Ice Investigators: The Science
|The Science||The Mission||The Team|
The ultimate goal of Ice Investigators is to discover Kuiper Belt Objects with just the right orbit and just the right characteristics to make them eligible for a visit from the New Horizons mission. At this time, the space probe has enough fuel in reserve to allow up to two different objects to be visited.
Trying to find one or two objects that the mission can visit is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack that also contains a bunch of pins. Astronomers working with the mission team are taking thousands of images, each of which contains tens of thousands of stars, along with many asteroids and Kuiper Belt objects on orbits that cannot be reached by the spacecraft. All these objects must be sifted through to find the desired KBOs. While all these other objects are making it hard to find the final destination of New Horizons, they do represent potential bonus science for you and for the planetary science community.
Beyond simply identifying the targets that the New Horizons mission may visit, we will also be using your data - your identification objects in the images - to generate catalogues of previously undiscovered Kuiper Belt Objects, asteroids, and variable stars.