[STSP] Pluto & New Horizons: Talk by Dr Alan Stern on 13 November

Phil Wilkinson phil at ips.gov.au
Thu Oct 23 10:28:23 EST 2008

Dear Colleagues,

please circulate the advertisement below to interested people. It should 
be an excellent talk on Pluto, NASA's New Horizon's mission, and the
Kuiper Belt. It will be held at the School of Physics, U. Sydney, from 
6:30 pm on 13 November. Please RSVP for catering purposes. With best wishes,


(Iver Cairns).



Thursday 13th November at 6.30pm

Venue: Slade Lecture Theatre, School of Physics

Title: The New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt

Presenter: Dr Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO

********* RSVP: 9351 3472 or outreach at physics.usyd.edu.au *********

Pluto - the planet that used to be. But does that matter? To the scientists
behind NASA's New Horizons mission, Pluto and its moon Charon hold unlocked
secrets about ice dwarf planets, the least investigated but most common type
of planet in our solar system.

Dr Alan Stern is the principal investigator of New Horizons, which hopes to
find answers to basic questions about the surface properties, geology,
interior makeup and atmosphere of Pluto and Charon. When New Horizons was
launched in January 2006, it was travelling at 58,536 km/h, making it the
fastest man-made object launched or created.

Last February it flew past Jupiter, and then
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn> Saturn's orbit on
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_8> 8 June this year. It will arrive at
Pluto in  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_14> July
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015> 2015 before continuing into the
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuiper_belt> Kuiper belt a billion kilometres
beyond Neptune's orbit.

To get to Pluto, which is three billion miles from Earth, in just nine and a
half years, the spacecraft will travel at a velocity of about 43,450
kilometres per hour. The instruments on New Horizons will start taking data
on Pluto and Charon months before it arrives. About three months from the
closest approach - when Pluto and Charon are about 9.6 million km away - the
instruments will take pictures and spectral measurements, and begin to make
the first maps.

Dr Stern is visiting Australia to work with CSIRO and the Canberra Deep
Space Communication Complex in preparation for New Horizon's Pluto
encounter. Come along and hear him talking about New Horizons and its
exciting journey to Pluto.

Dr Stern - bio

Dr Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, and author.
Until recently he was Associate Administrator of NASA's Space Mission
Directorate. His research has focused on studies of our solar system's
Kuiper belt and Oort cloud, comets, the satellites of the outer planets,
Pluto, and the search for evidence of solar systems around other stars. In
his 25 year career history he has been to numerous astronomical
observatories, to the South Pole, and to the upper atmosphere aboard high
performance military aircraft. In 2007, Stern was listed among
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Magazine> Time Magazine's 100 Most
Influential People in The World.

When not studying the skies, Dr. Stern writes, and goes hiking and camping.
He and his wife Carole have two daughters and a son and they make their home
in northern Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.


Lara Davis

Science Communications Officer

School of Physics

University of Sydney

Ph: 02 9351 3383

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