- Launch DateJanuary 19, 2006
- Arrival DateJuly 14, 2015
- Mission TypeFlyby
- TargetOuter Solar System
The New Horizons mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the Pluto system and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation.
Relevance to Astrobiology
New Horizons is providing exciting insight in the geology, composition and atmosphere of Pluto. In addition, the mission has gathered data on Pluto’s moons and will continue to explore objects at the distant reaches of our solar system. Studying primitive icy worlds at the edge of the Solar System addresses major goals of the Astrobiology Program concerning the chemical endowment of all the planets including Earth.
New Horizons also returned three years worth of data on the solar wind and the space environment of the outer Solar System. This data will help scientists test and improve models of the space environment throughout the Solar System.