The Pluto Perspective

Posted on July 9, 2020

Memories of an Amazing Encounter

A Pluto of Our Own

Carly Howett

New Horizons Ralph instrument deputy principal investigator

Southwest Research Institute

Working overnight isn't something that's typically exciting or newsworthy - but on July 13-14, 2015, it was both.

A small team had been pulled together to process the first high-spatial resolution images of Pluto, and I was lucky enough to be on that team. New Horizons has a color and a black-and-white camera, and our job was to overlay the lower-spatial resolution color information onto the higher-spatial resolution black-and-white image. The images came down later than expected (sometimes this happens), but when they arrived into that small room at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the five of us were the first in history to see really Pluto for the first time.

By the end of the day that image had been seen by millions of people around the world and even Tweeted by President Obama - but for a few short hours it was ours.

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