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WashU alum crucial to successful mission to Pluto

Early today, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft swept past Pluto, ending a 3-billion mile trip that began in 2006.

NASA/APL/SwRI

Two people key to the achievement are:

  • Brian Bauer (EN SI '05) an alumnus of Parkway Central and Washington University in charge of the probe's autopilot software. He works in the applied physics laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.
  • William McKinnon, a planetary science professor at Washington University, specializes in solar system geology and geophysics. He serves as the mission's deputy lead scientist.

"It's just a huge day around here and everyone is enjoying it. Nobody wants it to end," said Bauer, who explained that his job was that of "autonomy lead."

Read more on stltoday.com.