Mission Timeline

This view of Jupiter and one of its moons, Io, was captured by the New Horizons spacecraft during its Jupiter flyby. Note the volcanic eruption that is visible on Io’s night side.

The New Horizons mission timeline was carefully devised so as to minimize travel time to Pluto. The fastest way to get to Pluto was to determine a route that took the spacecraft past Jupiter. The spacecraft would then receive a gravitational assist from Jupiter that would serve to “slingshot” it out to Pluto and beyond.

The Changing Surface of Pluto

A series of photos from the Hubble space telescope showing changes over time on the surface of Pluto.

Pluto has a surface whose appearance changes over time. Large changes in both brightness and color indicate that Pluto has a varied surface. In addition, some of these surface changes are thought to be linked to seasonal condensation of portions of Pluto’s atmosphere.

To access the full features of Pluto Safari please download the FREE app for iOS from the Apple App Store or Pluto Safari: New Horizons for Android from Google Play.

Alternatively, if you have SkySafari or Pluto Safari installed you could download the simulation settings file here.