“We have a healthy spacecraft. We’ve recorded data of the Pluto System, and we’re outbound from Pluto.” With that beautiful sentence from New Horizons Mission Operations Manager, Alice Bowman, a tremendous cheer was heard throughout the land. New Horizons phoned home. Millions watched, followed, and tweeted during the live event. If you were lucky, you attended a live event celebrating this monumental achievement. If you were blessed by Sagan, you attended TWO!
This past week there were at least two major events celebrating the New Horizons Pluto Flyby on Tuesday, July 14th. The Bell Museum of Natural History celebrated on Saturday, July 11th with free exploradome presentations, various activities throughout the museum, and speaker Ronald Schmit of the Jackson Middle School Observatory, Minnesota Astronomical Society and member of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador program. The room was buzzing with Pluto news and theories fantasizing on what the mission will discover. Attendees left entirely curious and anxious for Tuesday’s arrival to learn of the New Horizons Flyby success…or failure.
Tuesday. T-minus 12 hours until the live coverage of the New Horizons Pluto Flyby! The Jackson Middle School Observatory and Ronald Schmit hosted Pluto Palooza with viewings of nearby planets, our sun, and of course the guest of honor, Pluto! Dave Falkner, member of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador program and long time member of the Minnesota Astronomical Society provided a presentation on the New Horizons mission and Pluto’s discovery.
As the live coverage flickered onto the screens throughout the Observatory’s classroom, silence fell upon every Pluto-phile. Then the news. The glorious news. New Horizons phoned home, is healthy, and transmitting packets of data! An astounding success for this nine year mission!
Interested in attending similar events and gatherings? Check out the calendar for upcoming opportunities to meet awesome people and learn amazing things from experts in their field.
Want to learn more? Check out the hugely trending #NewHorizons #PlutoFlyby hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Or go straight to the source via NASA. It is also highly suggested you download this app for your PC or Mac via NASA: http://eyes.nasa.gov/.