Cambridge Science Centre


New Horizons makes it to Pluto nine years after leaving Earth

Written on 20 Jul 2015 in Blog

Nasa’s spacecraft, New Horizons, has made history as the first spacecraft to reach distant dwarf planet, Pluto, which is considered to be the last unexplored world in our solar system.

Cheers and whoops broke out at Nasa’s New Horizons control centre as scientists celebrated the spacecraft’s dramatic flyby of the planet. Shooting past at more than 28,000 mph, the probe is on a trajectory that has brought the fastest spacecraft ever to leave Earth’s orbit within 7,770 miles of Pluto’s surface.

Armed with an abundance of cameras and other instruments, New Horizons, was programmed to gather a wealth of images and data as it flew past Pluto and its five small moons, Charon, Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos.

The probe’s measurements reveal Pluto is roughly two-thirds the size of our moon and probably holds more ice beneath its surface than previously thought.

For all you budding astronomers, we have a brand new exhibition opening called COSMIC which explores our solar system, the stars and the extraordinary machines we travel in and send out to discover new frontiers. Putting you firmly in control, the interactive exhibition has a number of fun events running throughout the summer for you to attend. Visit the exhibitions section of our website to find out more.