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Voyager 2 Neptune Encounter Press Kitx

Voyager 2 Neptune Encounter Press Kitx

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Published by Bob Andrepont
NASA press kit for Voyager 2 arrival at Neptune
NASA press kit for Voyager 2 arrival at Neptune

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Nov 19, 2010
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10/31/2013

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1
4
.
N!n
OYAGER
2
NEPTUNE
ENCOUNTER
PRESS
KIT
NEPTUNE
I
AUGUST 1989
 
PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACTS
Charles RedmondOffice of Space Science and ApplicationsNASA Headquarters. Washington. DC 20546Paula Cleggett-HaleimOffice of Space Science and ApplicationsNASA Headquarters. Washington. DC 20546(202) 453-1 549(202) 453- 1549Mary Beth MurrillNASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Pasadena. Calif
.
(8 1
8)
354-5011Dwayne BrownOffice
of
Space OperationsNASA Headquarters. Washington. DC 20546(202) 453-8956
CONTENTS
GENERAL RELEASE
.................................................
1
THE VOYAGER MISSION
..........................................
4VOYAGER QUICK LOOK FACTS
..............................
6
NEPTUNE
...................................................................
7
Neptune's Moons
.....................................................
8
Radiation Environment at Neptune
..........................
9
SCIENCE OBJECTIVES
..........................................
10Atmosphere
...........................................................
10Moons
....................................................................
13Science Plans Beyond Neptune
............................
13Imaging Science Subsystem
.................................
14Infrared Interferometer Spectrometerand Radiometer
..................................................
17Photopolarimeter
...................................................
17Neptune's Rings
......................................................
7
Magnetic Field
........................................................
11Rings
......................................................................
13SCIENCE INSTRUMENTS
.......................................
14Radio Science Subsystem
..........................................
17Cosmic-Ray Subsystem
..............................................
18Low-Energy Charged-Particle Detector
......................
18Magnetic Fields Experiment
........................................
18
Planetary Radio Astronomy Experiment
....................
18
Plasma-Wave Subsystem
...........................................
19VOYAGER 2's HEALTH
.................................................
20Malfunctioning Radio
...................................................
20Stuck Scan Platform
...................................................
20Reducing the Volume of Data
.....................................
22Uplink
..........................................................................
23Ultraviolet Spectrometer
..............................................
18Plasma Subsystem
.....................................................
19MISSION OPERATIONS
................................................
21TELECOMMUNICATIONS
.............................................
22
-
Downlink 23VOYAGER MANAGEMENT TEAM
................................
24
......................................................................
i
 
National Aeronautics andSpace AdministrationWashington,
D.C.
RELEASE: 89-131
VOYAGER
2
ENCOUNTER
OF
NEPTUNE
*
Voyager 2, one of a pair of twin spacecraft launched by NASAin 1977, will complete its 12-year tour of the four giant outerplanets of the solar system when it flies closely past Neptune at12 midnight EDT, on Aug. 24, 1989.Voyager's flyby will be the first time a spacecraft has visitedNeptune, which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.793billion miles.Although Neptune is the fourth largest planet, it isinvisible to the naked eye from Earth. Even the biggest and besttelescopes on Earth have been able to discern only meagerdetails about the planet.Neptune is pale blue, about four times as big as Earth, andprobably has a center consisting of a slurry-like mixture of iceand rock surrounded by gases of hydrogen, helium andmethane.It holds in its orbit what appear to be fragmented ringsand one of the largest and most interesting moons in the solarsystem, Triton.Striking latitudinal bands, a giant dark spot andsmaller light spots have become apparent in Neptune's colorfulatmosphere as Voyager has approached the planet. The earlyobservations show that Neptune possesses a much more visibly,lively atmosphere than its supposed twin, Uranus, and thatNeptune shares broad atmospheric characteristics with its largerplanetary cousins Jupiter and Saturn.Voyager
2
will pass within
3,000
miles of Neptune's cloud tops,which is closer than the flyby distance of any of Voyager 2'sprevious encounters. The spacecraft flew past Jupiter on July 9,1979, Saturn on Aug. 25,1981 and Uranus on Jan. 24,1986.The aging spacecraft's last close look at any body in the solarsystem
will
occur at 5:14 a.m. EDT, on Aug. 25,
5
hours after theclosest approach to Neptune, when Voyager 2 will pass within24,000 miles
of
the surface of the Neptunian moon Triton. Theexact flyby distance to Triton won't be known until after ithappens, because the moon's diameter cannot be measuredprecisely until the spacecraft gets there. Estimates based onobservations from Earth put Triton's diameter at less than 2,240miles.Triton is expected to be one of the most interesting objects ofthe dozens Voyager 1 and
2
have studied in their long missions.The moon is thought to possess an atmosphere of methane andpossibly nitrogen. In recent years, scientists have debatedwhether Triton might have frozen or liquid pools of nitrogen on itssurface.In any case, studies from Earth suggest that whateverexists on Triton's surface should be visible through theatmosphere.From Neptune, it will take 4 hours,
6
minutes for Voyager'sradio transmissions
--
traveling at the speed of light (186,000miles per second)
--
to reach Earth. The data will be received atNASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., wherethe Voyager mission was conceived, the spacecraft designed andconstructed and the mission controlled.The Neptune encounter takes place the week of the 12thanniversary of Voyager 2's Aug. 20, 1977 launch.An identicalspacecraft, Voyager
1
was launched Sept. 5,1977, and flew pastJupiter on March
5,
1979 and Saturn on Nov. 12, 1980.
1

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