Planets and Moons  ID: 11913

Welcome To Pluto!

After traveling for nine and a half years and three billion miles, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made a historic flyby of Pluto and its moons on July 14, 2015. The spacecraft, which launched in January 2006, is the first to visit Pluto and explore the frigid world up close. At its closest approach, the spacecraft was 7,750 miles from Pluto's surface. In the weeks leading up to the encounter, the spacecraft collected data and images of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. The images revealed areas of light and dark patches on Pluto's surface, which scientists believe are due to differences in its geology. Observations by New Horizons have already led to new findings about Pluto's size and its atmosphere. The spacecraft will travel beyond Pluto and explore other objects in the Kuiper Belt—a distant region of space made up of icy bodies that circle the sun. Explore the video and images to see views of Pluto taken by New Horizons.

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Story Credits

Lead Writer:
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Video and images courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

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