Talk:New Horizons

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Current status[edit]

I don't think this ever-changing data,

  • As of May 1, 2015, New Horizons was about:
  • 0.59 AU (88,000,000 km; 55,000,000 mi) from Pluto
  • 32.29 AU (4.831×109 km; 3.002×109 mi) from the Sun
  • 31.86 AU (4.766×109 km; 2.962×109 mi) from Earth.
  • Countdown to New Horizons‍‍ '​‍s closest approach: 2 months, 11 days, 5 hours, 58 minutes, 12 seconds

needs to be in an encyclopedia. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 05:54, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

I definitely agree that the countdown doesn't need to be there, as long as the date of closest approach is mentioned somewhere. The rest of the info, IMO, does help provide some context and sense of scale for the reader though.
That being said, it only works as long as someone keeps updating it if that stops or becomes impractical (after the main mission, perhaps), that would be a good point to remove this content. Cheers! Skyraider1 (talk) 10:29, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
@Bubba73: I don't see why you care about that, when there is so much to be improved upon in the article... really. The distances get updated once a month along with the image. Sometimes the distances are updated more frequently (normally by an unregistered editor), but such edits can be reverted, if the "ever-changing data" changes too frequently in your encyclopedic perception. As for the countdown template, where, if not here, is such a template more applicable on wikipedia, than in this particular section? Really, you should first start to care about the removals of all existing countdown-templates on wikipedia (there are several). The template updates itself automatically, and why do you want to deny useful information to the reader in the first place? Why don't you save your encyclopedic energy for July 14, when it needs to be removed from the article for good. Apologies for my rather grumpy tone. -- Cheers, Rfassbind -talk 15:48, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Speaking of which... Why was the item removed here obsolete? Will the trajectory map no longer be updated? Regards, JoergenB (talk) 06:08, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
@JoergenB: Hi Joergen, thx for not pinning me ;) About two days prior to the edit in question I switched to a new version of the map, showing a sideview instead of a top-down perspective of the trajectory, and I added the text "The map also displays the positions of stars...from the actual perspective, which is slightly above the orbital plane of the planets" However the image got reverted back to the original map, and so it became obsolete (since from a top-down view there's no perspective slightly above the ecliptic) and I removed it (in two steps). In addition, I think I replaced the remaining text item with a more significant observation ("New Horizons resolution better than HST since May, 5"). Hope you had no problems to understand the motivation behind my other 21 edits I did during this period.. otherwise, please feel free to ask. -- Cheers, Rfassbind -talk 01:15, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

This is the only countdown I've seen on Wikipedia. I would be in favor of removing all of them - this is an encyclopedia, after all. An encyclopedia doesn't need to tell the number of seconds to an event. And after closest approach, the countdown may start showing the number of seconds since the closest approach. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:57, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

@Bubba73: After July 14, the template will show "Event time has passed." Please don't speculate about things, that could be tested in no time. I therefore honestly doubt your conviction to do something about the usage of the mentioned templates on wikipedia, since that will definitely require a lot of time. I agree on the "seconds" being not helpful, though. That's why I already posted my suggestions on the talk page of the template, asking for specific amendments to the template in order to allow for a more customized display (i.e. a countdown without displaying the seconds, that is still accurate on the minutes). Thx for leaving the thread and not pinning me. -- Cheers, Rfassbind -talk 17:52, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
If you doubt me, I asked about the policy on village pump yesterday: wp:Village_pump_(policy)#Countdown_clock. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 17:57, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
That discussion was archived here.
Let's keep in mind that this is a 21st century encyclopedia. We are not talking about something that comes off a Gutenberg printing press. The very concept of an encyclopedia needs to keep up with the times. It is not unreasonable to have an encyclopedic article that keeps info that is fresh on an hourly basis or better.--Concord hioz (talk) 22:06, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
It is still against policy. From Wikipedia is not: "Ensure that Wikipedia articles are not:

2.News reports. Wikipedia considers the enduring notability of persons and events. While news coverage can be useful source material for encyclopedic topics, most newsworthy events do not qualify for inclusion. For example, routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities is not a sufficient basis for inclusion in the encyclopedia. While including information on recent developments is sometimes appropriate, breaking news should not be emphasized or otherwise treated differently from other information. Timely news subjects not suitable for Wikipedia may be suitable for our sister project Wikinews." Furthermore, it is NOT ENCYCLOPEDIC. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:36, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

