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New Horizons at the Pluto System

New Horizons at Pluto

NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI

New Horizons at Pluto
Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

For the first time in history, Pluto will be seen up close as NASA's New Horizons mission makes a historic flyby of the dwarf planet. It has taken ten years for the New Horizons spacecraft to reach Pluto, and several years of advocacy beforehand to make the mission a reality. The Planetary Society's support for a mission to Pluto began 25 years ago and today stands as a shining example of the possibilities when the world's citizens are empowered to advocate for space exploration.

Planetary Radio LIVE

Join us as The Planetary Society’s Mat Kaplan talks with New Horizons scientists and Pluto-watchers as we monitor the Applied Physics Lab’s live webcast, broadcast from Maryland. Visit the event page for details including a list of our special guests! Watch the webast here if you can't join us in person.

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Flyby Schedule

Simulation of the New Horizons Pluto flyby LORRI data set

What to expect when you're expecting a flyby: Planning your July around New Horizons' Pluto Pictures (version 2)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

Three months ago, I posted an article explaining what to expect during the flyby. This is a revised version of the same post, with some errors corrected, the expected sizes of Nix and Hydra updated, and times of press briefings added.

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Latest Articles

The round worlds in the solar system: An updated graphic

Emily Lakdawalla • November 02, 2015

I have a newly updated scale comparison graphic to share: all the round worlds in the solar system smaller than 10,000 kilometers in diameter, now with added Pluto, Charon, and Ceres.

Charon in 3D

Emily Lakdawalla • October 13, 2015

Last week, the pile of New Horizons LORRI camera raw image releases included nine frames from a high-resolution mosaic on Charon. Together with the color MVIC view, they make a 3D global photo of Pluto's moon. Other recently released goodies include a global backlit color image of Pluto and the first image that resolves the tiny moon Styx.

New Horizons releases new color pictures of Charon, high-resolution lookback photo of Pluto

Emily Lakdawalla • October 02, 2015

Now that New Horizons is regularly sending back data, the mission is settling into a routine of releasing a set of captioned images on Thursdays, followed by raw LORRI images on Friday. The Thursday releases give us the opportunity to see lovely color data from the spacecraft's Ralph MVIC instrument. This week, the newly available color data set covered Charon.

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Mission History & Advocacy

Pluto 350

Pushing Back the Frontier: How The Planetary Society Helped Send a Spacecraft to Pluto

Posted by Jason Davis

It took 16 years and five spacecraft designs to get a mission to Pluto. The Planetary Society was there through it all, always striving to help NASA push back our solar system's frontier.

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Pluto 350

New Horizons is a Triumph for Space Advocates

Posted by Casey Dreier

New Horizons—what will be NASA’s greatest success of 2015—was cancelled multiple times in its early life, and many times before that in its previous incarnations. A mission to Pluto was not inevitable, despite the overwhelming scientific and public excitement.

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