On Jan. 19, 2006, NASA launched a spacecraft to Pluto!
New Horizons is a spacecraft about the size of a grand piano, and it became the first spacecraft to fly by Pluto. It launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on an Atlas V rocket and was the fastest spacecraft ever launched.
The trip to Pluto took nine years, and it was worth the wait. New Horizons took the first close-up pictures of Pluto, and for the first time, the world saw that Pluto has an enormous heart. It also saw huge, steep mountains and icy volcanoes. After the flyby, New Horizons set sail for a distant icy rock called 2014 MU69, and flew by that target on Jan. 1, 2019. That Kuiper Belt object has since been named Arrokoth.
On This Day in Space Archive!
Email Hanneke Weitering at email@example.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.