Pluto team live on Facebook January 19

The New Horizons team will be discussing the historic Pluto encounter and the spacecraft’s next target in the Kuiper Belt – live on Facebook – beginning at at 4 p.m. EST (21:00 UTC).

Pluto, via New Horizons/ NASA/ JHUAPL/ SwRI.

Members of NASA’s New Horizons team will appear live on Facebook on Thursday, January 19, 2017, which is the 11th anniversary of the spacecraft’s launch. Speaking from New Horizons mission operations at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, they’ll be discussing the unprecedented Pluto encounter in 2015, for some of us likely the only spacecraft encounter with Pluto in our lifetimes. And they’ll be looking ahead to New Horizons’ next target, a flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.

The Facebook Live event will start at 4 p.m. EST (21:00 UTC) on Thursday, January 19; translate to your time zone.

Watch the live-streamed event on the NASA New Horizons Facebook page

New Horizons is now traveling in the Kuiper Belt, far (far!) from the sun. Here’s an artist’s concept of the spacecraft’s encounter with 2014 MU69 – a Kuiper Belt Object currently about a billion miles (1.6 billion km) beyond Pluto – on January 1, 2019. Image via NASA/ JHUAPL/ SwRI.

NASA said:

The conversation will cover a range of topics, including the top three findings from the spacecraft’s Pluto flyby and what New Horizons is doing on the way to its next science target.

Team members scheduled to appear:
* Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters
* Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute
* Glen Fountain, New Horizons (encounter) project manager at APL
* Kelsi Singer, New Horizons co-investigator at Southwest Research Institute
* Helene Winters, New Horizons project manager at APL

All data from New Horizons’ flight through the Pluto system in July 2015 has been transmitted safely to Earth, with the last bits arriving last fall. The team is still analyzing this historic set of images and other materials, while planning New Horizons’ coming encounter.

Astronomer Alan Stern. The New Horizons mission to Pluto was his brainchild. He’ll be part of the January 19, 2017 live event on Facebook.

Bottom line: The New Horizons team will be discussing the historic Pluto encounter and the spacecraft’s next target in the Kuiper Belt – live on Facebook – beginning at at 4 p.m. EST (21:00 UTC).

Deborah Byrd