New Horizons’ way is clear!

Or so it seems, anyway, from the first pass search for hazards.  Using images acquired a couple of weeks ago, the team has completed searching for large hazards.  They were particularly looking for undiscovered moons and rings, and found none.  Which is good news for the mission; at these high velocities, tiny dust can cause real damage.  This rules out any rings larger than a thousand miles wide, and reflecting any more than one five-millionth of the incoming sunlight.  Another set of hazard avoidance images will be taken over the next few days, with final analysis to be complete June 12; the last opportunity to redirect the probe to avoid any hazards will be July 4 — after that, they are committed to their path.

During the imaging series, they got some very good pictures.  This one compares a picture on May 12 with one taken a month earlier to show how much the view has improved:




ref: So Far, All Clear: New Horizons Team Completes First Search for Pluto System Hazards


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