. With the available instruments, spacecraft will map the surface of dwarf planet and gather the data about its composition to taste the dust in nitrogen-rich atmosphere which is in surrounding.

Apart from that the main objective craft will click the high resolution close picture of the dwarf planet to understand its surface composition. After flyby it’s expected that New Horizons will send back data in the period of 16 months or more however; currently team is drawing up plans for next flyby.

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