07/10/2015

New Horizons Prepares for Pluto Close-Up

17:43 minutes

This picture of Pluto, taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance
This picture of Pluto, taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance

The New Horizons spacecraft is about to capture its prize: a close-up of Pluto. Next week, the probe will zoom within 7,800 miles of the dwarf planet—close enough, says lead scientist Alan Stern, to spot the lakes in Central Park, if the craft were to pass within such a distance of Earth. He says studying the distant ball of rock and ice may give us a peek into the early formation of planets like our own, and clues to how our moon was born.

Segment Guests

Alan Stern

Alan Stern is principal investigator on NASA’s New Horizons mission and a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.