Tuesday, July 14, 2015

..and now we wait.

So the New Horizons spacecraft passed Pluto and now has begun to send back pictures to the ground team. The transmitter data rate is down to 2000 bits per second, and they can only achieve that by using the spacecrafts two transmitters. The amount of data being sent back is pretty huge, and will take upwards of a year to get all of the data from the fly-by sent down from the spacecraft, although early this evening a few tantalizing images should be available. At this range (approximately 7.5 billion kilometers), it takes a radio signal about 7 hours to get from the Earth to the spacecraft, or about 14 hours for one command to be sent and a response to be returned. (Yikes!)

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