Planets and Moons  ID: 11240

To Pluto And Beyond

There is a pioneer hurtling through space. Its name is New Horizons, and in the summer of 2015, it will become the first spacecraft to visit Pluto. The dwarf planet lies at the edge of the solar system in a region known as the Kuiper Belt, a thick and icy expanse of space that is chock-full of objects yet to be explored or even discovered. Pluto and its moons Charon, Nix, and Hydra are particularly intriguing to astronomers, who have never had the chance to examine a dwarf planet up close. New Horizons left Earth in 2006, packed with two of each electronic system to protect against any mishaps on the long voyage ahead. It has traveled about one million miles every day since. Watch the video to learn more.

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Story Credits

Tony Phillips (Wyle Information Systems)

Lead Writer:
Aviva H. Rutkin (USRA)

Please give credit for this item to:
Science@NASA and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Cover image courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Pluto illustration courtesy of NASA, ESA, STScI/G. Bacon
Hubble image courtesy of NASA, ESA, JHU/APL/H. Weaver, SwRI/A. Stern, HST Pluto Companion Search Team
Launch and clean room image courtesy of NASA

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