Well, almost. The Ohio State University’s ElectroScience Laboratory – or ESL – played a major role in designing and building the most physically prominent feature of NASA’s New Horizons space probe – the high gain antenna dish.
This probe was designed to study Pluto in detail, the first to do so in our human history.
Launched on Jan. 19, 2006, the New Horizons probe had essentially been in hibernation mode for the past several years. Which basically means it is traveling about one million miles a day or 31,000 miles per hour. The probe has just passed by Pluto, on July 14th, 2015 and will now continue its journey of the outer solar system.
The high gain antennas provide very precise targeting of radio signals – the one that the Ohio State University ESL helped develop – is one of seven instruments gathering information and transmitting the data back to earth. In fact, without the ESL high gain antenna the mission would not have been possible as NASA wouldn’t have been able to communicate with the probe.
More information about the mission and the probe is available at NASA’s website.