New Horizons Latest

There’s a new PI’s Perspective column up at the New Horizons web site. Alan Stern puts a night cap on the activities that followed the spacecraft’s passage through Jupiter’s magnetotail. NH’s close encounter with the planet began, you recall, on Feb. 28. Just now the very last of the data has been received back, and is undergoing preliminary analysis before being turned over to the public.

One thing he wrote particularly caught my eye:

To prepare for hibernation, our mission operations team has been analyzing data from the five-day hibernation test we did in April, and testing spacecraft items like the backup navigation gyros and the fuel-cutoff valves that could be used if the spacecraft senses it’s in danger while operating autonomously in hibernation.

Hey! That’s me and my team he’s talking about! Well, almost. We merely tested the autonomous fault-protection system. Still, I feel like a proud, well, uncle.

With these various preparations behind us, our mission ops team is ready to move into “real” use of the hibernation mode, which we’ll use 75% of the time from now until 2014 to reduce wear and tear on our electronics.

That’s what it’s about.

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