Here's what New Horizons may look like when it flies past Pluto in 2015. Can you spot Pluto's large moon, Charon, in the background? Can you see the Sun, which is very far away?
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.
New Horizons Mission to Pluto
A spacecraft is going to Pluto! The name of
the spacecraft is New Horizons. New Horizons will be the first spacecraft
go to Pluto!
Pluto is very, very far away. It will take New Horizons nine years to get to
Pluto! New Horizons blasted off in January 2006. But it won't get to Pluto until
The spacecraft will do a "gravity slingshot" move when it passes
Jupiter. That will make the spacecraft go
really fast. It will go 47,000 miles per hour (about 21 kilometers per second)
for a while.
When New Horizons gets to Pluto it will study the frozen world. It will also
study Pluto's big moon Charon. It
will take pictures. It will send back readings from its instruments. Those will
tell us about Pluto's atmosphere and magnetic field.
New Horizons won't stop after it passes Pluto. It will also study at least
one Kuiper Belt Object (KBO). KBOs are
giant iceballs that are sort of mini-planets.
Most KBOs are even farther away than Pluto!
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