Celebrate the New Horizons Pluto Flyby With Your Own Pluto-Palooza!

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is a mere 2 weeks and 18 million km (11 million miles) from its historic encounter with Pluto and its moons. To celebrate this 9 year, 3 billion mile journey through our solar system, the mission team has put together a Pluto-palooza Toolkit to help you host a Pluto-centric event in your own area with other plutophiles!

Celebrate the New Horizons Pluto flyby with a Pluto-palooza

"NASA’s New Horizons mission is flying toward Pluto to reveal a whole new zone of our solar system. You have the unique opportunity to explore with us – to learn about the New Horizons mission from the inside, and host a “Plutopalooza" event in your own area in July 2015, when New Horizons zips through the Pluto system.”, a statement on the Pluto-palooza website reads.

The Toolkit includes mission posters, banners, activities, videos, stickers, models and other resources to help you kickstart your Pluto-palooza. You can host an event before, during, or after the flyby. The New Horizons spacecraft will make its historic flyby of Pluto and its moons on July 14, at 7:49:59 a.m. EDT (11:49:59 UTC).

The excitement is building. "One of my fondest hopes for the flyby, apart from the great science we'll do, is that we'll excite a lot of people about the power of exploration, the sheer audacity of our species and the great things we can achieve." says Alan Stern, lead scientist for New Horizons.

If you are planning an event on July 14 - flyby day - here is the timeline of events and TV coverage.

July 14 Pluto Flyby Planner

Countdown to Close Encounter

7:30 a.m. ET - Media Briefing: Arrival at Pluto, Inside the Pluto System and New Horizons' Perilous Path (live on NASA TV)

The final pre-flyby images of Pluto will be unveiled during a special NASA TV live broadcast on Tuesday, July 14, to mark the moment New Horizons makes its closest approach to Pluto at 7:49 a.m. EDT.

The live broadcast includes a countdown, a discussion of images and data received thus far, and what's expected next as New Horizons makes its way past Pluto and potentially dangerous debris.

NASA will not be in contact with the spacecraft at closest approach since the spacecraft's instruments will be pointed at Pluto, an orientation that will take the spacecraft's fixed communications antenna off earth point. Earthlings will need to wait about 13 hours, until about 9 pm EDT, for a signal from the spacecraft to arrive at Earth.

Phone Home

8 – 9:15 p.m. ET - NASA TV program, Phone Home, broadcast from APL Mission Control

NASA TV will share the suspenseful moments of this historic event with the public and museums around the world. The New Horizons spacecraft will send a preprogrammed signal after the close approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal at about 9:02 p.m. When New Horizons "phones home," there will be a celebration of its success and the anticipation of data to come over the days and months ahead.  

No images will be received, just telemetry to indicate the spacecraft is healthy and survived the flyby.

Close-up Images

The first post-flyby close-up images of Pluto and its moons are scheduled to be released at various times on Wednesday, July 15.

One More Thing….

On Tuesday June 30, there will be a New Horizons Reddit AMA/Live Broadcast on Pluto.TV! Reddit opens at 1:30 pm ET & live answers at 2-3:00 pm ET.

To access the full features of Pluto Safari please download the FREE app for iOS from the Apple App Store or Pluto Safari: New Horizons for Android from Google Play.

Alternatively, if you have SkySafari or Pluto Safari installed you could download the simulation settings file here.