ROBINSON MEYER, THE ATLANTIC:
"On Tuesday morning, NASA’s New Horizons probe zipped by Pluto and its dwarf moon, Charon. After a nine-year journey from Earth, New Horizons took hundreds of images in mere hours on Tuesday—images that will fill textbooks and museum exhibits for decades, as well as help scientists figure out how our solar system came to support life.
"There are three cameras aboard New Horizons.
"I talked to Lisa Hardaway, an engineer at Ball Aerospace in Colorado who led technical development of the one called 'Ralph.' Ralph captures visible and some infrared light. When you see Pluto looking tan- and sepia-toned in the new, high-resolution photos, you’re looking at data captured by Ralph.
"Since it captures visible light, Ralph is in many ways comparable to the camera found in a phone or fancy DSLR. In conventional camera terms, it’s a 75mm lens at f/8.7. But it was far harder to built than a normal camera. Hardaway says that the team was working under a number of big constraints."
Ralph was completed in 22 months. It took almost 113 months for Ralph to reach Pluto. Ralph only has 48 hours to take pictures of Pluto. These are fascinating numbers.
Learn more about how Ralph, the camera, was created, what it's made of, how it works, and what are the specifications that allows it to shoot in strange low light and extremely cold conditions in space.
Read all about it, here.