New Horizons This Month

This image is the first ever color image of Pluto and it's
moon Charon as seen by New Horizons
In January of 2006, the New Horizon's space probe left Earth for it's 3 billion mile journey. Pluto once a planet, now a dwarf planet, is one of the last large objects orbiting our Sun to be explored. From our long distance observations, Pluto appears to be a binary system with the Charon, it's largest moon. Pluto also appears to have a large nitrogenous atmosphere, with a surface of dense ice. There are possibilities of subsurface oceans in Pluto and Charon. The smaller moons of Pluto, Nix, Hydra, Styx, and Kerberos, have unknown characteristics.

New Horizon's will offer an unparalleled look at the intricicies of the Pluto system. The probe was launched with an optical camera, spectrometers, plasma detectors, and dust detectors. New Horizons will map out the geological features of the planet, giving a new look on the formation and past of Pluto and similar bodies.

Hubble's look at Pluto's system
New Horizon's look at Pluto's system

This is just the start of the New Horizon's scientific observations and records. Once New Horizon's enters the orbit of Pluto in June of 2015, the scientific community and NASA will have years of work to complete.