It would be nice if someone could reformulate this line: "The spacecraft currently travels at 14.56 km/s (32,600 mph) relative to the Sun and at 13.80 km/s (30,900 mph) relative to Pluto. In astronomical units (AU), this is about 3.1 AU per year, or roughly 0.0084 AU per day."
It isn't clear if the second sentence refers to the speed relative to Pluto or to the Sun. If it were up to me, I'd remove it entirely or do something like 14.56 km/s (32,600 mph) (3.1 AU/y) which is a bit of a hack since Convert unfortunately doesn't support speeds in AU, but I'll let you guys handle it. // (talk) 11:48, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Go ahead, amend the line. You can do it, I know you can, don't be afraid to come under scrutiny. -- Cheers, Rfassbind -talk 12:20, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
It turns out I just was manipulating Convert badly... Fixed now. // (talk) 13:06, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

In the discussion of the software reset of July 4, 2015, the claim is made that the data loss will have "no impact on the mission's main objectives ...". How is that possible? Reducing the data, even if it is duplicative, reduces confidence in any conclusions. If they weren't significant, why were they being taken? The Pluto Approach section makes the more reasonable claim that the it will have "minimal effect", (you could also say "insignificant" or "negligible" (effect or impact)). (talk) 06:15, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

It's information taken directly from the press release on the spacecraft resuming operations, from the project scientists. Can't speculate how they came to that conclusion, but that was their determination regarding any missed observations. A(Ch) 18:02, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

For what it's worth, the probe ended its flyby silent period on scheduled today and downloaded engineering data showing the the probe operated in at respects during the flyby in a nominal fashion. No unexpected events occurred. SkoreKeep (talk) 03:51, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Resolution exceeding Hubble[edit]

On what date did/will New Horizons' resolution exceed that of Hubble? The "Current status" section says May 5 but the "Mission timeline" and "Future mission timeline" sections say May 15. All three dates used to say May 5, but two have been changed in the past few days. Thanks. DH85868993 (talk) 06:06, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

The New Horizons website says "May-June 2015" - you might not be able to pin down an exact second. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 06:10, 7 May 2015 (UTC) (which is the ref for the "May 15" date in the "Future mission timeline" section) has a "Countdown to Better than Ever Imaging" which currently sits at about 8 days, which would tie in with the date of May 15. I presume "Better than Ever Imaging" is a reference to better-than-Hubble resolution (but I couldn't find anywhere that explicitly said that). I'm not really fussed which date the article says, but I would prefer the article to be internally consistent, and use the correct tense for exceeeded/will exceed. DH85868993 (talk) 06:40, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
The "May 5" has now been changed to just "May", so the article is now internally consistent (and the tenses are correct). Thanks. DH85868993 (talk) 21:43, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Please see — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:58, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

I think this is misleading. Looking at the 21 June images from JPL the images are obviously crap and look essentially like the Hubble images; pixels. So, maybe "pixels" are higher "resolution" but the images are awful for both; basically equally awful. I really hope the camera does better at the 6000 miles or so close encounter. (talk) 02:25, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree. It is hard to pin down an exact date that they get better - they must calculate it on the number of pixels, etc, but they don't get dramatically better on that date. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:53, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Include "anomaly" in the lede?[edit]

I have added a mention of the "anomaly" that has resulted in "safe mode" and resultant downtime for the spacecraft's mission, which may be one or several days, possibly more. The mention in the lede has been removed with an edit summary to the effect that it isn't important at this time. I disagree. The news is breaking in the media, and it seems logical to acknowledge this at the top, where it can be found. Let's discuss, as I believe consensus will exist to put the information back into the lede. Thanks. Jusdafax 17:54, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

