Mission To Pluto

The New Horizons space probe started its journey to Pluto in early 2006 and will arrive about 12 years later. It will fly by Pluto and Charon, where it will map as much of the pair as possible and investigate Pluto's atmosphere. It will then move on to survey a couple of Kuiper belt objects, which will be chosen once the mission is underway.

NEW HORiZONS

„ Pluto's orbit is tilted by 17° to Earth's orbital plane, more than that of any planets

pluto's eccentric orbit

Pluto takes longer than any of the planets to orbit the Sun, completing one orbit every 247.9 years. Its orbital path stands out from the planets in other ways, too. It is more eccentric (least circular) than all the planetary orbits and also the more inclined. For about 20 years of each orbit, Pluto's path takes it within the orbit of the furthest planet, Neptune. This last occurred during 1979—1999.

PLUTO'S ORBIT

Pluto's orbit takes it to within 2.77 billion miles (4.45 billion km) of the Sun, and as far away as 4.59 billion miles (7.38 billion km). As it travels, it spins from east to west, the opposite of Earth.

orbit of Neptune orbit of Uranus.

Pluto sometimes y comes inside Neptune's orbit orbit of Uranus.

pluto data

DiAMETER 1,485 miles (2,390 km)

average DisTANce from sun 3.7 billion miles (5.9 billion km)

oRBiTAL pERioD 247.9 Earth years

RoTATioN pERioD 6.39 Earth days sURfAcE TEMperature

number of MooNs 1 confirmed sizE coMpARisoN

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