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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

MU69 appears as a bi-lobed baby comet in latest New Horizons images

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2019

The latest images downlinked from New Horizons show MU69 to be a textbook example of a contact binary. How do contact binaries form? Updated with images released on 3 January.

Happy New Year! The New Horizons flyby was successful!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 01, 2019

New Horizons has "phoned home" as expected, 4 hours after its closest approach to 2014 MU69. Its brief transmission contained no science data, but gave the scientists welcome news: New Horizons has successfully pulled off the most distant flyby ever.

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2018

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

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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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