New Horizons mission to Pluto and Charon – what will it find?

new horizons spacecraft mission nasa pluto charon
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft and its mission to Pluto and Charon
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft mission to Pluto and Charon is about to wake up from its latest hibernation as it approaches the planet Pluto. Or is it the dwarf planet Pluto? Or a dwarf gas giant? Or a dwarf ice planet? Or large icy comet/asteroid planet?

By April New Horizons should be slowly sending us the best images and data of Pluto to date. In July the spacecraft will be at its closest to the planet Pluto, 6200 miles above its surface.

For 6 months the mission will study Pluto and is sure to find and discover many surprising things. One of the best things is that it will study the geology of the planets surface. What will it find?

NASA's New Horizons: Investigations

  • Map surface composition of Pluto and Charon
  • Characterize geology and morphology of Pluto and Charon
  • Characterize the neutral atmosphere of Pluto and its escape rate
  • Search for an atmosphere around Charon
  • Map surface temperatures on Pluto and Charon
  • Search for rings and additional satellites around Pluto
  • Conduct similar investigations of one or more Kuiper Belt Objects