One More Thing Fastest spacecraft in the solar system
The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons will reach Pluto on July 14 and send back the first close-up images. A mockup of the spacecraft hangs in the National Air and Space Museum.
The real half-ton craft carries seven instruments to study Pluto’s atmosphere and how it’s affected by solar winds, as well as surface formations.
The dish-like REX (Radio Science Experiment) analyzes atmospheric composition and carries a passive radiometer to gauge the intensity of electromagnetic radiation.
The visible side of the probe houses Ralph, a visible and infrared imager/ spectrometer, and Alice, an ultraviolet spectrometer that will look for atmospheres around Pluto’s moon Charon and objects in the Kuiper Belt.
On the back of the craft, LORRI (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager) will take high-resolution images of Pluto’s rock formations and help to map the dwarf planet’s far side.