LPL Colloquium: Dr. Kelsi Singer

Discoveries in the Kuiper Belt and Beyond - Updates from New Horizons

Dr. Kelsi Singer
Senior Research Scientist
Deputy Project Scientist, New Horizons Mission
Southwest Research Institute - Boulder

Discoveries in the Kuiper Belt and Beyond - Updates from the New Horizons First Extended Mission and the Future Opportunities in the Second Extended Mission

In July of 2015 the New Horizons spacecraft flew through the Pluto system at ~33 AU. On January 1st of 2019 New Horizons encountered its second target at 43 AU, a snow-person shaped Kuiper belt object called Arrokoth (~35 km across). As a cold-classical Kuiper belt object, Arrokoth is the farthest and most primordial planetary body ever explored by a spacecraft. New Horizons has been measuring our solar system’s dust, plasma, and energetic particle environment, as well as observing smaller Kuiper belt objects, dwarf planets, and ice giants, from a distance. The data from the Pluto system continues to yield interesting results as well.

In our second extended mission (starting FY22), we will perform observations across three divisions: planetary, heliophysics, and astrophysics. We have updated our flight software and performed proof of concept observations for novel uses of the instruments.

The talk will highlight some of the findings from New Horizons first extended mission and plans for a combined planetary, astrophysics, and heliophysics second extended mission. I will also give updates on some Pluto topics that are my latest areas of work, including some new insights into a vast cryovolcanically resurfaced area of a type and scale so far unique to Pluto, and on the recently completed draft of the global Pluto geologic map.

Host: Dr. Erik Asphaug


Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 3:45pm