New Horizons Launched to Pluto and Beyond

New Horizons was successfully launched today from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA after previous delays due to high winds and power outages. A slight delay today because of high clouds preceded a picture perfect launch.

At the moment New Horizons is rocketing away from the Earth and will pass the orbit of the moon in just 9 hours, the fastest yet for a space craft. The speed is necessary to get the spacecraft to Pluto in a reasonable amount of time, just under 10 years. In three months, New Horizons will pass the orbit of Mars, and then in a year it will fly by Jupiter and pick up the extra speed it needs to explore the Kuiper Belt region of our solar system. New Horizons will fly by Pluto and its moons in an event that will last just 24 hours in July 2015, snapping images and gathering other data that could revolutionize our understanding of the solar system and planet formation. After Pluto, New Horizons will be targeted toward other Kuiper Belt objects for exploration.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).