It's an important enough development. A system shutdown that could take days to fix - days away from a historic flyby. Let's err on the side of keeping the readers up to-date on this current event. SlightSmile 18:38, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Disagree, normal communication was shortly after re-established and the overall impact on the missions is at this point still likely to be small. --Njardarlogar (talk) 20:21, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Communication is indeed reestablished with the spacecraft but as far as is known the original problem that caused the switch to the backup computer is not diagnosed, much less fixed, and the craft is currently not collecting data, for one or more days. Meaning Slightsmile is absolutely correct: the lede is not up-to-date, and Wikipedia readers will have to search the article for the information. The lede is of course supposed to summarize the article. Not mentioning this important development in the lede just wrong, as I see it. Jusdafax 21:15, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
For now, I agree with keeping it in the lede, with two caveats: mention of the anomaly should just be a summary, with any additional details in the main article, and, if normal ops resume soon with minimal mission impact (here's hoping!), then mention of it should be removed entirely from the lede. Just my two cents. Cheers! Skyraider1 (talk) 23:32, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
That sounds right to me. No point to have it there after it's resolved. SlightSmile 23:43, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree. Although it is communicating, the spacecraft may miss the flyby data collection. BatteryIncluded (talk) 01:02, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Thankfully moot; data collection is resuming: [1] A(Ch) 03:05, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Excellent news! Delighted to have it mooted. Jusdafax 08:48, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

Getting ready for the big show[edit]

I changed some stuff around, as most of it was old and out of date. What we gotta do, is to reconfigure the article so we can just plug stuff in. They're not going to release a lot of stuff on the flyby day, and not all that much before. Should the encounter be a separate article? Think about it....13:08, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

I've pondered the possibility of flybys begin their own separate articles. I once fancied splitting off Voyager 2's Neptune encounter into it's own article, but the fear of getting my article removed because of some unreasonable reason was too much for me to want to put any effort into it. The New Horizons encounter of Pluto should be big enough to warrant it's own article without any significant protest, surely! It's about time an spacecraft encounter got it's own article! PhilipTerryGraham ⡭ ₪ ·o' ⍦ ࿂ 18:57, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Forgive me if I'm mistaken....but isn't the main purpose of the New Horizon's mission to do this flyby? As a reader, I'd be a little confused if the main objective of the mission wasn't in the mission's article....perhaps I'm misunderstanding the suggestion though. Cheers! Skyraider1 (talk) 00:55, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Skyraider1. Besides, the data that will be transmitted weeks after the flyby will be used to enhance the Pluto article. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:38, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Ms. Vesna, Go here and DO IT!!!!!

NASA-TV - Pluto Flyby - Updated Schedule (3pm/et/usa - 7/15/2015) of Media Coverage[edit]

NASA-TV - Pluto Flyby - Updated Schedule (7/8/2015) of Media Coverage.[1] - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 11:53, 9 July 2015 (UTC) - UPDATE (7/12/2015) of Media Coverage.[2] - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:53, 12 July 2015 (UTC) - UPDATE (07/15/2015) of Media Coverage[3] - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 18:56, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

BRIEF Followup - Video (61:33) of NASA media conference (3pm/et/usa - 7/15/2015), with the latest images of the Pluto system from New Horizons, is at => - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 11:46, 16 July 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Cantillo, Laurie; Buckley, Mike; Stothoff, Maria (July 8, 2015). "M15-104 - NASA Announces Updated Television Coverage, Media Activities for Pluto Flyby". NASA. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Cantillo, Laurie; Buckley, Mike; Stothoff, Maria (July 12, 2015). "M15-107 - NASA Pluto New Horizons July 13 Media Briefing Time Change, Media Center Open". NASA. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  3. ^

Declined Voyager 1 visit to Pluto[edit]

After reading that it was originally an option - and it would be interesting to put into this article or the Voyager 1 article - if Voyager would have taken the Pluto flyby instead of Titan, what year would it have arrived there in that alternate history timeline? How much earlier would we have seen it?--Varkman (talk) 06:51, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Early 1986, apparently. Andrew Gray (talk) 16:01, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Duplicate photos[edit]

One of the July 11 photos and one of the July 13 photos appear in both B&W and color. There is no need for both. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 05:02, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

NASA-TV - New Horizons mission - News Conference (1pm/et/usa, Friday, 7/17/2015)[edit]

NASA-TV - New Horizons mission - re Pluto flyby - News Conference (1pm/et/usa, Friday, 7/17/2015).[1][2] - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 13:34, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

