Pluto's Moons May Be a Threat to Space Ships, NASA Fears

The New Horizons spacecraft may be turned into space junk

By on October 17th, 2012 12:21 GMT

Back in 2006, NASA launched the new Horizons spacecraft with the goal of eventually having it reach Pluto and study the celestial body. Unfortunately, some problems may arise.

Pluto may no longer qualify as a planet, but it is still one of the, if not the, least well-known space objects orbiting our sun.

To learn more about it, NASA launched the new Horizons spacecraft on a course that will eventually let it reach the dwarf planet.

Currently, it is still 730,000,000 miles away, which will take another 1,000 days to traverse.

Scientists from NASA are now concerned that the mission will come to naught.

As it turns out, New Horizons is remarkably fragile. Even if a small pebble or millimeter-sized grain is said to have the potential to cripple the automated craft.

In space, this isn't normally a problem, but Pluto was discovered to have a fifth moon back in July, and there are grounds for speculation that there may even be a ring system.

Scans with ground and space telescopes are currently being done, while computer simulations are being run to track where orbital debris may exist.

Whether an ideal orbital spot for New Horizons is found or Pluto lives up to its nickname of “black widow” remains to be seen.

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