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Pluto in a Minute: Eyes on Pluto

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Published on Jul 10, 2015

Did you know you can actually ride along to Pluto with New Horizons? Because you can! This is Pluto in a Minute.

Alright, so you can't actually hitch a ride with New Horizons. But you can do the next best thing, which is to follow the mission in real time with a simulation called Eyes on Pluto. It's part of Eyes on the Solar System which comes from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and it's an amazing simulation of everything going on in our solar system right now, including missions like New Horizons.

What the program does is follow what's called a predicted simulation, that is, it follows the trajectory and the pointing of the spacecraft as it is planned for a nominal situation. So using the latest data from the New Horizons team, the Eyes team has been able to create a beautiful simulation of what exactly New Horizons is seeing right now.

But it's so much more than just a shot of Pluto and its system of moons moving towards the camera, i.e. your computer screen. It shows what instruments on the spacecraft are working and when, and exactly where they're shooting at any give time. You can see when the LORRI camera is taking pictures, when the Ralph and Alice instruments are turned on, and when the spacecraft is turned with its antenna facing the Earth to beam back data. You can even see the space at which the camera and instruments are aimed.

If you guys want to follow along with New Horizons in realtime or just check out the flyby sequence because you cannot wait until the 14th, go to eyes.nasa.gov/pluto and download Eyes on Pluto. And for more news on Pluto check out the New Horizons websites. If you've got questions, tweet them with the hashtag #PlutoFlyby, and of course, come back here every day for more Pluto in a Minute.

http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

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