Voyager to Pluto

Contributed by
Oct 1, 2006

I blogged recently about David Seal's writing as a stand-in for Emily Lakdawalla on The Planetary Society Blog. He's a great writer, and I think he should start his own blog. He obviously has a passion for what he does, and isn't that fun to read?

For his last entry as a guest, he wrote about how the Voyager probes could have been sent to Pluto. In the end, the probes did a "Grand Tour" of the outer giant planets (Voyager I went to Jupiter and Saturn, while it's brother Voyager II went on to Uranus and Neptune), but Pluto was simply too far back in its orbit to be reached.

What I didn't know is that a visit to Pluto was possible, just not chosen. It could have been done, but only by not visiting Uranus and Neptune. Once at Saturn, the probe had to be aimed just right to visit the other two big planets, or a different course set to go on to Pluto. The mission designers made a choice, and I think it was the right one-- right for the time it was made, and still right today.

Anyway, go on and read David's post. I think I'll drop him a line and tell him he should set up his own blog. I bet he'd do just fine.

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