BRIEF Followup - Video (55:43) of NASA media conference (1pm/et/usa - 7/17/2015), with the latest images of the Pluto system from New Horizons, is at => - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 23:51, 17 July 2015 (UTC)


Suggestion for a "popular response" section?[edit]

I think the large amount of attention the pluto flyby received, both in traditional and digital media, deserves to be mentioned, especially considering the sentimental value many observers attach to Pluto and the wide array of non-astronomer types drawn in by the revealing of Pluto's true image. (talk) 18:07, 16 July 2015 (UTC), these have been the subject of contention in other articles as often times they expand to include off-the-cuff comments by entertainers or minor political figures. The coverage we have been seeing is also a product of today's 24 hour news cycle.
It may also lead to the introduction of politics to what is largely a science-centered mission. For example, should we mention that then Governor of Florida and current U.S. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush personally contributed a roll of quarters with one of them being installed on the New Horizons spacecraft?[2][3] --Marc Kupper|talk 20:40, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Misleading juxtaposition[edit]

Having the pictures of Pluto and Charon alongside each other in the Objectives section is a bit misleading. It sort of implies they're the same size. Could they be scaled appropriately? (talk) 18:33, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Undefined Acronym[edit]

The article uses the acronym "VBSDC" twice, without ever defining what that acronym stands for. It can be inferred that it stands for Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter but this is not explicitly stated, and the acronym is used before the introduction of Venetia Burney as a related subject. (talk) 20:26, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Fixed Good catch, this has been fixed. --Marc Kupper|talk 20:24, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Need new section for science results[edit]

A new section should be added between the sections Pluto system encounter and Current status to report science results (example: [1]) and the debate whether Pluto should be reclassified from "dwarf planet" back to "planet"[2] or perhaps "double planet".[3] The debate over Pluto's size has already been resolved.[4] Are there enough validated science results to justify a new section, or are the currently reported science results just first impression opinion? Should the science results be formatted in paragraph form, bulleted list, or chart form? Obankston (talk) 23:54, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

How about naming and linking such section to Geography of Pluto, Geology of Pluto and Atmosphere of Pluto. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:38, 19 July 2015 (UTC)


Message to ET[edit]

It looks like NASA will load a digital message onto New Horizons spacecraft addressed to any intelligent aliens that may find it in the future. Not sure where to add this info. Source: Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:46, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Pluto flyby details[edit]

"New Horizons was intended to pass within 12,500 km (7,800 mi) of Pluto, with this closest approach on July 14, 2015 at 11:50 UTC." So did it fly by at this height and on this date? The use of 'intended' suggests maybe it didn't? Or maybe this section was written before the flyby and no-one has updated it to say what actually happened? (talk) 06:55, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

NASA-TV - New Horizons results - News Conference (2pm/et/usa, Friday, 7/24/2015)[edit]

NASA-TV - New Horizons results - re Pluto flyby - News Conference (2pm/et/usa, Friday, 7/24/2015)[1] - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 12:35, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

BRIEF Followup - Video (68:40) of NASA media conference (2pm/et/usa - 7/24/2015), with the latest images of the Pluto system from New Horizons, is at => VIDEO[2] & IMAGES[3] - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 15:06, 25 July 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Cantillo, Laurie; Buckley, Mike; Stothoff, Maria (July 21, 2015). "NASA Views Complex World: New Horizons Pluto Science Update Set for July 24". NASA. Retrieved July 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ NASA Video (68:40) =>
  3. ^ NASA Images =>

where are the close-up flyby photos?[edit]

Lots of hype about the flyby, supposedly 12,500 km (7,800 mi) of Pluto, with this closest approach on July 14, 2015 at 11:50 UTC. But all the released photos were taken either BEFORE or AFTER this radio silent close flyby. NASA was promising photos detailing 100 metre features or 50 metres per pixel. i.e almost at google earth quality. Did New Horizons take close up photographs of Pluto or not? Where are they? When will they be released? (talk) 21:57, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Downlinking the images and other scientific data will take about 15 months. BatteryIncluded (talk) 00:05, 12 August 2015 (UTC)