Imagine traveling over 3 billion miles into space, being so far away that you could barely see earth. That is exactly what the New Horizons spacecraft is achieving in its mission to explore the edge of our solar system, specifically Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
Even though Pluto became famous for being declassified as a planet, not much is actually known about it except for its extremely cold surface temperatures. This is because Pluto is very far away from the sun.
Even our Hubble Space Telescope is unable to get a clear picture of this dwarf planet due to the planet’s vast distant.
Aside from artist animations, this is the only real photo we have of Pluto. Even though it’s blurry, the photo clearly shows there is large variation on the surface from observing the dramatically different colors.
It’s amazing we know so little about our solar system outside the main planetary bodies. That is why this mission, launched in 2006, is so important. It has taken us almost ten years, but if all goes well, on July 14th, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto and gather vital information about the planet.
And to think fifty years ago man hadn’t even set foot on the moon! Who would have thought we could leave our mark over 3 billion miles away from earth!
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