In January 2006, New Horizons was launched for its long journey to explore Pluto and its five known moons. This will be NASA’s first opportunity to explore the distant planet of which little is known since its 1930 discovery.
Pluto is the most famous resident of the Kuiper Belt, an area of space beyond Neptune that is filled with innumerable objects that are believed to be remnants of the formation of the solar system. A Dutch astronomer, Jan Oort, theorized that comets might originate from this distant region. Gerard Kuiper first envisioned the existence of icy objects beyond Neptune in 1951.
The Kuiper Belt is about 3 billion miles from Earth and is similar to the asteroids that orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter. The asteroid belt is filled with rocky objects whereas the Kuiper Belt’s objects are icy. Several dwarf planets, of which Pluto is one, exist in…
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