Shop Windows to the Universe

We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.
These two images are artists impressions of New Horizons at Jupiter. One image shows the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Earth to the left of the spacecraft, Jupiter to the right, and Jupiter's icy moon Europa above New Horizons. The other shows the spacecraft at closest approach to Jupiter, with the volcanic moon Io hovering over the giant planet.
Click on image for full size
Images courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

New Horizons Jupiter Flyby in February 2007

The New Horizons spacecraft flew past Jupiter on February 28, 2007. New Horizons, which was launched in January 2006, was just over a year into its 9-year trek to Pluto. The spacecraft got a gravity assist from Jupiter as it hurtled past the the giant planet while traveling at a speed of 21 km/sec (47,000 mph). The slingshot boost from the massive planet added 4 km/sec (9,000 mph) to New Horizon's speed, shaving years off its trip to distant Pluto.

The Jupiter encounter provided the New Horizons mission team with a great opportunity to hone their skills at controlling the spacecraft during a planetary flyby. Encounters such as this are complex; the spacecraft had to turn on and off its many instruments at just the right times, orient itself correctly as it zipped past the planet, and properly relay the data it gathered back to Earth. The mission scientists and engineers got a chance to practice their "planetary flyby choreography" at Jupiter as a warm up for the critical Pluto encounter eight years later. They also gathered some great new data about Jupiter, for New Horizons carries a suite of state-of-the-art instruments and high resolution cameras. At closest approach, the spacecraft passed within about 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) of Jupiter.

Last modified February 3, 2010 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more


Pluto is a frigid ball of ice and rock that orbits far from the Sun on the frozen fringes of our Solar System. Considered a planet, though a rather odd one, from its discovery in 1930 until 2006, it was...more

New Horizons Jupiter Flyby in February 2007

The New Horizons spacecraft flew past Jupiter on February 28, 2007. New Horizons, which was launched in January 2006, was just over a year into its 9-year trek to Pluto. The spacecraft got a gravity assist...more

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST is credited...more

Apollo 11

Driven by a recent surge in space research, the Apollo program hoped to add to the accomplishments of the Lunar Orbiter and Surveyor missions of the late 1960's. Apollo 11 was the first mission to succeed...more

Apollo 12

Apollo 12 survived a lightning strike during its launch on Nov. 14, 1969, and arrived at the Moon three days later. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean descended to the surface, while Richard Gordon...more

Apollo 15

Apollo 15 marked the start of a new series of missions from the Apollo space program, each capable of exploring more lunar terrain than ever before. Launched on July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 reached the Moon...more

Deep Impact Mission

NASA chose Deep Impact to be part of a special series called the Discovery Program on July 7, 1999. In May 2001, Deep Impact was given the "go" from NASA to start with mission development. Deep Impact...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA