After the euphoria of NASA’s space probe sending its first high-res images of Pluto, elated scientists are now expecting more “dazzling” revelations from the dwarf planet. "It's going to be gorgeous data," said Glen Fountain, New Horizons' project manager. "Dazzle us. It will dazzle us. We've seen just a hint of that data and there is more to come." Metro speaks to Dr. Jane Greaves, professor at School of Physics and Astronomy at University of St Andrews and expert on Pluto, on what more we can expect from the mission.
I think it's a triumph for collaboration between people - you can see this just from the worldwide excitement and congratulations coming in over social media. I think people are excited because this unprecedented voyage has worked, and also because we're seeing things from day to day that are very unexpected. There's also a surprising empathy, for a world that seems lonely in the dark. It let's us think about origins and just appreciate that we're here, I think.
A set of instruments and a power source - the spacecraft is too far from the Sun to benefit from solar power. There instruments are small, sophisticated and packed in... They take images as you'd expect, but also sample gas in the atmosphere, electrified and solid particles, and the surface temperature.
Oh, definitely! It was visionary to send a spacecraft so far, and the patient wait has probably really helped. Image processing techniques and computer speed have improved so much that we can really dig out the science results now. Also the public can take part, with the rise and speed of citizen science.