Thursday, January 19, 2006

Go For Launch

Pluto here we come!!!
At 2pm today (EST) an Atlas 5 launch vehicle, the mother of all rockets, took off through a small clearing in the cloud cover above the cape in Florida. Tucked neatly inside was the New Horizons spacecraft - bound for Pluto and its moon! Too cool. My latest refresh of shows that the is rocket traveling at a sweet 16,852 mph. Whoa! In a few minutes it'll reach a "parking" orbit around Earth... in nine short hours it'll swing past the moon for a boost (yay gravity assists!) to Jupiter... then, after another gravity assist transfer at Jupiter - which will shave 5 years off the trip, it'll be on it's way to Pluto. Granted it'll still be 2015 by the time we get there, but whatever, Pluto is FAR. Seriously, way too cool!