New Horizons Reaches Pluto
This summer, the spacecraft will finally reach its destination
Dr. Leslie Young is an astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute and Deputy Project Scientist on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and she and her colleagues have spent the time since the spacecraft's launch carefully planning for this encounter. While the flyby will be brief, instruments on the spacecraft will collect a range of data, from pictures to chemical analysis of escaping gases, and it will take more than a year to transmit all that data back to scientists on the Earth.
After Pluto, the spacecraft will continue on to other objects in the Kuiper belt to try to gather more data on the most distant part of our solar system.