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Nap Time for New Horizons

Posted on Thu, April 13 2017
  • by: Jennifer O’Brien, Physical Sciences Technician
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On April 7, 2017, New Horizons entered a 157-day-long hibernation. New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe and is NASA’s first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. After operating steadily for almost two and a half years, the spacecraft and its systems deserve this much-needed break. The hibernation will reduce wear and tear on the electronics and lower operating costs. Most of New Horizons will be unpowered, except for the onboard flight computer which will monitor and send home data pertaining to the spacecraft’s health and safety.

During New Horizons’ nap, mission scientists will remain busy planning for the upcoming encounter with Kuiper Belt object 2014MU69 in 2019.

Map of spacecraft's path

This trajectory map reveals the spacecraft New Horizons’ journey and current location. Image: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

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