Why NASA’s New Horizons Mission To Pluto Is A Big Deal

December 8, 2014 7:55 PM

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Why NASA’s New Horizons Mission To Pluto Is A Big Deal

On January 19, 2006, NASA launched a robot spacecraft to visit Pluto, Charon and the Kuiper belt. The mission is called New Horizons. After 9 years and 3 billion miles, the spacecraft has “come out of its hibernation” as it gets closer to reaching its primary target – Pluto. New Horizons is scheduled to arrive at Pluto in the summer of 2015, and then “go on to study other objects in the Kuiper Belt from 2018 to 2022.”

Why is this a big deal? The New Horizons spacecraft has traveled farther than any space mission has ever gone to reach its primary target. It has “crossed a vast ocean of space to the very frontier of our solar system,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Ins...

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