[ RadSafe ] radiation fear strikes again ?

Franta, Jaroslav frantaj at aecl.ca
Mon Mar 5 09:30:20 CST 2007

Pluto Team Practices at Jupiter 
Aviation Week & Space Technology, 03/05/2007, page 31
Frank Morring, Jr., Columbia, Md.

Lessons from last week's encounter are already being applied as the
1,000-lb. nuclear-powered spacecraft hurtles down Jupiter's magnetotail, the
leeward stream of charged solar-wind particles escaping the planet's
magnetic field. 

Minutes after contollers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory (APL) here confirmed that New Horizons had passed its closest
approach to the planet Feb. 28 without apparent radiation damage, they began
resetting the automatic-safeing parameters on one instrument to higher
radiation levels. The ultraviolet imaging spectrometer--Alice--kicked off
needlessly during the approach to the planet, costing star-occultation data
on the atmospheres of some of Jupiter's moons.
"We should never have trip wires and set points for safety lower than they
need to be," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern. "We sort
of stubbed our toe by not thinking it through well enough."


Closeup of Jupiter's "Little Red Spot" from the New Horizons spacecraft,
which used a Feb. 28 flyby to practice for its 2015 encounter with
Pluto.Credit: NASA/APL/SwRI 


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