Chasing Pluto

Watch as the New Horizons spacecraft captures our first clear view of Pluto’s icy surface. Airing July 15, 2015 at 9 pm on PBS Aired July 15, 2015 on PBS

Program Description

On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft, one of the most advanced ever built, is scheduled to fly by Pluto to take the very first detailed images of the dwarf planet. After nine years and 3 billion miles, we will finally get a close look at this strange, icy world, but only if the craft can survive the final, treacherous leg of its journey, which could take it through a dangerous field of debris. If it does, New Horizons is poised to make dramatic new discoveries, not just about Pluto, but about the vast realm of icy bodies lurking beyond Neptune, relics of the earliest days of the solar system’s formation. Back on Earth, the planetary scientists who have spent decades working on this mission anxiously await a signal from their spacecraft. Our cameras will be there to witness the moment. If all goes well, we’ll see Pluto’s mysterious surface in unprecedented detail and learn new secrets about other alien worlds at the far limits of our solar system.

Broadcast Credits

WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Terri Randall
EDITED BY
Jedd Ehrmann
CAMERA
Joseph Friedman
Steve Baum
NARRATED BY
Craig Sechler
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS
Leslie Mullen
Peggah Navab
CONSULTING PRODUCER
David Grinspoon
SOUND RECORDIST
Paul Schmitz
MUSIC
Scorekeepers
ANIMATION
Dan Durda
Ed Bell
Dan Durda Brian Edgerton
Joe Tucciarone
Ron Miller
ONLINE EDITOR
Evan Anthony
AUDIO MIX
Sync Sound
RESEARCH
Leora Randall-Tavori
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Theresa Newton
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives, W. F. Meggers Collection
Dr. R. Albrecht, ESA/ESO Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility; NASA Kelly Beatty
Budget Films
ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L. Christensen)
ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser, Colleen Sharkey & Lars Lindberg Christensen)
ESO/A. Santerne
ESO/Hubble
ESO/L. Calçada
Free State Studios/KTKA TV
Indiana State Museum
International Astronomical Union
iStock
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Library
Mauna Kea timelapse sequences from the film 'Hawaiian Starlight' by Jean-Charles Cuillandre (Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope)
M.Buie/Southwest Research Institute/NASA/ESA
David Monniaux
NASA
NASA, ESA, and K. Sahu (STScI)
NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)
NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)
NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab
NASA/CXC/D.Berry
NASA/ESA
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
NASA/JPL
NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/G. Ugarkovic
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/QMUL
NASA, JPL; Digital processing: Björn Jónsson (IAAA)
NASA/JPL/MSSS; processings and mosaic: Olivier de Goursac, 2013
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Photograph by Dienst, Friebe Zurich, courtesy AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives, W.F. Meggers Collection
Pond 5
Gregory H. Revera
Space Telescope Science Institute and Mark Showalter, SETI Institute
R. Wesson/ESO
With thanks for the provision of archive material to the European Space Agency/ESA
SPECIAL THANKS
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Mike Buckley
Helen E. Worth
Mike Brown
Caltech/Palomar Observatory
Kyle Clifford
Aitor Conde
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Douglas Ellison
Carter Emmart
Erik Fauske
Justin Green
Gotham Girls Roller Derby
Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
Timothy King
Kris Koenig/Interstellar Studios/400 Years of the Telescope
Lowell Observatory
Lunar & Planetary Library Laboratory, The University of Arizona
Michal Marcinkowski
MARS Armor
Dave Mason
Paul Mcgehee
Doug Mehoke
NBC News
Miriam Rengel
"Starlapse: The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope" time-lapse montage by William K Montgomerie
Stephen Sliven
The Tombaugh Family
Zoe Zeszut
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Walter Werzowa
John Luker
Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
ADDITIONAL NOVA THEME MUSIC
Ray Loring
Rob Morsberger
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The Caption Center
POST PRODUCTION ONLINE EDITOR
Spencer Gentry
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Jennifer Welsh
PUBLICITY
Eileen Campion
Eddie Ward
ASSOCIATE RESEARCHER
Diane Toomey
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Linda Callahan
PARALEGAL
Sarah Erlandson
TALENT RELATIONS
Janice Flood
LEGAL COUNSEL
Susan Rosen
DIGITAL MANAGING PRODUCER
Kristine Allington
SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR
Tim De Chant
DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA
Lauren Aguirre
DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
Lisa Leombruni
RIGHTS MANAGER
Lauren Miller
UNIT MANAGER
Ariam McCrary
POST PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Brittany Flynn
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Kevin Young
POST PRODUCTION EDITOR
Michael H. Amundson
BROADCAST MANAGER
Nathan Gunner
BUSINESS MANAGER
Elizabeth Benjes
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
David Condon
PROJECT DIRECTOR
Pamela Rosenstein
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Laurie Cahalane
SENIOR SCIENCE EDITOR
Evan Hadingham
SENIOR PRODUCER
Chris Schmidt
SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER
Melanie Wallace
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Julia Cort
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Alan Ritsko
SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula S. Apsell

A NOVA production by Terri Randall Productions for WGBH Boston.

© 2015 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

This program was produced by WGBH, which is solely responsible for its content.

Original funding for this program was provided by Google, the David H. Koch Fund for Science, Millicent Bell through the Millicent and Eugene Bell Foundation, Roger and Vicki Sant and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

IMAGE:

Image credit: (Artist's rendering of New Horizons spacecraft and Pluto)
© Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Participants

Alice Bowman
NASA New Horizons Mission Operations Manager
Mike Brown
Astronomer, California Institute of Technology
Andrew Cheng
NASA New Horizons Planetary Scientist
Sigrid Close
Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University
Glen Fountain
NASA New Horizons Project Manager
Mark Holdridge
NASA New Horizons Encounter Mission Operations Manager
David Jewitt
Astronomer, UCLA
Jane Luu
Astronomer, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Cathy Olkin
NASA New Horizons Planetary Scientist
William Owen
Independent Optical Navigation, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Joel Parker
NASA New Horizons
Caleb Scharf
Astronomer, Columbia University Astrobiology Center
John Spencer
NASA New Horizons Planetary Scientist
Alan Stern
NASA New Horizons Principal Investigator
Mark Sykes
Planetary Scientist, Planetary Science Institute
Annette Tombaugh
Clyde Tombaugh’s Daughter
Hal Weaver
NASA New Horizons Planetary Scientist
Leslie Young
NASA New Horizons Planetary Scientist

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Full Program | 53:37

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