Taking Your Family to Ultima Thule, 1 Billion Miles Beyond Pluto

By Staff Reports

(Victorville)– Your service will take place during this year’s lecture “Taking Your Family to Ultima Thule, 1 Billion Miles Beyond Pluto!” on the evening of Friday, October 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.¬† This is a world class presentation about a NASA mission, New Horizons, that that encountered an object in space colder and older than any other humanity has ever seen.¬† Dr. Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute and a member of the New Horizons science team will make the presentation and recount the inside story of when his New Horizons science team encountered Pluto and the rest of their mission at Ultima Thule. The event is FREE and parking is also FREE!

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft left Earth in 2006 on its journey to Pluto and beyond. The flyby of Pluto in 2015 revealed an unimagined world of pristine planes, ice volcanoes, and glaciers made of frozen nitrogen. The spacecraft has also journeyed onward into the Kuiper Belt, the solar system’s “freezer chest” of small bodies left over from the time when the solar system formed. On New Year’s eve and New Year’s day, the New Horizons spacecraft will complete its mission by providing humanity’s first close-up look at a small body in the Kuiper Belt, revealing what these distant worlds look like for the first time.

SETI Institute astronomer Mark Showalter studies the dynamics of rings and small moons in the Solar System. Known for his persistence in planetary image analysis, Mark’s early work with Voyager data led to the discoveries of Jupiter’s faint, outer “gossamer” rings and Saturn’s tiny ring-moon, Pan. Starting in 2003, his work with the Hubble Space Telescope led to the discoveries of “Mab” and “Cupid,” small moons of Uranus now named after characters from Shakespeare’s plays. His work also revealed two faint outer rings of dust encircling the planet. In 2011, Mark initiated a Hubble observing program focused on Pluto, which led to the discoveries of two tiny moons. Their names, “Kerberos” and “Styx”, were selected through an international naming campaign. More recently, Mark discovered the 14th known moon of Neptune. He is a co-investigator on NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn and its New Horizons mission to Pluto.

Additional valuable  information can be found on the Victor Valley College website: www.vvc.edu/ultimathule.

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