The flight, making use of nuclear power, will cover almost five hundred million kilometers in about ten years. On its way, the spacecraft will also be assisted by the gravity of Jupiter as it passes the massive planet. The fact that a radio signal takes only about four hours to traverse the same distance notwithstanding, the Mission’s flight is still among the longest as well as the fastest expeditions mankind has ever known.
This paper is an overview of the New Horizons Mission offering insights into the various facets of the Mission such as the background the Mission, the objectives, the expected data and its presumed value, processes involved in the conversion and analysis of raw data, the records to be maintained, their content and the players involved in the making of these records, the transmission of the data from one level to another, the methods of sorting and arranging data along with its estimated size before it is finally made available to the public and the proposed timeline of events.
The paper throws light on all the stages of the Mission right from pre-flight to the publication of data on the internet. The Mission is as transparent as well as it is philanthropic for there are no narrow motives nor any patents on the information collected. That all the information is free and public is a very distinctive feature of the Mission.
The aim of the NASA’s New Frontiers Program, effective since 2003, is to keep exploring the solar system using spacecrafts. New Horizons is the name given to the first of the New Frontiers missions undertaken by NASA’s Office of Space Science. Though it was launched more than eight years ago, it has not become as popular as it should have. Popular or not, this principal investigator (PI) – led mission to outer planets is indeed very impressive for it seeks to explore and make the first reconnaissance of certain parts of our immediate vicinity of the known