Humanity Says Hi To Pluto For The First Time
The New Horizons mission launched on January 19, 2006. It sent its piano-sized probe hurtling toward Jupiter, where the gas giant's gravity slingshotted the spacecraft at 82,000 kph (51,000 mph) in the direction of Pluto. After more than 3 billion miles, New Horizons reached its closest distance to Pluto on July 14, 2015. The journey had lasted 9 years, 5 months, and 25 days, and would reward Earth with the most detailed images of Pluto to date.
Key Facts In This Video
The New Horizons probe is the size of a grand piano. (0:08)
Radio waves from New Horizons take about 4.5 hours to reach Earth, where scientists download the data at 1 kilobit per second. (1:54)
In 2019, New Horizons will fly past an icy Kuiper belt object and collect more data. (2:52)