A few months before New Horizons was due to reach Pluto, a community of scientists came together to determine just what kind of a environment the mission would experience during its historic flyby. While the simulations aren't 100% conclusive, this first ever attempt to characterize space weather conditions so far from our own home opens the door to better protecting our spacecraft – and eventually humans -- as we continue to explore the solar system and beyond.
To attempt to map what surges of particles are passing by Pluto, the Community Coordinated Modeling Center, or CCMC, at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, sought input from space weather scientists around the nation. The CCMC houses numerous software models to help scientists with their research and also to enable improved space weather forecasting.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 188.8.131.52.0