New Horizons spacecraft in Kuiper Belt

New Horizons spacecraft in Kuiper Belt

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Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: New Horizons spacecraft in Kuiper Belt, artwork. New Horizons launched from Earth on 19 January 2006 and will take 9 years to reach the Kuiper Belt, arriving mid-2015. It will first study Pluto, one of the largest of the Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), and then other KBOs over the next few years. The Kuiper Belt consists of numerous small rocky, icy objects at the outer edge of the solar system, over 6 billion kilometres from the Sun (upper left). It has never before been visited by a spacecraft from Earth. The spacecraft will use cameras and scientific equipment to gather data, sending it back to Earth with a large (2.1- metre) dish antenna (yellow). Jupiter (orange) and Neptune (blue) are dots at upper right. The Sun's zodaical dust plane is also seen.

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