NASA to send spececraft to Pluto

Jan 16, 2006

NASA is all set to launch its $700-million New Horizons spacecraft from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a nearly nine-year journey to Pluto.

The New Horizons will be the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's first mission to an unexplored planet since 1977 when it is launched on Tuesday -- and will complete NASA's grand tour of all the planets in the solar system.

"This is the capstone of the missions to the planets that NASA has led since the 1960s," said Alan Stern, an astrophysicist with the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, who is the principal investigator for the New Horizons mission.

For planetary scientists, understanding distant Pluto with its unique composition of rock and ice is key to answering questions about how planets formed, and why they formed where they did.

"Pluto is a treasure trove of scientific information waiting to be discovered," said Andrew Dantzler, director of NASA's Solar System Division.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: UNH instruments to lift off on NASA four-satellite mission March 12

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A recipe for returning Pluto to full planethood

Feb 20, 2015

A storm is brewing, a battle of words and a war of the worlds. The Earth is not at risk. It is mostly a civil dispute, but it has the potential to influence the path of careers. In 2014, a Harvard led debate ...

Dance of the planets in the evening sky

Feb 19, 2015

Armagh Observatory reports that the next two weeks provide a rare opportunity to observe the planets Venus, Mars and Uranus in the western evening sky after sunset, and the bright planet Jupiter rising high ...

Recommended for you

THEMIS camera helps NASA pick site for next Mars lander

19 minutes ago

NASA's next Mars space probe, a lander named InSight, is due to touch down on the Red Planet in September 2016 with a mission focused on the planet's internal properties. Its landing place has been chosen ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.