New Horizons Trajectory Animation

This animation illustrates the trajectory (path through the Solar System) of the New Horizons space mission to Pluto and beyond.

Note: If you cannot see the movie you may need to download the latest QuickTime player.

Movie courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

The animation begins with the launch of New Horizons from Earth on January 19, 2006. New Horizons zoomed away from our planet at the highest speed of any spacecraft leaving Earth so far... it was traveling at 16.21 km/s (36,300 mph) when its engine shut down!

New Horizons crossed the orbit of Mars on April 7, 2006. The spacecraft safely passed through the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter during a five month period lasting from May through October 2006.

Next, the animation shows the spacecraft during its Jupiter flyby in February 2007. A gravity assist from the gas giant planet increases New Horizon's speed, cutting years off its journey to Pluto.

The spacecraft is expected to fly past Pluto and its largest moon Charon in July 2015. After that, scientists hope to steer New Horizons on to a close encounter with one or more Kuiper Belt Objects.

More New Horizons mission movies:

Animation icon Animation of the New Horizons mission (6.4 MB)

Animation icon Video of the launch of the New Horizons mission (5.5 MB)

Last modified January 23, 2007 by Randy Russell.

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