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New Horizons
Artist's rendering of New Horizons
Artist's rendering of the New Horizons during its Pluto flyby.

New Horizons

  • Launched on January 19, 2006
  • Performed gravity assist flyby of Jupiter in 2007
  • Spacecraft en route to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, passing Pluto in 2015

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Goals: NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is designed to make the first close-up study of Pluto and its moons and other icy worlds in the distant Kuiper Belt. The spacecraft has seven scientific instruments to study the atmospheres, surfaces, interiors and intriguing environments of Pluto and its distant neighbors.

Accomplishments: The spacecraft is still en route to its primary science target, but it completed a thrilling study of the Jupiter system during its gravity assist flyby of the giant planet in 2007. The spacecraft took pictures of the planet and its moons, and detected clumps in Jupiter's rings and lightning near its poles. As it departed Jupiter, New Horizons observed a unique space environment, traveling a long distance down the tadpole-shaped tail of Jupiter's magnetic field.

More about New Horizons >

Images from New Horizons >
Hubble image of Pluto and moons
Image from the Hubble Space Telescope showing Pluto and its four known moons.


New Horizons spacecraft prepares for launch
The New Horizons spacecraft during launch preparations at Cape Canaveral.
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Last Updated: 26 Sep 2012