January 17, 2014 – No longer classified as a planet, the dwarf planet Pluto and its accompanying 5 moons represents the last of the original nine bodies orbiting our Sun that constitute our traditional view of the Solar System. Currently, the New Horizons spacecraft is speeding 1.6 million kilometers per day (1 million miles) in pursuit of its destination. Launched some eight years ago present speed is close to 67,000 kilometers (41,700 miles) per hour.
By next January the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager or LORRI aboard the spacecraft will begin pinpointing Pluto’s position so that the trajectory can be adjusted to effect the best approach. Picture taking should begin in earnest starting in April with our closest approach to the planet in July 2015. Planetary scientists speculate that we may discover a ring system around Pluto as well as additional moons.
For the latest update on New Horizons and the Pluto mission check out the NASA YouTube video.