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Pluto on the Horizon


The New Horizons spacecraft is on its way to a close encounter with Pluto when it flies by the planet on July 14, 2015. The spacecraft is small and swaddled in layers of foil to protect its instruments and computers from the bitter cold. It is powered by an engine of radioactive plutonium and on its backside is a large radio disk used to communicate with Earth. Once it passes by Pluto, it will continue on further out into the Kuiper Belt. This video features an interview with Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, about the upcoming Pluto encounter, and what is next for his NASA spacecraft.

For more on this mission, you can read the Science feature, How Alan Stern’s tenacity, drive, and command got a NASA spacecraft to Pluto.

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AAAS