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NASA's New Horizons Flyby


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     After its famous flyby of Pluto on July 19, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons flew into the press as the first mission to the last planet.  Now will it fly through Lego Ideas and into production?

     The probe was launched on January 17, 2006 atop an Atlas V rocket.  At 2:00 in the afternoon, the probe left the launchpad at Cape Canaveral.  It was the fastest rocket takeoff in history at a speed of approximately 59,000 km/h (37,000 mph).

     The first major test of the scientific payload was the Jupiter gravity assist.  As it flew past the gas giant, it observed its major moons.  After using the momentum from Jupiter’s gravitational pull, it shot on its way to Pluto leaving the solar system behind.  As it passed Pluto, the New Horizons probe took the best images of the dwarf planet ever.  All instruments functioned as planned, and minus a small glitch before the approach.  The probe studied the composition, geography, and atmosphere of Pluto and its five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra.  Now, will you help it on its journey to 10,000 supporters?


     The model features the full scientific payload, and other features of the craft.  They include:

  • Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LoRRI), a long-range camera that mapped geography and surface features at a distance.
  • Alice, an ultraviolet imaging spectrometer, which studied the atmospheres of Pluto and other objects.
  • Ralph, a spectrometer suited for creating color images and thermal maps.

  • Radio Science Experiment (REX), which measures atmospheric conditions.

  • Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP), a plasma spectrometer that observes Pluto’s interaction with solar wind.

  • Student Dust Counter (SDC), a device built by students at the University of Colorado Boulder, which studies the space dust around the Pluto system.

  • Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPPSI), which studies plasma ions escaping from Pluto’s atmosphere.

  • High and Low Gain Antennae (HGA and LGA), which send radio signals back to Earth.


     The model contains 357 pieces, or 330 without the stand.  The model was built on Mecabricks, so a big thank you goes out to the creator of the site.  The renderings were done in Blender.


Check it out:

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