Artist Renderings



New Horizons Approaches Pluto

New Horizons Approaches Pluto

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments will characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it will communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away.

Jupiter Flyby

Jupiter Flyby

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Although the main mission of New Horizons is to explore the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt of icy, rocky objects, the spacecraft will first fly by the solar system's largest planet, Jupiter, early 2007 — just a little over a year after launch. In this artist's rendering, New Horizons soars past Jupiter as the volcanic moon Io passes between the spacecraft and planet.

New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto...

New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto...

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its three moons in summer 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and large moon Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it will communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away.

New Horizons at Pluto/Charon

New Horizons at Pluto/Charon

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft during its planned encounter with Pluto and its moon, Charon. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it would communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away.

New Horizons at Pluto

New Horizons at Pluto

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments will characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail.

New Horizons over Pluto

New Horizons over Pluto

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Steve Gribben/Alex Parker

Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon (foreground) in July 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments will characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail.

New Horizons: Kuiper Belt Object

New Horizons: Kuiper Belt Object

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Artist's impression of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Kuiper Belt object. The Sun, more than 4.1 billion miles (6.7 billion kilometers) away, shines as a bright star embedded in the glow of the zodiacal dust cloud. Jupiter and Neptune are visible as orange and blue "stars" to the right of the Sun. Although you would not actually see the myriad other objects that make up the Kuiper Belt because they are so far apart, they are shown here to give the impression of an extensive disk of icy worlds beyond Neptune.

Pluto Encounter Panoramic View

Pluto Encounter Panoramic View

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft during its planned encounter with Pluto and its moon, Charon. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it would communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away.

Kuiper Belt Object Encounter

Kuiper Belt Object Encounter

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Artist's impression of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Kuiper Belt Object, as part of a potential extended mission after the Pluto flyby. In 2014, using the Hubble Space Telescope, New Horizons science team members discovered three KBOs – all in the range of 20-55 kilometers across, and all with possible flyby dates in late 2018 or in 2019 — a billion miles beyond Pluto. Any extended mission would require NASA approval.