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NASA's New Horizons probe suffers anomaly


Posted on Sunday, 5 July, 2015 | Comment icon 33 comments

The New Horizons probe has been experiencing problems. Image Credit: NASA
Just 10 days away from reaching Pluto the spacecraft has suffered an unexplained communications failure.
The excruciatingly frustrating possibility that the probe might fail to function properly has actually become a reality mere days before reaching its destination after a flawless flight of over 9 years.

NASA has reported that the spacecraft suffered a temporary communications failure on Saturday which forced it in to a 'protective safe mode' and switched control over to its backup computer.

While communications with Earth have since been re-established and the probe is still on track for its historic flyby of Pluto in just over a week's time the team behind the mission will need to get the main computer working again or it won't be possible to record any scientific data.

The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that it takes nearly nine hours to send a command and to receive a response due to how far away the probe is and NASA engineers believe that it could take several days to get everything working properly again.

With any luck though it will be possible to fix the problem before the probe reaches its target.

Source: NBC News | Comments (33)

Tags: New Horizons, Pluto

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #24 Posted by DieChecker on 8 July, 2015, 0:41
I was thinking about that probe that went to Mars and they lost contact due to unit conversion to metric. At that distance you don't just round off.....
Comment icon #25 Posted by Merc14 on 8 July, 2015, 1:45
When I saw this, it made me spit my gum out. I had a flashback remembering that someone had predicted that NASA would find a way to conceal some of the information collected on this mission. LOL, the plot thickens. Who predicted that and what do they say about the craft being back at 100%?
Comment icon #26 Posted by psyche101 on 8 July, 2015, 1:50
Absolutely. Sun light on Pluto is 250 times brighter than a full moon on Earth. WOW! And thank you!! Photons are amazing!! I really expected them to have scattered a great deal by that distance, I never expected such a brilliant show, I am continually amazed at the day/night cycles on other planets. Working in light design often I am always expecting fade out, but have come to realise the sun is a source beyond my limited comprehension. The vid you posted on the chaotic rotation of Nix a few weeks ago was nothing short of fascinating. I actually went home and insisted everyone look at it, nobo... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by psyche101 on 8 July, 2015, 1:52
Wow.... I have been waiting for this for 9 years!! Bummer if it failed at the gate. Good to see ya Hazz, how's life mate?
Comment icon #28 Posted by Shouldthisexist on 9 July, 2015, 19:49
WOW! And thank you!! Photons are amazing!! I really expected them to have scattered a great deal by that distance, I never expected such a brilliant show, I am continually amazed at the day/night cycles on other planets. Working in light design often I am always expecting fade out, but have come to realise the sun is a source beyond my limited comprehension. The vid you posted on the chaotic rotation of Nix a few weeks ago was nothing short of fascinating. I actually went home and insisted everyone look at it, nobody was disappointed! Cheers. Astronomy= love for me, and link or reference for t... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by Merc14 on 10 July, 2015, 0:24
The Bad Astronomy site has a good explanation re. the brightness of the Sun from Pluto http://blogs.discove...o/#.VZ8OUfnyS1U
Comment icon #30 Posted by socrates.junior on 10 July, 2015, 0:50
But why isn't he a Good Astronomer. I'd be more likely to trust his explanation then.
Comment icon #31 Posted by Merc14 on 10 July, 2015, 1:15
But why isn't he a Good Astronomer. I'd be more likely to trust his explanation then. The site is Bad Astronomy and Phil Plait, its owner, is actually a very good astronomer. His mission in life is to debunk all the garbage that is posted by charlatans and frauds and teach astronomy to the layman, something he is very god at. He doesn't maintain the site any longer since he has moved on to making documentaries, touring the country to spread teh truth and doing astronomy.
Comment icon #32 Posted by psyche101 on 10 July, 2015, 2:22
Astronomy= love for me, and link or reference for that video? Me too, only problem I find with Astronomy is finding enough time to enjoy it properly. LINK
Comment icon #33 Posted by JesseCuster on 10 July, 2015, 21:02
The site is Bad Astronomy and Phil Plait, its owner, is actually a very good astronomer. His mission in life is to debunk all the garbage that is posted by charlatans and frauds and teach astronomy to the layman, something he is very god at. He doesn't maintain the site any longer since he has moved on to making documentaries, touring the country to spread teh truth and doing astronomy. On the YouTube channel Crash Course, he has a good basic introduction to astronomy in a series of short videos on various subjects in astronomy. There's 10 videos at the moment but he adds to it regularly. It's... [More]


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