THE NEW HORIZONS MISSION TO PLUTO AND THE KUIPER BELT
This paper will discuss the anticipated science return of New Horizons with a focus on the geology and composition of Pluto and its moons. The mission will produce global panchromatic, color and composition maps of Pluto and Charon with the best resolution on the encounter hemisphere. In addition, there are targeted observations of Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx in the visible and infrared to give a full understanding of the Pluto system.
On approach, we will be observing Pluto over many rotations from January to August. Observations of Pluto near closest approach are planned with a resolution of better than 0.5 km/pix in panchromatic visible light and 0.64 km/pix in color. We will be able to produce hemispheric maps of Pluto with a resolution of 6.0 km/pixel from our infrared spectrometer. In addition to these measurements, high-resolution regional images will be taken that achieve 0.09 km/pix in the visible and 2.7 km/pix in the infrared on Pluto. Stereo imaging is planned to determine topography. This will transform our vision of Pluto from a barely resolved point of light to a fully developed world.