The Encounter with Pluto
On July 14, 2015 the New Horizons spacecraft will encounter Pluto and return history-making images of this distant dwarf planet. Here are a few resources that feature this historic event!
Don't forget to return to this location in the coming weeks for new resources!
Exploring the Dwarf Planets
Scientists can learn a lot about the inside of a dwarf planet
by making very precise measurements of its diameter and
mass. From these measurements, average densities (mass
divided by volume) can be figured out. The density of an
object gives us a clue as to whether it is mostly rocky
or mostly icy.
Exploring the Dwarf Planet Ceres
Counting and measuring craters on Ceres can provide insights
into the cratering process that created its surface. It
appears to have fewer large craters than scientists had
expected to see, a possible indication that most of the
material that came together to form Ceres was smaller
Triton: The Twin of Pluto?
Triton is only slightly larger than Pluto. Both worlds
have similar surface materials, such as nitrogen, methane
and carbon monoxide. Their diameters, masses and
densities are amazingly similar.
The Amazing Journey to Pluto!
Deep space missions can take up to 10 years from
development to launch. For New Horizons, it took
close to 20 years from the time that scientists
conceived of the mission to the time it reached
Exploring Interplanetary Communication
On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reaches
dwarf planet Pluto and begins sending data back to Earth.
At that time, the distance from Earth to Pluto is 4.8 billion
kilometers. At the speed of light, one-way radio signal travel
time is 16,000 seconds or 4 hours and 27 minutes.
Modeling the Interior of Pluto
This interactive Excel spreadsheet lets you create a model of the interior of Pluto based on its diameter, mass and the densities of ice and rock.
(Download .xlsx file).
Book: Exploring the Dwarf Planets.
This book describes how missions like New Horizonms and Dawn are created, built, launched and how they return data back to Earth. Essays describe spacecraft design, STEM careers, and a series of 22 scientific and engineering ideas that form the basis for these missions. A discussion of dwarf planets and why Pluto was 'demoted' is also provided. (Under Development!).
SPACEMATH: The 'M' in STEM education
for science and math educators.
SpaceMath@NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in today's scientific discoveries.
Through press releases and other articles, we explore how many kinds of mathematics skills come together in
exploring the universe. [Press Release]
- Number One on GOOGLE (space+math)
- 35,000 visitors per month
- 12 million problem downloads
- Exemplary NASA STEM resource