The Voyage of New Horizons: Jupiter, Pluto, and Beyond

After traveling nearly 3 billion miles over the past nine and a half years, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is within hours of its rendezvous with Pluto. Back in 2006, when the space probe was launched, Pluto was classified as the ninth planet in the solar system, and was known to have three moons. During the long journey to this distant icy world, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet, one of many smaller bodies orbiting the sun, and another two moons were discovered. In 2007, New Horizons flew past Jupiter and its moons on the way to Pluto, capturing many spectacular images. On the morning of July 14, 2015 (Earth time, Western Hemisphere), New Horizons will speed past the Pluto system at about 9 miles (~14 kilometers) per second, making as many observations as possible. In the hours and days following, it will be sending the data to Earth, on its way to the Kuiper belt, with plans to target another smaller body sometime around 2018. (More Pluto images will be added here as they become available.)