Image Hosted by

Off the top

A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Faster than a speeding bullet

Way faster!

Today’s “science class” at the L. family homeschool was even more exciting than usual -- we watched the launch of the New Horizons mission to Pluto live via NASA webcam. What made it especially exciting was the anticipation that had built up through two previous delays (from Tuesday to Wednesday and then today) plus today for about an hour (“T-4 and holding”) due to cloud cover. But shortly after the “green” signal was finally given, younger son was chanting along with the countdown and getting a real-time taste of what he’s been learning about space travel and the solar system from his science book.

New Horizons is headed to edge of the solar system to collect information on the properties of Pluto, its moon Charon, and the Kuiper belt beyond. It will pass our moon at approx. 11:00pm EST tonight (after just 9 hours of flight – Apollo 11 took three days) and reach Jupiter during the spring of 2007. After receiving a boost from Jupiter’s gravitational force, it will hurtle on for another 8 years through the remainder of the solar system.

My sons especially enjoyed hearing reports of the spacecraft’s increasing speed as it left the earth’s atmosphere – the last we heard it was doing close to 17 000 mph (during the second stage). It will reach 36K mph after separation from the third stage and eventually cruise at 47K mph. Cool, huh?

*(a bullet can travel 3500 mph, apparently)


Post a Comment

<< Home