Pluto Photos Taken by the New Horizons Spacecraft During the First Mission to the Kuiper Belt

Using photos taken from the New Horizons spacecraft, NASA has created a virtual “flyby” of Pluto’s surface.

NASA on Tuesday morning released one of the first images of Pluto as its New Horizons spacecraft makes its closest approach to our far-flung celestial cousin.

New Horizons is the first mission to the Kuiper Belt, a gigantic zone of icy bodies and mysterious small objects orbiting beyond Neptune. This region also is known as the “third” zone of our solar system, beyond the inner rocky planets and outer gas giants. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Year of Pluto – NASA New Horizons is a one hour documentary which takes on the hard science and gives us answers to how the mission came about and why it matters. Interviews with Dr. James Green, John Spencer, Fran Bagenal, Mark Showalter and others share how New Horizons will answer many questions. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.


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