Welcome to Episode 4 of Ultra Frontier Explorer, presented by Dr. Jon Overton. This week we begin our coverage of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its Journey to flyby Pluto – this is Part.1 of two about this awesome mission!
Witness New Horizons roaring into space on a madly boosted Atlas V rocket, becoming the fastest spacecraft in history at launch! Travel with New Horizons to its Gravitational Slingshot around Jupiter, where it uses the angular momentum of the enormous gas giant planet to gain even more speed! Dr. Jon explains how Gravity Assists like this work (using a tennis ball).
See some of the amazing photos and footage New Horizons sent back from this Jupiter flyby, including the Huge Volcanic Eruptions on Io, one of Jupiter’s 4 big Galilean moons! Find out why Io is the single most volcanic object in the Solar System, and how its orbital relationship with Jupiter and the other big moons – especially icy Europa and Ganymede (with their sub-surface water oceans) affects it.
After Jupiter, we skip the 8 years of New Horizon’s hibernation en route to the Kuiper Belt and move right up to date with some photos from New Horizons approach to dwarf planet Pluto and its moon system (especially Charon, Pluto’s biggest moon) – just to whet your appetite for Part 2 in the upcoming Ep.5 of UFEx which will be all about the Pluto flyby itself!