(The Gist of Science Reporter) The Seven Sisters [MAY-2019]
The Seven Sisters
- Now Horizons' seven scientific systems (payload) display a remarkable
miniaturisation: collectively drawing power as low as 28 watts, the
instruments were specially designed for the frigid temperatures that the
craft would encounter at Pluto and beyond.
- Alice: A highly sensitive imaging spectrometer, which is capable of not
only separating the light into its constituent wavelengths (like a prism)
but also capturing images of the target at each wavelength Alice gave us
some spectacular details of Piuto’s composition.
- Ratph-LEISA: Operates as the main “eyes" of the craft with a resolution
ten times better than the human eye can see. It is made up of three
black-and white and four colour sensors encapsulated inside the
Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC}. with LEISA operating as the
infrared compositional mapping spectrometer. While MVIC beamed stunning
images of Pluto and Ultima Thule at increasing wavelengths, LEISA analysed
the chemical spectrum of Pluto and its moons.
- REX: The Radio Science Experiment consists of a small printed circuit
board containing sophisticated signal-processing electronics Integrated into
the Now Horizons telecommunications system. REX was indispensable to
ground-based scientists in analysing Pluto’s atmosphere and determine its
- LORRI: The Long-range reconnaissance imager is a digital camera fitted
with a large telephoto telescope. The high-res images from this camera gave
scientists an unprecedented view of the details of Pluto's surface. Some
pictures even surpassed the quality beamed by the Hubble Telescope. What
stands out is its robustness in the frigid environs of the Kuiper belt.
- SWAP: Solar Wind Around Pluto is a large aperture instrument designed to
measure the interaction of solar winds on Pluto, Capable of minute energy
(up to 6 keV), the device can detect slight changes in solar wind energy
- PEPSI: The Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science investigation
is a compact directional energetic particle spectrometer capable of
detecting the particles that escape Pluto’s atmosphere. These particles pick
up the solar energy and transform into charged ions which are carried by
solar winds. Working in tandem with SWAP the two systems have provided
tremendous inputs to scientists about the nature of Pluto's atmosphere.
- 5DC: Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter was designed by undergrads at
the University of Colorado, Boulder. The instrument keeps a tab on the
number of dust particles originating from collisions of space objects all
along the long journey.
Courtesy: Science Reporter