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New Horizons posters, studies, to be presented at Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Pluto’s Pattern of Pits observed by New Horizons

Zooming in on Pluto’s pattern of pits, as seen by New Horizons. Image Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SwRI

Seven poster sessions and seven studies based on data returned by the New Horizons mission will be presented at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, which will be held in The Woodlands, Texas, on March 20–24 of this year (2017).

Centered on Pluto and its moons, the Kuiper Belt, and KBOs, the 14 presentations are humorously titled New Horizons Views of Pluto and Charon: So Long, and Thanks for All the Bits.

The posters will be displayed on Tuesday, March 21, at 5:30 p.m. CDT in the Town Center Exhibit Arena, while the papers will be presented on Wednesday, March 22, between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. CDT in the Montgomery Ballroom.

William McKinnon and Adrienn Luspay-Kuti are chairing the paper presentation event.

Pluto's minor moons – Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra.

Data from NASA’s New Horizons mission indicates that at least two (and possibly all four) of Pluto’s small moons may be the result of mergers between still smaller moons. If this discovery is borne out by further analysis, it could provide important new clues to the formation of the Pluto system. Image & Caption Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SwRI

Poster sessions include the following:

Annotated image with inset diagram showing Charon's north pole, equator, and central meridian, with the features highlighted.

This annotated version (enhanced) includes an inset diagram showing Charon’s north pole, equator, and central meridian, with the features highlighted. Image & Caption Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SwRI

Paper presentations are as follows:

The posters and papers come just after the New Horizons team was awarded the NASA Group Achievement Award, which recognized over 600 people for developing the spacecraft and working on the mission.

Ralph Semmel, director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, emphasized that unlike many other awards given to the mission team, which focused on specific aspects of the mission, this one acknowledged teamwork by the group as a whole.

“This team has worked flawlessly for long periods of time, and very few people understand what it takes to do that,” said NASA Planetary Science Director Jim Green. “That takes dedication; that takes concentration, [and] that takes everything each and every one of you have to have to burn a hole in steel. That’s what puts you above everything else.”

The awards were presented at JHU-APL on January 19, the 11th anniversary of New Horizons’ launch.

New Horizons Group Achievement Award

New Horizons team members give the “Pluto salute” after the NASA Group Achievement Award presentation at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory on Jan. 19 – the 11th anniversary of the launch that sent New Horizons toward Pluto and Kuiper Belt. Photo Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SwRI



Laurel Kornfeld is an amateur astronomer and freelance writer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program. Her writings have been published online in The Atlantic, Astronomy magazine’s guest blog section, the UK Space Conference, the 2009 IAU General Assembly newspaper, The Space Reporter, and newsletters of various astronomy clubs. She is a member of the Cranford, NJ-based Amateur Astronomers, Inc. Especially interested in the outer solar system, Laurel gave a brief presentation at the 2008 Great Planet Debate held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD.

Reader Comments

Great article. Let’s rename Nix to Persephone! Let’s nix Nix!

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