Pluto and beyond: Voyaging into interstellar space

Athens Science Observer

Pluto! Enigmatic, icy, and (at one time) one of the nine planets to grace the solar system we call home. Now labeled a “dwarf planet” after contentious debate in 2006, Pluto sadly wasn’t even able to complete one orbit around the sun between its discovery and demotion.

Unfortunately for Pluto, size matters in the planet classification system. Nevertheless, the NASA New Horizons spacecraft is set to conduct the first reconnaissance of Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, a distant collection of antiquated remnants from the formation of our solar system.

Images of Pluto taken by New Horizons on May 29 (54 million miles away), July 1 (9 million miles away), and July 7 (5 million miles away). Images of Pluto taken by New Horizons on May 29 (54 million miles away), July 1 (9 million miles away), and July 7 (5 million miles away).

Set to arrive at Pluto on July 14th, 2015, New Horizons was launched in 2006 for its 9-year journey to Pluto, using a gravity boost from Jupiter in 2007 to expedite…

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