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Radioscience Seminars

EE 350 Radioscience Seminar
Professor Umran S. Inan
Winter 2005-2006

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Time: 4:15 PM – Refreshments at 4:00

The New Horizons Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt
Dr. Ivan Linscott
Stanford University, Senior Research Associate, EE/Star Lab

With the launch of New Horizons on January 19,2006, the long journey to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt has begun. In the summer of 2015, if all goes as planned, New Horizons will fly through the Pluto-Charon system, with its two newly discovered moons. Although the sun is dimmer there than here by a factor of about 1600, the on-board instruments will capture high resolution images of the surface of Pluto and its moon Charon in both visible and ultraviolet light. In addition, the spacecraft's X-band radio will receive a signal radiated five hours earlier by transmitters on earth. As first Pluto and then Charon occult the view to earth, the radioscience experiment (REX) on New Horizons, developed in STARLab at Stanford by Professor Leonard Tyler and his group, will determine from these occultations the refractivity of Pluto's atmosphere and recover precise profiles of pressure and temperature, thus fulfilling a prime and critical objective of the New Horizon Mission. I will tell something of the story of the development of the New Horizons mission and the expectations for the science return from the encounter with objects in the outermost regions of the solar system.