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You never know what you're going to see when you visit a world for the first time—particularly when it's on the solar system's most distant frontier – but you can get ready to see it.
NASA's New Horizons science team recently wrapped up a three-day rehearsal of the busiest days around the mission's Dec. 31- Jan. 1 flyby of Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt object orbiting a billion miles beyond Pluto. Working with the same software tools, and in the same space they'll use during the actual flyby the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Maryland, more than 50 scientists downloaded and analyzed simulated data and worked with the mission's communications team to "announce" these discoveries through practice news releases and media briefings.
Activity - Readiness - Tests - ORTs - New
The activity was among the last of almost two-dozen operational readiness tests – known as ORTs – the New Horizons team has conducted to cover critical aspects of its upcoming flyby, from spacecraft operations and navigation to searches for rings, moons and other potential hazards around New Horizons' target object. The team held several similar tests leading up to the historic flyby...
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