Carnegie scientist to discuss new space explorations

Susan Benecchi
Susan Benecchi

Pluto may be small — so small, it's no longer considered a planet — but it has been a big player in scientific news, as the New Horizons Mission is expected to fly through the Pluto system in July 2015.

Susan Benecchi of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and Planetary Science Institute, will discuss the New Horizons Mission and Pluto in a 7 p.m. April 19 talk in the Nebraska Union Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The mission was launched by NASA in 2006 and is expected to make contact with the Kuiper Belt, where Pluto resides, in 2015. With instruments on the New Horizons spacecraft, Pluto’s surfaces will be studied. Scientists hope to gather multicolored images, as well as near-infrared spectral maps that will show water ice, methane ice and ammonia that are theorized to exist on Pluto.

Benecchi’s presentation will touch on the historic nature of this mission and data collected about the outermost region of the Earth’s solar system.

The lecture is hosted by UNL's Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education.

— Deann Gayman, University Communications