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The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center hosts a New Horizons Pluto Fly-By Party on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.

Watch the live feed of the event, ask questions and get commentary from local astronomy experts as NASA's New Horizons spacecraft makes a historic arrival at Pluto.

July 09, 2015

San Diego, CAOn Tuesday, July 14, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Pluto after a nine-and-a-half year journey. Launched on January 19, 2006, New Horizons will give us our first close-up views of the dwarf planet and its moons.


Join the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center to celebrate the occasion at the Fleet's Pluto Fly-By Party, on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.


The event will be hosted by NASA Solar System Ambassador Jerry Hilburn and the Fleet's own resident astronomer, Dr. Lisa Will. We'll have a live feed of the events at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab on the screen in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater, with commentary from Mr. Hilburn and Dr. Will. Attendees can join the excitement of the fly-by with a room full of fellow outer space enthusiasts, get a recap of everything that has been learned about our solar system's distant dwarf planet and watch the live feed to get the scoop on new insights about Pluto as they happen. With any luck, our group of space aficionados may also get an exclusive interview with one of the researchers on the mission.


Dr. Will and Mr. Hilburn will be available to answer questions and will use the full capacity of the Dome's planetarium to show what an amazing adventure it has been for the New Horizons spacecraft.


New Horizons is the fastest space mission ever launched and will travel the farthest to reach its primary science target. New Horizons also represents NASA's first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.


New Horizons seeks to understand where Pluto and its moons "fit in" with the other objects in the solar system, such as the inner rocky planets (Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury) and the outer gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, belong to a third category known as "ice dwarfs." They have solid surfaces but, unlike the terrestrial planets, a significant portion of their mass is icy material. A close-up look at these worlds from a spacecraft promises to tell an incredible story about the origins and outskirts of our solar system.


Pluto Fly-By Party Admission for Fleet Members is $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors and $10.95 for children 12 and under. Admission for nonmembers is $16.95 for adults, $15.95 for seniors and $14.95 for children 12 and under.


Seating is limited. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Fleet website at rhfleet.org


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Additional Links


The Pluto Fly-By Party on the Fleet website: 




More about NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/


More about the New Horizons mission:




NASA's "Pluto in a Minute" video series:




Media Tool Kit (with NASA's televised event plan):




Schedule of NASA Television Coverage and Fly-By Media Events Plan:




Fly-By Preview Simulation: http://eyes.nasa.gov/pluto


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Media Passes and Interviews


The Fleet is pleased to have resident astronomer Dr. Lisa Will and NASA Solar System Ambassador Dr. Jerry Hilburn available for interview in conjunction with the Pluto Fly-By event.


To request media passes or schedule an interview with one of the experts related to the event (listed below), please contact Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org.


Dr. Lisa Will, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics, San Diego City College
Resident Astronomer, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Lisa Will earned her B.S. in Astrophysics from UCLA and her Ph.D. in Physics from Arizona State University. She is an Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics at San Diego City College. She is also the resident astronomer at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, hosting their popular month planetarium show, The Sky Tonight. Her research includes investigation of the nature of dust grains in space and innovations in astronomy education. She is obsessed with Sherlock and Doctor Who and has been a proud geek girl since watching "Star Trek" and Star Wars as a child.


Jerry Hilburn
San Diego Astronomy Association Committee Chairperson
NASA Solar System Ambassador
Jerry Hilburn is an active member in the San Diego Astronomy Association and a public speaker working with the NASA/JPL SSA program for more than 10 years. Jerry maintains an active research observatory located east of San Diego where he participates in tracking asteroids, exoplanet confirmation and light curve photometry. He also works as the observatory director for the Boyce-Astro robotic observatory located at the Tierra Del Sol dark sky compound.

As a volunteer speaker for NASA/JPL, Jerry feels that the most important message we can send to children is that there is great opportunity in the future of space exploration and that they must prepare now for that future by learning, questioning and exploring the space sciences. In addition to his public speaking role with NASA/JPL, he also works to provide free star party events for nonprofit organizations and schools in Southern California.


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About the Fleet Science Center:

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet--and beyond--in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet offers science workshops both at the Fleet and at schools throughout San Diego County. For adults, we offer events like Suds & Science and Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar™ at locations all over San Diego. We support communities by leveraging science resources to meet local needs. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in our Craveology cafe. Located in Balboa Park, at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego's science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, visit our website at fleetscience.org.
About Balboa Park:
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urbancultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit balboapark.org.