Nature | News

Pluto fly-by: a graphical guide to the historic mission

New Horizons mission is set to speed past an ice world at the fringes of the Solar System.

Article tools

This article is part of the Nature special: Pluto and Ceres.

On 14 July, after a journey of nine and a half years and some 5 billion kilometres, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will visit the frigid frontier of the Solar System: Pluto. It will be a fast and furious meeting — the spacecraft will whiz past at nearly 50,000 kilometres per hour, collecting photographs and scientific data on Pluto’s surface, atmosphere and environment during the 24-hour event. No mission has ever visited Pluto or any of the other ice worlds that make up the Kuiper belt, the swarm of small and frosty bodies that orbit mostly beyond Neptune. With its huge moon Charon, Pluto also constitutes the Solar System’s only known binary system.

NASA/JHU APL/SWRI; J. Krzysztofiak/Nature

NASA/JHU APL/SWRI; J. Krzysztofiak/Nature

NASA/JHU APL/SWRI; J. Krzysztofiak/Nature

J. Krzysztofiak/Nature; Moon data: NASA/ESA/M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
523,
Pages:
140–141
Date published:
()
DOI:
doi:10.1038/523140a
  • Design by Jasiek Krzysztofiak

For the best commenting experience, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will see comments updating in real-time and have the ability to recommend comments to other users.

Comments

Commenting is currently unavailable.

sign up to Nature briefing

What matters in science — and why — free in your inbox every weekday.

Sign up

Listen

new-pod-red

Nature Podcast

Our award-winning show features highlights from the week's edition of Nature, interviews with the people behind the science, and in-depth commentary and analysis from journalists around the world.