First exploration of Pluto and its moons

The epic, first exploration of Pluto and its moons by NASA’s New Horizons mission was completed on Tuesday, 2015 July 14. And it captured the attention and imaginations of people across America and the entire world.

New Horizons is truly an American-made product, and one we can all be proud of. More than 2,500 Americans worked to design, build, launch, and fly New Horizons.

This NASA-industry-academia team included major partners at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Southwest Research Institute, Ball Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, KinetX Corporation, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Stanford University, the University of Colorado, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as dozens of other universities and small companies who contributed.

The people who created New Horizons to complete the first reconnaissance of the planets delivered on the promise we made in 2001 to explore the Pluto system. We invested 15 years of our careers and lives to do this, to create knowledge, to show the United States on its game, to inspire kids and adults alike — across the world — and to make you proud.

In addition to gathering incredible science, one of my hopes for the flyby was that we’d excite people about the power of exploration, the sheer audacity of our species, and the great things we can achieve. And it’s working — from an unprecedented response on social media to global news coverage, the exciting and historic nature of New Horizons has really caught on!

It took us more than nine years to cross the 3 billion miles of space to get to Pluto — and you have followed our journey, supported us, and believed in our mission. We can’t thank you enough for that, or for your support of NASA that made New Horizons possible.

Thanks, from the NASA New Horizons team!

The New Horizons team spells out a token of their appreciation at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

Please continue to follow the mission at www.nasa.gov/newhorizons and http://pluto.jhuapl.edu.

Sincerely,

Alan

Alan Stern
Principal Investigator
NASA New Horizons Mission

Rembrandt (crater)

Rembrandt (crater) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hubble Peers into the Most Crowded Place in the Milky Way

Dr. John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, The White House wanted to share with us:

Check out this cool Hubble photo!

Hubble Peers into the Most Crowded Place in the Milky Way

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image presents the Arches Cluster, the densest known star cluster in the Milky Way. It is located about 25,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), close to the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is, like its neighbor the Quintuplet Cluster, a fairly young astronomical object at between two and four million years old. The Arches cluster is so dense that in a region with a radius equal to the distance between the sun and its nearest star there would be over 100,000 stars! At least 150 stars within the cluster are among the brightest ever discovered in the Milky Way.

These stars are so bright and massive that they will burn their fuel within a short time (on a cosmological scale that means just a few million years). Then they will die in spectacular supernova explosions. Due to the short lifetime of the stars in the cluster the gas between the stars contains an unusually high amount of heavier elements, which were produced by earlier generations of stars.


P.S. — The President liked this photo so much, he tweeted about it!

Take a look at the President's tweet here.