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New Horizons Encounter with Pluto, July 2015

Here are some photos that I took during during the Pluto encounter at APL, from from mid-June 2015 through the end of July 2015.

Usually APL is a secure 'no photos' zone. But New Horizons is a historic mission, and it would have been a loss to not be able to document the human side of the encounter. Through special arrangement with the mission and APL, several members of the New Horizons team were given permission to take pictures in APL's Building 100, where the Science Team was based. Although I spent most of my time doing mission work, I usually took my camera with me, and was able to photograph the team freely throughout the encounter. The team was spread over a half dozen large rooms at APL, working in very close proximity for most of the encounter. Many of the engineers and managers are in Building 100, although some are on APL's main campus.

Some events, especially on the encounter day, were at the Kosiakoff Center, which allows cameras. And none of us were allowed in the Mission Operations room, across the street on APL's main campus. For those, you'll have to see the photos from NASA's official photographer Bill Ingalls, and NH mission photographer Michael Soluri.

Most of the photos here show other people doing things, and not me, so some people have asked what I was doing at the encounter. I did much of the planning for the ring search and satellite search observations. (We found none of either.) And a lot of my work at the encounter dealt with maintaining and upgrading GeoViz, the visualization tool used by the science team to plan and analyze observations. I did a entry on NASA's blog about GeoViz, and a separate blog entry entry about photographing the mission.

I took some 5000 shots during the encounter, and edited those down to 280 or so that you see here. Several dozen more (interspersed where they fit) are from the other photographers: John Spencer, Stuart Robbins, Dale Cruikshank, and Con Tsang. Most of the photos are in chronological order, though occasionally I've shuffled things around for the sake of continuity.

Thank you to Peter Bedini, Andy Calloway, and Mike Buckley at APL for arranging permission for us to take pictures, as well as Dwayne Brown at NASA HQ. Thanks to Alan Stern who supported this project from the start. Also thanks to John Spencer for making the initial arrangement with APL, and inviting me to be a part of it.

Photo credit for all of these is NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/<individual photographer>. These photos may be freely used for any purpose, but the photo credit must be maintained as per our agreement with the mission.