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New Horizons
New Horizons Mission to Jupiter New Horizons Mission to Dwarf Planets New Horizons Mission to Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud

Goals: New Horizons used Jupiter for a gravity assist to speed its journey to the outer solar system. The flyby also provided scientists a chance to check out the spacecraft's instruments.

Accomplishments: The powerful slingshot-like gravity assist trimmed three years off the spacecraft's journey to Pluto and beyond. During the Jupiter flyby, New Horizons observed lightning near the gas giant's poles, the creation of fresh ammonia clouds, and boulder-size clumps speeding through Jupiter's faint rings. The spacecraft also collected data on volcanic eruptions on Jupiter's moon Io, and the path of charged particles moving back and forth across the -- previously unexplored -- length of Jupiter's long magnetic tail. New Horizons also collected information that supports the theory that Jupiter's moon Europa has an ocean of liquid water underneath its icy crust.

   

Key Dates
19 Jan 2006:  Launch
28 Feb 2007:  Jupiter Flyby
Jul 2015:  Pluto Closest Approach
2026:  End of Dwarf Planets Mission
Status: In Flight
Fast Facts
New Horizons Facts New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

After traveling some 5 billion kilometers (3 billion miles), New Horizons must thread a celestial needle and fly through a circle only 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) in diameter to accomplish its science objectives.

New Horizons carries the first instrument to be designed, built and flown by students on an interplanetary spacecraft -- Venetia, a dust counter named for the girl who named Pluto (above).
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Marina Brozovic Marina Brozovic
"My first personal connection with outer space was the first time I became acutely aware of the night sky -- I was no older than six at the time." Read More...
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Last Updated: 18 Apr 2012